Lessons on Guitar Chords

Chords are a big part of music.  “Harmony” refers to the chords in the music.  And guitar is designed so that chords are a way of life.

Many beginning classical guitarists wrongly assume that guitar chords are just for folk singers.  But all music, from Bach to Tarrega to Mozart to Sor use chords in almost every line of music.

And when we know our basic chords, we learn music faster, because we understand how the music works.

Chord study has many facets.  Below, you’ll find a few of these separated so the material is easier to pinpoint.

Learn the Primary Chords

  • Start Here.  This page has tutorials on all the primary chords.   You can also download a PDF resource packet and make chords a part of your daily practice.
  • How to Practice Switching Between Chords – this will help you speed up your chord changes.
  • Almost Comfortable Barre Chords – Not technically the primary chords, but often requested.  Here’s how to make bar (barre) chords clean and clear, without exhausting your hand.  This is only useful if you already know how to play bar chords.

Playing Chords Smoothly Within Pieces of Music

  • Corrective Pauses – This is a practice method you can use to train your hands to move gracefully from one chord to the next.  This works both in chord practice, and in pieces of music.
  • Here’s a “Secret Code” you can use as a shorthand to make chords easier to remember in your pieces of music. This is especially useful if you don’t know the chord, or the fingering is awkward.
  • The Chord-Shift Formula – This tutorial will help you shift to higher positions with a surefooted landing on any chord.  This is most useful in pieces of music.
  • How to Play Chord Charts and Lead Sheets – This is sheet music with the chord names written above the staff.  Usually we use this when accompanying another soloist or group.


The Right-Hand Techniques of Playing Chords

  • Strumming is one of the most timeless and popular right hand techniques on guitar.  Not just for pop-songs, this is found in loads of music from the middle ages forward.  This also includes Spanish flamenco strumming techniques.
  • Chord Balance is the art of playing a chord so that one note comes out louder than the others.  This is used when we have a melody with chord accompaniment.  The melody stays most noticed, with the chord supporting, but not overpowering.
  • How to play Rolled Chords Beautifully – Here’s an advanced lesson on how to play rolled chords in music.  It’s tricky to do well, but it sounds amazing.

Music Theory and the Anatomy of Chords

Learn Chords Step By Step

The Woodshed Program is a complete guitar program.  As such, it includes progressive lessons on chords.  It starts at the very beginning, and progresses to more advanced chord shapes.  Within the program, you’ll learn literally hundreds of chords.  But these are always well-organized and taken in small steps, so it never feels overwhelming. You’ll also see, from the beginning, how chords are useful in learning real music.  Click here to learn more about the program.

All Chord Articles

Below you’ll find all articles tagged Chords.