A constantly growing library of guitar chords, scales and the theory behind them

Can’t play the F barre chord? Use this chord as a replacement

You can’t imagine how many students have asked me this question – do I really have to use barre chords? Is there anything simpler that I could use instead? I can’t play the F barre chord, is there a replacement?

Let’s set this straight – you need barre chords, if you want to be able to play some cool songs from the internet you will need to master them (by the way this is covered extensively in my Academy Membership lessons – CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO). But today we will try to make our life a little simpler. Let’s have a look at something called the Fmaj7.

The name can scare you away, but trust me the chord is actually very simple. It is similar to the C chord with some tweaks to it, check the diagram below:

Fmaj7

Start with the C chord, now all you need to do is to move your third and second finger one string down. As a result, we end up with a sweet sounding chord called F major 7. It is an F chord with the 7th degree of the major scale added, in this case, the note E which is your open first string.

How do you like the sound? It is not really a direct replacement for the F chord, but in certain situations, it may work really nicely. As usual, it all depends on the context we put our chord in.

A few progressions that you may try:
C – Fmaj7 – G – C
C – Am – Fmaj7 – G
Fmaj7 – G – C – Am

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Am(add9) – mysterious guitar chord

AAm(add9) – mysterious guitar chord. The guitar chord described in this online lesson is one of those really cool sounding ones. I like to think about it as a kind of mysterious sounding chord.

It is not a very difficult one to play, but you need to pay attention to your finger positions. To play the Am(add9) guitar chord, you need to position your first finger on the 5th fret, 3rd string and your third finger on the 7th fret, 4th string. We will strum this chord from the 5th string and strings two and one are open. Make sure that you play this in a vertical way to the fretboard. Watch the video to learn how to play this guitar chord.

Am(add9) - mysterious sounding guitar chord

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Open B7 chord – The triangle concept

The B7 open chord is a little bit of a crazy one. It can be quite a difficult chord to learn, mainly because it demands the use of all four fingers and the layout is a bit tricky.

One of the ways to memorise chords like this, is to try to see some kind of geometric shape. For example, here, fingers 2, 1 and 3 create a triangle. So I divide this chord into two sections; Firstly the triangle, created using fingers 2, 1 and 3 and Secondly, adding the little 4th finger on the 2nd fret, first string. I don’t look at this chord as a whole 4 note shape, I see it firstly as a triangle, with an additional note on the 2nd fret, 1st string.


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A minor pentatonic scale – shape 1

The pentatonic scale is very popular amongst guitarists, especially the first shape. The position of it makes both the lower and higher notes on the fretboard easily accessible. 

This particular shape is called the A minor pentatonic scale shape 1 (there are 5 different shapes). The name of the scale (A) comes from the fact that the very first note of this scale is A (the 5th fret on the 6th string is A). The minor part of the name is related to the sound this shape creates.

So basically the A minor pentatonic scale shape 1 means that we are starting this scale from the note A and it is going to sound like a minor scale. The great thing about the pentatonic scales is that they always have two notes on each string – which makes it easy to memorise (especially shape no.1).

A minor pentatonic scales shape 1

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Open Minor and Major chords – Video chords library

A collection of common open minor and major chords in video format. A great tool for beginners.

If you are new to the guitar, pay attention to your fretting hand’s thumb and finger positions. Don’t lay your fingers to flat on the fretboard, as you will mute the strings.

A minor

A major

C major

D minor

D major

E minor

E major

G major

Open Dominant 7th Chords

Another important group of chords. Dominant 7th chords are great transitional chords.

Try to play chord G then G7 and then finish on C. Can you hear how it is resolving to the C chord?  You can hear this kind of resolution in a lot of songs. Dominant 7th chords (or just simply 7th) are also commonly used in blues music.  They will give you this nice tensed bluesy sound.

As practice, try firstly to play the major equivalent and then 7th chord. For example: play A then A7, or E then E7. You will hear the difference between those two. Can you hear the tension?

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Open Minor and Major chords

A collection of the most common open chords. A must for any aspiring guitarist.

One tip for you is to try to memorize the names, not only the shapes. This is very important as allot of guitarists do not remember the names of the chords and then they struggle whilst learning new songs (what I mean by struggle, is that they have to find every single chord online or in a book). If you memorize the names right from the beginning, you will save yourself a lot of frustration and time. One easy way to memorizing the names is to simply say aloud the name, as you play the chord

Major chords:

Minor chords:

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