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Quiz answer: the “O” on a Chord Diagram indicates which string is played Open (not fretted).

“Melodic & Full Sounding Open Major Chords”

Fig.1. Open “A”Major  Chord

Open Chords are chords played at the bottom of the fretboard (toward the nut).

-One or more strings of an open chord are played open (not fretted).  There are 2 open strings in the above example (indicated by the O).

-Because they are played at the end of the fretboard and are comprised of some open strings, a lot of harmonic frequencies are allowed to ring out.
This produces a very full and rich sounding chord.  “The strings ring freely and fully”.

Major chords are derived from the Major Scale & are Happy sounding.

-The Open Major Chord are Happy sounding chords which ring out with full harmonic frequencies.  They are very popular in all styles of music.

-The Open Major Chords are shown below.

-B Major and F Major chords are not shown because no Open Strings are played for those chords.  This is because they are unique in that they ard formed using an Open Chord Shape.
The “B Major Chord” uses the Open “A Major Chord” Shape moved up 2 frets & the “F Major Chord” uses the “E Major Chord” Shape moved up 1 fret (see Fig.7 below).

-The Open Major Chords are:

Fig.2.  Open “A”Major  Chord.

Fig.3.  Open “C” Major Chord.

Fig.4.  Open “D” Major Chord.

E Major (Open Chord Diagram)

Fig. 5  Open “E” Major Chord.

Fig.6.  Open “G” Major Chord.

-Notice how there is no “B Chord” or “F Chord” shown with the Open Chords above. This is because the “B Chord” is simply an “A Chord” shifted up 2 frets & a “F Chord” is simply an “E Chord” shifted up 1 fret as shown below:

B & F Chords

Fig.7. The “B Chord” and the “F Chord” are not considered Open Chords as they are formed by repositioning the “A Chord” & “F Chord” shapes.


B Major & F Major Chords

Fig.8. Chord Diagrams of the “B Major” & “F Major” Chords. Note: The underlying shapes used.  The “A Shape” for the “B Bar Chord” &  “E Shape” for the “F Bar Chord”.

-It is important to be able to change smoothly between the chords.  Try the following chord changes.  Play them slowly at first then increase your speed as you feel more comfortable playing them.

Video 1. Try this A-D-E Chord Progression

Video 2. Try this Chord Progression which uses the C-F-G Chords. It is similar to the A-D-E but in a different Key (or different Tone).

Video 3. This E-A-B Chord Progression follows the same chord change pattern as the progressions in Videos 1&2.  It is in the Key of E.  Note that the :B Chord” is simply the “A Chord” moved up one fret to the “B” position.  It is formed by using a “Bar Chord”.

Video 4. If you would like to challenge yourself you can liven up the A-D-E Chord Progression by changing the strumming. Try your own strumming with any of the above Chord Progressions (there are 8 Bars of 4 Beats/Bar so as long as you maintain this timing, your strumming pattern should fit).

-Try the following Chord change Exercise:

Video 5 (exercise): Play the chord changes through the Major Chords:  A – B – C – D – E – F – G  and back down to the A Chord. This exercise includes all the Open Chords as well as the B Major & F Major Chords mentioned above.

Quiz: What type of sound do Open Major Chords have?

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