Chord Tips

As with any sort of technically demanding technique, there are things that you should keep in mind that will make playing chords easier for you. Consider these simple "Chord Tips":

1. Take them one at a time.

Trying to learn too many Chords at once is just going to end in a mess. Learning the Triads, Basic Seventh Chords, and basic ninth chords (along with the sixth chords) should be your first priority along with learning how they function in relation to one another.

2. Don't try to play and learn the larger Chords before you learn the Triads.

Every other Chord that you'll learn from this point on is just built upon the Triads. There is really no point to skipping over them as it will only cause problems later on.

3. Learn the Chord Inversions too!

If you're going to all this trouble to learn the Chords, why not take some extra time and get the Inversions down too? It will help you understand how they work a lot better and can make a large improvement in your Improvisational abilities.

4. Don't hurt yourself.

If, while playing Chords, you feel like you are pushing too hard or hurting your hand or arm, or feel a burning pain, STOP!

Don't damage your future career for the sake of an added 11th!

5. Don't use Chords just because you can if it means that all of the feel and musicality will be stripped away.

Adding Chords can make a song feel more complete and lush, but it can also strip a lot of the musicality away if you're putting them where a simple line would serve the tune better.

Remember, the music comes first. The best techniques are the ones that aren't put before the music.

6. Learn and understand the theory behind Chords.

Learning the fingering of various Chords is a very good thing, but they aren't all that useful if you don't understand why they work and sound the way that they do. Try to learn as much about each Chord as possible as you learn to play them.

7. Practice them along with their related scales and arpeggios.

If you're learning a Major 7th chord, for example, try playing a Major (Ionian or Lydian) Scale and the Major 7th arpeggio before or after you attempt the chord. It will connect all of them together a lot quicker than if you practiced them as separate pieces of a puzzle.

8. Some people just don't like Bass Chords.

There are always going to be those people who don't think that the Bass player should play Chords. Ignore them and do what you want. If the world was run by people like that, then we wouldn't have most of what we do today. Part of music is going against the grain. Enjoy yourself and don't let anyone tell you what to do.

Remember that these are just a few Chord Tips that will suit you in the long run. Many great players play Chords as well, so, if you get the chance, why not ask your favorite player for some more Chord Tips? You might pick up some really valuable information.

Return to the Chords Page from the Chord Tips page

Return to the Homepage