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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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How To Play Runaway Train By Soul Asylum

Runaway train by Soul Asylum is a great song to add to your collection of guitar songs . I love playing it on the guitar, as it is a very melodic song. It features relatively simple chords and cool a sounding strumming pattern. The presence of the F barre chord may discourage you from trying to learn this song, but I would try to learn it anyway.

In this online guitar lesson we will analyse the intro arpeggio and the strumming part of this song. At the end on this lesson you will have a full picture of how to play Runaway train by Soul Asylum.

One thing you have to remember is that we are going to use different strumming patterns for the verse/chorus and another different one for the bridge – verse/chorus: D DUD DUD DUDUDU, bridge: DDUUDU.

Song structure:
Verse/Chorus: C / Em / Am / G
Bridge : F / G / C / Am
F / Em / G / G


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How to play Free Falling by Tom Petty

In this lesson we will learn how to play – Free falling – by Tom Petty. It is a great sounding song with easy common open chords and a cool strumming technique.

This song is an example of how you can turn a few chords into a very powerful and great sounding song. As usual, with great sounding guitar songs, it is not about how many chords you have, but how those chords are connected together.

Song structure:
Verse: D / Dsus4 / D / A

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Second guitar lesson – moving between the chords

Our new chord that we are going to learn in our second guitar lesson is called E major. As a reminder, remember to learn the names of the chords, not only the shapes. It will save you a lot of time in the future.

The great thing about the E major chord, is that it is identical to the A minor chord. We just move all our fingers up one string (check the chord diagram.
The transition between the chords is quite difficult if you are a beginner. One way to make this transition smoother is to divide it into two motions. Firstly, move your second and third fingers up and then the first finger. It can smoothen the transition slightly.

If you listen closely to these two chords, Am and E, you will hear the first two chords form the famous “Hotel California” song. So remember, chords are the building blocks of songs, this is why we need to learn them.
When it comes to your strumming hand make sure it is relaxed. The motion, as explained in the video, comes from the elbow.
Towards the end of the video lesson, I also explain whether it is better to start with an acoustic or electric guitar.

e major guitar chord

Here are some quick links that will complement your second guitar lesson:

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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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How to play See You Again – Charlie Puth

Lets learn how to play ‘See you again’ by Charlie Puth. It is a really cool song that not only sounds great on the piano but also on the guitar.

If you want to practice this song along to the original track (and use open chords) you will have to place a capo on the third fret. Some of you may not have a capo, so I will explain this song in the normal open position. We have only 3 chords – Em, G and C. The trick here is in the rhythm part. We will count to this song like this: 1   2 and  3  4. The chord changes appear on 1 and ‘and’.

Song structure:
Verse: Em / G / C / G

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Introduction to guitar power chords

Power chords can be a very cool addition to your chord library. They consist of only two notes ( without going too deep into music theory – the distance between these two notes is called the perfect fifth interval). You can hear it in a countless number of recordings and across many different music genres (but commonly used in heavy metal and hard rock music).

Because of their simple structure, it is very easy to use power chords. These type of chords are neither major or minor. Because of their two note structure they miss the 3rd degree of the scale that gives the minor or major identity to the chord. The simplicity of the layout makes it very easy to write a song using power chords. You don’t have to think about whether the chord that you want to use should be minor or major. Just play the shape and let magic happen. There is only one problem with this however, as the power chord only has two notes, it may sound a bit weak but you can give power chords a full and rich sound by simply using overdrive or distortion. Lets have a look at the diagram:D5 power chord

To play the chord, position your first finger on the 5th fret, 5th string and third finger on the 7th fret, 4th string (and you play only those two notes ). In this example, the name of the chord comes from the 5th fret, 5th string. We call this position, the root note (and the root note in this example is the note D), so the name of the chord is D5 (The 5 in the name simply refers to the perfect 5th interval) . If you move this chord to the 7th fret, 5th string the name will be E5 – because that is the note E.E5 power chord

But what happens if you want to play the power chord in an open position?A5 power chord

Now the root note (the place from which the chord takes its name ) is on the open 5th string. So to play this chord, you need to position your first finger on the 2nd fret, 4th string and then play the open 5th and 4th strings. The shapes are movable and you can play them from the 6th, 5th, 4th and 2nd string (the root note is on these strings) , if you play from the 3rd string (because string B is tuned differently), you will have to slightly alter the shape (the second note has to be played one fret higher).A5 power chord

You can also play these chords starting with the root note on the 6th string. Simply take this shape and bring it to the 6th string. In this example we have an A5 power chord :

A5 power chord

As you see these are very mobile shapes, you can move them to different strings. One example of power chords in action, is the song “Cocaine” by Eric Clapton – Click here to learn “Cocaine”. Try to learn this song and apply the knowledge from the article. One tip: when you play this song try to think in terms of the root notes – always remember which note you play at the given moment. It will really improve your fretboard knowledge!

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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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