Beginner Guitar: Learn Chords & Transitions | Taylor Gamble | Skillshare
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Beginner Guitar: Learn Chords & Transitions

teacher avatar Taylor Gamble, Professional Guitarist

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.

      Introduction

      1:27

    • 2.

      Getting Started

      0:32

    • 3.

      Reading Chord Charts

      3:29

    • 4.

      E Major and A Major

      3:58

    • 5.

      G Major and C Major

      4:40

    • 6.

      D Major (The String Skipper)

      2:24

    • 7.

      Minor Chords

      3:36

    • 8.

      Transitioning Between Chords

      7:26

    • 9.

      Final Thoughts

      1:08

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About This Class

Expand your guitar knowledge in this beginner-friendly class — part of the Complete Guitar Learning Path that will take you from novice to intermediate player!

Growing up in a musical family, Taylor Gamble discovered that playing guitar could soothe her anxiety, lift her mood, and tap into her creativity. Now a professional musician who’s worked with artists like Stevie Wonder, Ari Lennox, and Victoria Monét, Taylor’s here to help you cultivate your own peace and passion through the practice of guitar. 

Building on the basics, Taylor walks you through reading chord charts and the major and minor chords, ensuring that you’re ready to take your own guitar playing to the next level. 

Taylor’s hands-on lessons will cover:

  • The seven most important chord shapes
  • Transitioning between major and minor chords
  • A deep dive into tablature and guitar charts

Plus, enjoy a step-by-step breakdown of how these chords work together to make incredible music. Join along with Taylor as she works, and start to get a feel for playing more fluently!

This class was created with beginners in mind, but assumes you’ve worked through core concepts like guitar anatomy and tuning. Since learning music takes time, this class is designed to complement your own self-guided practice or lessons. Taylor uses an electric guitar, a pick, an amp, a tuner, and a quarter-inch cable; follow along with whatever guitar you have access to, acoustic or electric. Ready to learn more? This is the second class in Taylor’s five-part Complete Guitar Learning Path. To continue building your skills in the next class, click here.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Taylor Gamble

Professional Guitarist

Teacher

Taylor Gamble is an expert guitarist based in Los Angeles. As a touring musician, she's played with artists including Ari Lennox and Victoria Monet, and performed on Jimmy Kimmel, Jimmy Fallon, and NPR Tiny Desk, and most recently Fox’s show ‘Alter Ego’. Taylor also teaches, sharing her technique and passion for the guitar via the popular Fender Play YouTube series. 

