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  #16  
Old 01-24-2012, 01:51 PM
Greg_B Greg_B is offline
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that's cool, but those chords aren't just arranged willy-nilly. the real knowledge is in the voice leading and arranging, not in the depth of chord names.
Oh that is so true. And that leads us to an answer to a similar question that's often asked about music theory: "How much music theory should I know?"

Without a knowledge of the companion minor (which is really just the relationship between a ii and V chord), tri-tone substitutions and IV of IV substitutions that blues wouldn't make any sense at all. But with that knowledge you can understand every single chord and why it works at that point in the song.
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  #17  
Old 01-24-2012, 02:26 PM
jwing jwing is offline
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You should learn how to make music, not memorize chords.

Can you play a whole song through: singing while strumming chords and keeping the beat constant the whole song? If not, all you need to know is two chords and learn this essential skill. Here's a list of 81 two-chord songs; I'm sure there are thousands more: www.drbanjo.com/instructional-2chordsongs.php

If you can do that, you should learn these three groups of chords, and why they go together:
C/F/G and Am (best for finding the melody within the chords on guitar)
G/C/D and Em (easiest to play solid, driving rhythm and 2nd best for melody)
E/A7/B7 (most common for blues)

At the same time, you should have a capo and learn how to use it.

When you are fluent with the chord groups I listed, and can play lots of songs using them (There are millions of songs that you can play with just G/C/D), then you will know what other chords you need to know.

Just make sure you can play music with the basics before you bother learning chords tha you don't know how to use.
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  #18  
Old 01-24-2012, 02:51 PM
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As many as possible... eventually.

Jim
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  #19  
Old 01-24-2012, 02:54 PM
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Originally Posted by carl365 View Post
…Just asking to give me a realistic perspective on my learning.
Hi carl...
I like Hotspurs breaking out chords in each 'family' by chord name/designation.

A great resource - probably the best resource for basic chord knowledge - for growing beginners and intermediate players (and a good reality check for the rest of us) is Pete Huttlinger's Wonderful World of Chords..

When I'm interviewing prospective students one of the items on my checklist is I ask them to play every single 'C' chord and variation they know, and then every single 'G', etc.

I find many people who play quite well and are not struggling with technique (they have mastered barre chords), are seriously deficient in chord knowledge. In fact, unable to break out beyond the chord, the 7th, the minor and barre for each.

They may have learned a few 'exotic-chords' by rote or from a chart, or seeing someone else playing them, but they are so compartmentalized that they cannot even name the chords they are playing, or don't recognize that they are playing them in other songs.

So when they begin lessons, we begin scale work, etudes, and building their chord library and knowledge of how to construct chords, and then using them in actual music.

I think at a minimum, you ought to be able to play each Chord form as, the basic chord, Maj7, 7th, 6, 9, 11, sus4 & sus2, minor, min7, min9, min11, min7flat 5, augmented, and diminished versions in open position, and barred.

In addition you should know how to play the same chord as an inside 4 string chord, and the inversions of the basic major and minor of the chord on strings 1-2-3 and strings 2-3-4 at least 3-4 places up the neck.

And that should be for any note in the chromatic list of notes, focusing as a solid start on all the chords in keys of C-A-G-E and D.

So you need to know:C, Cmaj7, C9, C11, C7, C6, Csus4, Csus2, Cdim, Caug, Cm, Cm7, Cm7flat 5, Cdimished, and know these in open position (first 3 frets) and at least in 5 positions up the neck.

You should also be able to play (without thinking about it) the basic C and/or Cmin chords on string 1-2-3 and on strings 2-3-4 in 4 inversions up the neck. You should also know how to identify the root of the chord wherever you are playing it.

If you know this for for all the chords in keys of C, A, G, E, and D you will be well grounded.

Whether you approach it one chord variation at a time, or one entire key at a time is not as important as just keeping after it till you know these for each common key, and can use them in your music.

You should learn to adapt them to other keys on the fly...

A great resource - probably the best resource for basic chord knowledge - for growing beginners and intermediate players (and a good reality check for the rest of us) is Pete Huttlinger's Wonderful World of Chords.. It is laid out systematically and easy to follow (and has some charts included with it). I fully realize I repeated this paragraph… That's because it's the best resource available to everyone who has $27.

It's the price of a single lesson (or less) and will at least kick one well down the road on the path to understanding and using chord variants...and it's not stuffy nor sterile but rather fun.

Wonderful World of Chords - CLiCK

It's a great DVD, systematically laid out, and will cover the basics you need to know about as much as anyone at the gig (unless they are jazzers). I don't get any money for promoting the DVD, just love Pete and his approach to understanding the chords we use.

Hope this helps...


