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Your First 3 Guitar Chords

Today we will look at your first 3 guitar chords and basic strumming.

Chord symbolization is not standardized, so you will often encounter the same
chord written many different ways.  Major chords are sometimes written with only
their letter-name.  In other cases, you will see the abbreviation “maj” used.   A G
major, C major, D major chord progression can be written as:



G maj C maj D maj


G major C major D major


G Maj C Maj D Maj



Below you will see fingerings for the first three chords you will learn: G major, C
major and D major.  Many, many songs use these chords.
The D major chord should be strummed from the 4th string down to the 1st. 

The C major chord is strummed from 5 to 1, and the G major chord should have all
strings strummed (6-1).

Remember that the strings are numbered from the thinnest (1) to the thickest (6).


To strum a chord, quickly glide your pick across the strings.  Chords can be strummed with a down-stroke (from lowest to highest
pitched notes) or with an up-stroke (from highest to lowest strings).
Most strumming patterns use a combination of alternate down and up-strokes:
In your first chord study, we will use only down-strokes.  Simply strum each chord with a down-stroke on the beat.  So you would

|G G G G|C C C C|D D D D|G G G G|

Chord Study 1

Remember from our last lesson, that the slashes represent the notes in the chords while the stems indicate the time values of the
chords.  The slash shown below is a quarter note and is counted as one beat in 4/4 time. 
The above lesson has been excerpted from The EDGE: CORE Beginner Guitar Lessons Volume 1.
To your guitar success,
Don J. MacLean

Don J. MacLean is one of the world's leading authorities on accelerated learning systems for guitar-with students using his methods in
more than 50 countries worldwide. Don is the author of over 60 books including The Ultimate Guitar EDGE; The World of Scales; the
Absolute Essentials of Music Theory for Guitar; How I Got Killer Guitar Chops While I Was Still in High School: Confessions of a High
School Shredder; 21 Secrets to Learn any Guitar Song Super-Fast; 7 Secrets to Learn any Guitar Chord Super-Fast; and Guitar
Essentials: Chord Master Expanded Edition.
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