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Level: Beginner

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Transcripts

1. Introduction: The best way to learn is to do. My name is Taylor G, and I'm a professional guitarist indoors with vendor musical instruments. My lover guitar began at the age of 11 and has brought me to stages in screen to live performing with artists such as Stevie Wonder or a Linux Victoria Monet and more. If you've ever been curious and wanted to quickly learn the most foundational skills and concepts for quality guitar playing. This is the class for you. I will show you all what I consider the most foundational concepts on the guitar to help you quickly and efficiently sound for efficient on your instrument. In this course, we will address all the most essential chords and skills needed to confidently begins with a guitar. We will begin by learning the seven most important chord shapes needed to begin to competently play the guitar. We will familiarize ourselves with reading chord charts, will also learn guitar tablature. This class is designed for beginner to intermediate players. You'll need an electric guitar and amp, a pig, the tuner, and a quarter-inch cable. If you've ever felt like guitars too confusing, I will give you a shortcuts of great sounding guitar and debunk your doubts. By the end of this class, you'll be able to fluidly play open ports as well as core charts and tablature. Let's begin. 2. Getting Started: And class one, we learned what chords were, as well as the difference between a major and minor chord. Now I know it can be difficult knowing which notes to pick when you're playing a chord. I'm here to show you the most essential core is you'll ever need to know and a way to be able to memorize those cores and never second guess yourself, ever again. Grab your guitar and a quarter-inch cable, as well as your pick, tune up. And let's get into it. 3. Reading Chord Charts: One of the most difficult things about being a guitarist is remembering exactly where to put your fingers when you want to play a chord. I have a tool for that, and it's called Guitar charts. Guitar charts are there to help you whenever you're in doubt of what a core it looks like. Over here is a blank core chart. It has six lines going vertically, which represent the strings. And then it also has a couple of lines going horizontally which represent the frets. This case we'll be using Fred's one to four. Now in these charts, there'll be color codes that represent exactly what finger to use and where to place them. Let's use E major for an example. On our E string, we don't have any circles, so we're going to play that open. The next string is a string, and we have a yellow circle which represents our middle finger. And it's placed on the second fret right here. Next, we have a blue circle, represents our ring finger, and we're going to place that on the D string, second fret. Then we have a red circle, which represents our index finger. And we're going to take that and place that on the first fret of the G string. We have an open, be, an open high E. And again, we're strumming from the low E string on down. Let's try another one. This one is E minor. So we have an open low E. We've got a yellow circle on the second fret of the a string. We've got a blue circle on the second fret of the D string. We have an open G and open be an open high E. And we're stemming from the low E all the way down. Your core charts are going to come in handy because there are millions of chords that you can play. However, there are seven very essential core shapes that I'm going to need for you to know. And you're going to need your core charts in order to be able to recall how they look. These chords are referred to as the k scores. K scores are the seven most essential chord shapes that every guitarist must know. So let's go through what they are. We have our C, we have an a, G, E, and D. Now that's five chords and there's two more left. All you have to know to remember what these chords are is to make the vowels minor as right, so we have a minor and E minor. The best way to familiarize yourself with these core shapes is to continue to study the core charts. I've provided you with PDF attachments in class resources for you to be able to get used to playing these shapes. For now, I want you to study up because in the next couple of lessons we're gonna be learning two chords at a time and how to transition fluidly between them. 4. E Major and A Major: Let's start learning some of the chord shapes that you're going to need to know in order for you to progress as a guitarist. First, we're gonna do E major again, just to review and make sure that you're caught up on how to form these chords and what you're doing when you're reading these core charts. So again, we have open ie. We're going to place our middle finger on the second fret of the a string. We've got a blue circle, so we're going to place our ring finger on the second fret of the D string. We've got a red circle and we're gonna place it on the first fret of the G string. We're playing an open B and an open high E. Strumming from the low E string all the way down. Next we're going to do the a major shape. Notice that there is an X over the low E string. What does that mean? That means do not play that string when you strum. So we're going to omit the low E string. We're going straight to an open a. We've got a yellow circle, which means we're taking our middle finger and placing it on the second fret of the D string. We've got a blue circle, will be taking our ring finger and placing it on the second fret of the G string. Then we also have a green circle, which is our pinky, and we're going to replace that also on the second fret, but this time the B string. And then we have an open high E, where strumming from the a string on down. So just a quick recap. Whenever you see an x over a string, that means we are omitting that string as that note is not going to sound good or it's going to defeat the purpose of an a major chord. A quick tip to be able to play these chords more fluidly is to actually pay attention to what it is that your fingers are doing. You don't always have to reset all of your fingers in order to play another Court, in the case of transitioning from E major to a major, I'm simply lifting my index finger up. And I'm shifting my middle finger and my ring finger down. One string. After that, all that's left is my pinky, which I'll be adding write-up under my ring finger on the second fret of the B string. So let's try that transition one more time. We've got our E major. Remove our first finger, shift down one string with our middle and ring, and then add our