Bryan teaches the G, C, and D major chords.
- If your hands are new, you're a beginning flat picker, beginning wanting to play bluegrass guitar, I'm gonna show you what I consider chord shapes, chords that you'll need to know. If you learn all these, you're gonna be able to play hundreds and hundreds of tunes. And so it's pretty basic stuff here. And the first one is the G-chord. And the basic shape of that for the way we're gonna start now, we're gonna discuss there's different voicings and things later on down the road. We're gonna start with, and again if you're, we're building left hand if you're a beginner to this style and a beginner to the guitar in general.
Some of these shapes are kind of, sort of they may feel kind of weird, so but that's why I'm gonna show 'em to ya, so you can sort of just work on 'em. So the G is, you start the G with the ring finger on the third fret of the sixth string. That's your root note, the G. And then your middle finger is gonna be on the B. And then you're gonna play the open D and G and B open. Now those are gonna be open strings and you're gonna tuck your pinkie in down here on the third fret of the first string, the high E string.
(guitar strumming) And one way to stress this, and again if you're building left-hand technique, the goal here is to get all these notes to ring as solidly as possible through the whole chord. With the right hand I'm just strumming through the guitar. But you wanna be able to realize that sustain. When you play through you wanna let the whole guitar ring until it doesn't wanna ring any more. So it's just. (guitar strumming) And it may be a challenge for somebody that's, especially if your fingertips are tender at this point.
And so that's G. (guitar strumming) The basic form of G and we're gonna move on to the C-chord now, which is if you've got your G position here, just move your ring finger and middle finger towards the floor one string. On the fifth string you'll have the C-note right there, which is the root of this chord. C-chord, there's your C-note. And your third, which is the E. We'll get into that in a little bit. There's an E-note right there. Open G and then another C-note on the first fret of the second B-string there and then an open E.
(guitar strumming) And sometimes it's the question of what to do with this pinkie. You know, you don't want it to, again like we talked about before, you don't want a left-hand technique that's too sort of dependent on tryin' to muscle these fingers down. And again, if you're new to this, this is a perfect opportunity to kinda start working on keepin' your fingers curved and the good space there underneath the finger board. And just keep your pinkie curved in that same kind of idea.
If you tend to want to stretch it out just to kinda get there, it's gonna throw your whole left hand and left arm out of whack. And if, that's a bad start right there. So keep on. So we got G. And C. (guitar strumming) And the next one I'll show you another is probably of the top three bluegrass chords that we're gonna discuss here is the D-chord. And it's a little cluster down here on the higher strings.
The main route here is an actual open D. And then the second fret of the third string is an A. And then there's another D on the second string third fret. And your middle finger is down here on the F-sharp, second fret, first string. (guitar strumming) And so what I'll encourage as far as little exercises that you can work on, that you work on these shapes. And again, the point here is to build muscle memory. And you don't want to have to think about this.
You want your hands to sort of respond if you're in a jam session, which hopefully that's a goal for a lot of beginning flat pickers and bluegrass players is to be able to go hang in a jam session and follow the chords around. And the more you can just get your fingers movin', you know we talked about this little exercises of gettin' all these notes as clear as possible back and forth, same thing with the chords here. (guitar strumming) We're gonna have some exercises a little later down the road to actually start combining all this into more of musical form.
But right now, we're in training mode still and (guitar strumming) you want, every chord needs to ring as full as possible. (guitar strumming) So it's just a matter, especially for newer people to the style, newer flat pickers to just continue to work on these.
Note: This course was recorded and produced by ArtistWorks. We are honored to host this training in our library.
- Holding the guitar
- Tuning the guitar
- Picking hand and fretting hand techniques
- Combining picking and fretting
- Practicing picking pattern exercises
- Changing chords and rhythm
- Playing traditional bluegrass tunes