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Last edited by ljguitar; 01-24-2012 at 03:03 PM. Reason: added a sentence...
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  #20  
Old 01-24-2012, 03:01 PM
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Good grief.
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  #21  
Old 01-24-2012, 03:08 PM
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Good grief.
and then you will learn your first song, blackbird.
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  #22  
Old 01-24-2012, 03:16 PM
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and then you will learn your first song, blackbird.
My first (on steel string) was Classical Gas but I get your point.
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  #23  
Old 01-24-2012, 03:18 PM
jwing jwing is offline
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Is there a joke here I'm not in on? I thought the OP was serious!
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  #24  
Old 01-24-2012, 03:38 PM
mc1 mc1 is offline
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Originally Posted by rick-slo View Post
My first (on steel string) was Classical Gas but I get your point.
that's a toughy. maybe i should have said kum ba yah.

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Originally Posted by jwing View Post
Is there a joke here I'm not in on? I thought the OP was serious!
i too think the op was serious. i like to joke around. i took rick-slo's 'good grief' as a response to ljguitar's epic task of learning the various combinations of inversions for different string sets for 15 types of chords in 5 keys as a basic grounding in chords. i got tired thinking about it. that would all be useful knowledge, and i think larry (ljguitar) is a good teacher, and i'm sure his students learn lots of music. it just seemed a little daunting, especially to someone 2 months in.
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  #25  
Old 01-24-2012, 04:01 PM
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Originally Posted by mc1 View Post
...i took rick-slo's 'good grief' as a response to ljguitar's epic task of learning the various combinations of inversions for different string sets for 15 types of chords in 5 keys as a basic grounding in chords. i got tired thinking about it. that would all be useful knowledge, and i think larry (ljguitar) is a good teacher, and i'm sure his students learn lots of music. it just seemed a little daunting, especially to someone 2 months in.
Hey mc1...
It may have been aimed at me - Rick wasn't specific who he was ''good briefing''; I was not the only poster with a long answer with many details in it. Sorry your brain wimped out thinking about it...

To clarify then, since I think you think my approach is too complex, I wouldn't dump all that on a student the first lesson or during any lesson.

I think a student could easily know how to play at least 40-50 chords in the first 6 months.

My approach is to teach a student at least one or two new chord forms per week (2-3 per lesson), which means at the end of a year, a player could potentially know 50-100 new chords they didn't know when the year began.

They should also know how to figure them out in other keys.


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  #26  
Old 01-24-2012, 04:17 PM
mc1 mc1 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ljguitar View Post
Hey mc1...
It may have been aimed at me - Rick wasn't specific who he was ''good briefing''; I was not the only poster with a long answer with many details in it. Sorry your brain wimped out thinking about it...
hi larry,

i was just kidding around a bit. i'm sorry my brain wimped out as well.
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  #27  
Old 01-24-2012, 04:34 PM
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My advice is don't stress on knowing lots of chords. I wasted too much time on this before I realized that it's the right hand that makes it sound good! Spend (at least) as much time on right hand technique as learning chords.

As others said, learn 'em as you need 'em. If you learn triads up the neck (Mark Hanson has great book on this!) you can get a lot of variety with the different voicings of same old chords.
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  #28  
Old 01-24-2012, 04:49 PM
JonPR JonPR is offline
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My advice is don't stress on knowing lots of chords. I wasted too much time on this before I realized that it's the right hand that makes it sound good! Spend (at least) as much time on right hand technique as learning chords.
Absolutely! The right hand - ie the control of timing, rhythm, dynamics and accent - is way under-regarded in a lot of teaching.
Some people even equate the word "rhythm" with chord shapes and chord sequences - harmonic information, with no rhythmic content at all!

It seems to be assumed that the right hand's job can be taken for granted, as it's the "good" hand, and its job seems easy.

There's a very good reason why our stronger hands are on the strumming end, and our weaker hands on the fretting end. (Just as violinists bow with their stronger hand, and finger with their weaker.)

Think about it...
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  #29  
Old 01-24-2012, 05:01 PM
carl365 carl365 is offline
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Thank you all for the great, detailed replies, I copied this whole thread for printing out and reference, seems I'll be learning the material for a LONG time to come. It makes me appreciate the Internet and the vast amount of information that's available.

I fully realize it's a lot more than just memorizing the chord shapes and names but that it has to become muscle memory, so I'm working on that daily trying to beat these old fingers to move right. Also, I've come to realize, I must concentrate more on principles behind chord formation and theory. All in all, it makes one appreciate even more when watching performers playing complex pieces so effortlessly it seems to the novice ears.

Thanks!

Last edited by carl365; 01-24-2012 at 05:15 PM.
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  #30  
Old 01-24-2012, 06:02 PM
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Originally Posted by unimogbert View Post
My answer: Enough to finish the song.

Start learning songs that use just a few chords but keep exploring what else you want to play and continue learning chords to play the new songs. This learning will continue as you learn new ways and positions to play the same (named) chords.

A chord dictionary is just that - a dictionary. It's only an aid to speaking the language, not how you do it.

Imagine trying to learn English by starting with the dictionary!

Play songs. Learn chords so you can play songs. Learn more chords so you can play more songs.
I like this answer. A half-dozen chords is usually plenty to get you started. You can get into a lot of trouble with 6 chords.

But as you master a song or two, start picking songs with chords you don't know and you'll always be increasing your ability over the course of months and years. Just don't be impatient to know them all on day #1.

Steve
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