Beginner Guitar Course Week 1 Step 3 and 4

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Strumming open position chords + Talking About A Revolution!

I hope you had a good time with your first lesson and that you can now play an open position G chord with ease.

In this follow up lesson we are going to take everything we learned and apply it to two new open position chords. The chords are Em and D.

Following this we will start working towards playing a song!

Week 1 – Step 3 – 10-20 min

To play an Em is possibly the easiest chord we can find on the guitar, still there two options when fretting it!

The video below demonstrate this. As always, decide which way is most comfortable for you.

Now take the same approach as last week and play the Em chord using the four different strumming patterns.

I’ve written them out here again for you, should you want to hear them, visit Strumming Pattern 1-5 in Beginner Rhythmical Exercises.

Here is the notation.
Beginner strumming patterns 1-4 Beginner Guitar Lesson 1

After spending some time on this the time has come to learn another chord, an open position D chord.

To play a D chord there is one common way to fret it. You see this in the beginning of the video. Place your fingers accordingly.

In the second half I do fret it in a different way, by barring string three and one with my index finger. I then add my middle finger on string two, fret three.

This way of fretting will be useful later on as you learn the song Babylon. For now, just fret it using three fingers.

Here’s a video demonstration.

When you can fret it comfortably, scroll back up and play the D chord over all four strumming patterns.

The other G chord

Before you can move on to step 4 this week we are going to look at two more things, first up is a variation on how to play a G chord.

To find this variation you include fret three on string 2 as well. It doesn’t make a difference to what the chord is, we simply repeat the note D twice, rather than repeating the note B twice.

Study the TAB notation below and see how it is only string two that has changed from open to fretted. Both chords are G.

G and Cadd9

Many guitar players play this version of G by default, probably because it feels better.

The Cadd9 is born

As most singer song writers have learned to play guitar themselves by simply moving their fingers around the fretboard until it sounds good, a slightly unusual but very popular chord has become a favorite. This chord is called Cadd9.

To play a Cadd9 you first fret a G chord using four fingers as described above. Then move the two lowest strings fingers up a fret, like this:

G and Cadd9

Take both the new version of the G chord and the Cadd9 and play the four strumming patterns above.

To do all that we covered here in step 3 will probably take you less than 20 minutes.
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Week 1 – Step 4 – 10-20 min

The time has come to start learning a simple song using the four chords you have learned so far.

The chords are: G, Cadd9, Em and D. Fret the G chord using four fingers. The song is Talking About A Revolution by Tracy Chapman.

When you learn a song there is one thing you must always do and that is to break it down into smaller chunks.

So let’s do that, let’s break it down before we build up to the full song.

First, just strum a G chord up and down. Count 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 as you do. Over every count you should strum up and down. See the first two bars in Step 1 below.

Talking About A Revolution Buildup 1

When this is all good, start missing out on the third down stroke as you see in bar 3-4.

This is the strumming pattern for Talking About A Revolution. Next up, let’s start changing chords.

In step 2 you see how we change to a Cadd9 chord in bar 2. Keep the strumming pattern the same.

Talking About A Revolution Buildup 2

When you can do this, it’s time to move the chords even closer to each other. In step 3 we switch to Cadd9 already on the second up stroke.

Talking About A Revolution Buildup 3

In step 4 we do the same to chord Em and D. The strumming pattern is the same, just change the chords.

Talking About A Revolution Buildup 4

Following this, let’s move the Em and D into the same bar in step 5.

Talking About A Revolution Buildup 5

After dissecting the progression like this the time has come to put it all together. In step 6 we complete the chord progression and strumming pattern for Talking About A Revolution.

Talking About A Revolution Buildup 6

When you can play the full progression as in step 6, play along with the video lesson below.

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Today you have looked at playing different chords using the same strumming patterns.

The chords were G, Em, D and the odd sounding Cadd9.

You also learned how you can fret chords in several different ways and how some chords get exotic names like add9 as a result of just moving your fingers.

There will now be another 4 days before the next lesson arrives. We will then look at how you can pick these chords instead of strumming them.

By picking rather than strumming we can easily create a second guitar part.

See you then!

Dan (your guitar guru)