pinky to the second fret of the B string. So let's play that. Here we go. Lift up, shift down. At the pinkie. A major. You see how easy that was? Let's try it in reverse. This time we're starting from a major. We're going to remove our pinky this time. Shift up one string with our middle and ring. Then we're going to add our index finger right on that first fret of the D string. So let's play. We've got a major. Remove the pinging, shift up at the index. E-major. Very nice, very easy, very fluid. I want you to practice transitioning between those two chords using a metronome at 50 beats per minute or 50 BPM. Keep practicing and join me in the next lesson. We'll continue learning arcane scores and how to transition between them. 5. G Major and C Major: In our last lesson, we learned our E major shape as well as our major shape. Now in this class we're going to learn our G major shape and our C major shape. They're a little bit more difficult to achieve. However, again, follow along with me and practice and you'll have it in no time. So let's get into it. First we have our G major shape. We have a yellow circle, which means we're going to take our middle finger and place it on the third fret of the low E string. Then we have a red circle and which will take our index finger and place it on the second fret of the a string. We're going to play an open D. In open G. And open be. Last we have a blue circle, which means we're going to place our ring finger on the third fret of the high E string. This time we're streaming all the strings. So from the low E string on down, next is our C major shape. We noticed right away there is an x over our low E string. Which means again, we will omit our low E string. We have a blue circle, which means our ring finger will go on the third fret of the a string. We have a yellow circle, which means our middle finger will go on the second fret of the D string. We have an open G, and then we have a red circle, which means we're going to place our index finger on the first fret of the B string. And then we're playing an open high strumming from the a string all the way down. Now, we're going to implement the technique that we learned in the last lesson. What nodes do you notice that are either similar to the other chord or not that far and distance from the other chord. We're going to look at the shapes again. We have our g, and then we have our C. Our first two notes in the G major chord are the same two nodes in our C major chord. Now the only difference is our fingering is different. We have our middle and index. This time we're going to switch it for our ring and middle. Now that might be a little bit of a jump coming from here to here. But at least we know exactly where it is that we're going. So we're able to better guide ourselves in the process of achieving a successful core transition. So here we go. We're starting from G. Right? Now we're going to lift our fingers up, bring it down to the first two notes of C. We're going to add our index finger, so the first fret of the B string. Now let's do that in reverse. We've got our C major. We are lifting our index and all the rest of our fingers, and we're bringing them to form our G major shape. Okay? So we're literally taking this finger and bringing it up. Taking this finger and bringing it up. And we're bringing this ring finger down. That's another thing that we notice. Literally, our ring finger is going straight down when we're doing it in reverse. Noticing these changes as imperative as sometimes when you're playing, you won't have enough time to really think. These are great ways to be able to fluidly transition from core to core. These courts may take some more time than the other cores to get down. But I have so much faith in you that you'll be able to get it, keep practicing and join me in the next lesson as we continue our case core journey. 6. D Major (The String Skipper): In this lesson, we're going to learn the D major shape. And I loved the D major shape because it only uses for strings. Beautiful, isn't it? Not really. The major uses for strings, which means when you are coming from other cage chord shapes, you're going to have to be very specific about where your strumming. Let's jump into how to play the D major shape right off the bat. We're omitting the E and the a strings. We're jumping straight to our open D. We have a red circle in which we'll take our index finger and place it on the second fret of the G string. We have a blue circle, which means that we're going to place our ring finger on the third fret of the B string. And last we have a yellow circle, which means we're going to take our middle finger and we're going to place it on the second fret of the high E string. We are stemming from that open D on down. Now I call this core the string Skipper. Because when we're transitioning between all of our cage chords, we have to be very intentional about where it is that we're playing. I have a little trick for this that I'm going to give you, and that's simply when you're transitioning. I just want you to simply stop the cores when you're feeling unsure of where your pick or your thumb is going to land. Now, an example, Let's start off with our E major shape. Okay? Now it's a jump to D major. We're going to have to of course, lift our fingers up, put it in the D major shape. We're going to have to make sure that we're only strumming from the D string on down. Now at the beginning, that might be a little hard again. So this is what I want you to do. Play E major. Stop all the strings, make sure you're on the D. Drum on now. Keep practicing and eventually you'll be able to do it without even looking. 7. Minor Chords: In this lesson, we're going to learn about minor chords. Now remember, the difference between a major and minor chord is defined by its chord quality. Poor quality is defined as how a chord resonates functionally and emotionally when it's being played. Again, for instance, we have E major, which sounds joyous and majestic. And then we have E minor. It's a little gloomy, a little sad, a little somber, right? So we just went over E minor. Now we have another vowel in our case that we're going to use, which is our a minor chord. We look at our a minor and right away we noticed that our low E string again is omitted. So we're jumping straight to our open a. Now we have a yellow circle, which means we'll take our middle finger and place it on the second fret of the D string. We have a blue circle in which we'll take a ring finger and place it on the second fret of the G string. And then we have our red circle in which we'll take our index finger and place it on the first fret of the B string. And then we're going to play an open high E. And remember we're streaming from the a string on down. The difference between an a major chord and an a minor chord is literally OneNote. So we have a major, a minor. The only thing that I did differently was I lifted up my pinky and put down my index. So that's literally going a half-step down on the B string, the second fret to the first fret. Now let's look at E minor again. So we have E minor, and let's do it in reverse and see what E major is. Again, the only difference is OneNote and E minor. We don't have our index finger down. And an E major, we place our index finger down on the first fret of the G string. Now, transitioning between these two chords. Remember what we talked about as far as looking at our fingers and really paying attention to what it is that we're doing before we move to the next chord, okay? So we have E minor. Now I want you to picture a minor in your head and try to execute what an, a minor chord shape would look like. Now to me right away, I noticed shift down my middle and ring finger and then just add my index to the first fret of the B string. So we went from E minor and down, added our index. A minor. Very nice. One little quick tip is to notice the similarities between chord shapes. In a minor. Looks exactly the same as in E Major. Literally same thing. Just up or down. One string. 8. Transitioning Between Chords: In this lesson, we're going to be focusing on some tips that will help you in your journey to transitioning between all of your cords. Let me give you some quick tips on how to transition fluidly. Number one, pay attention to your fingering. So many times I run across guitarist who have a hard time transitioning from chords and chord. And believe me, it is not rocket science. All it is is just taking the time to slow yourself down and really pay attention to where your fingers are. Remembering to pay attention to your strumming hand is very important as how you strong can really make a difference in how clear your notes sound, as well as how fluid your transitions are. Another tip is to think about the shape that you're trying to make before you get there. When you're driving, you anticipate the exit that you're going to take before you actually take it. You give yourself enough time to change lanes before you actually take the exit. It's the same thing with guitar. We're going to give ourselves enough time to think about where it is that we want to go before we get there. As always, practice, practice, practice to a metronome. This will help you to be able to know exactly how much time you have between transitions. Let's learn your first song. This time I want to reintroduce you to guitar tabs in a new way. This time we're not playing single notes. We're going to play chords. The setup is the same. So the six lines are your strings. The vertical lines are your friends, divided into measures or bars. Now, you notice there are numbers that are stacked on top of one another. These show you where to place your fingers. It's not going to tell you what finger to use, just where to place them. Okay, So our first chord is an E minor chord. Now remember we're playing an open low. E are open strings are represented by a zero. So anytime you see a zero, know that that is just an open string. So we're going to play an open low E. Then on the a string or the fifth string, we see a two, which means that we're going to play the second fret. Looking at our core charts, we know we're going to play that with our middle finger. Next, we have another two on the D string. And we're going to place that on the second fret. We have an open G. And open be an open high strumming from the low E string on down. Next, we have an a. Now remember, we don't play the low E string. So you notice you don't see a number there. That means that we don't play that string. On top of that string. We have a zero on our a string. We have a two on our D string. We have another two on our G string, one more to on our B string, and a zero for our open hyphae. And worse, drumming from the a string on down. Next, we have our D chord. Now we don't see any numbers on the E and a strings, which means that we're not playing those strings. We have a zero on our D string. We have a two on our G string. We have a three on our B string. We have another two on our high E string. Strumming from the D string on down. Last, we have our G chord, which we see a three on our low E string. To a string. An open D, open G, open B. We're going to take our ring finger and place it on that three, which is our third fret of the high E string. Now, this is a progression, meaning that we're going to play it in sequence. We have two minors, two a's, two Ds and two Gs. So that's going to sound like this. We have two minors to a majors to d's, and two Gs. Now, let's add the rhythmic notation into it. On all of these chords, we see a half-life under our chords, which means that we're playing half notes. When we use a metronome, it's going to sound like this one too. 3 412-341-2341. 234. Now let's go through the next four cores that we have. We have an E minor, a minor, we have a dy, then we have a G. So let's walk through the progression together this time incorporating the rhythmic notation, which I don't see any lines under any of these cores, which means they were playing all whole notes throughout. Remember, a whole note is held for four counts. Let's try going through the progression together. I'll be your metronome to help counts you through. Ready, 12, ready? Play and minor. 234.234. Go to, to think about your next chord. And three, good job. And minor 234 and a minor three, almost there. We're going to play it. 234 and g234. Good job. You just played your first song. Wow, that's a lot for your class assignment. I want you to practice either this song or another song that I've titled caged in the class resources. Record yourself and then submit it in the project gallery. As always, practice, practice, practice. And I cannot wait to hear the recordings that you submit. Have fun. 9. Final Thoughts: Congratulations, You have come so far. Oh my goodness. You learned chords. How to transition between them. You even learned your very first song. Wow, that is so special. In the next course, we're going to get into bar chords and scales. But first, you must know your case chords and be able to transition fluidly between all of them. For your class assignment, I want you to go over either the case in PDF or the song title, open the cage located in the class resources. Please, please, please, please, please remember this takes time, so be patient with yourself. 15 to 20 min a day will do it. But if you can go longer, go longer. This is Taylor G signing out.