40 Open Chords You Didn’t Know Existed

40 Open Chords You Didn't Know Existed

Forty open chords you didn’t know existed is an online guitar series that centers around basic guitar chord shapes that are taught to almost everyone learning to play the guitar.

The term “open chord” refers to the use of open strings E, A, D, G, and B in a traditional tuning or open tuning. The notes can vary depending on what tuning is chosen.

Although open chords (also referred to as cowboy chords) have been around since the birth of the 6 string guitar, they made their way to America during the civil war when thousands of folk songs were written. The “cowboys” also used open chords when writing country and western style songs. This led to the folk song burst in the 1950’s and 60’s where countless songs were written using open chords. It is amazing that with thirty to forty open chords to work with, so many songs can be written and all will have something unique to add.

In this online guitar series I take forty or so open chords and extend them into more unusual chords that can be thought of as being extensions of the basic guitar chord. This results in a wider choice of chords being available. The concept creating extensions of basic guitar chords by taking open chords and extending them into more unusual chords is not new, and has been used by many jazz guitarists to make their playing sound more sophisticated and harmonically richer.

Most students learn the standard open chords at the beginning of their studies and eventually are led into moveable chords up and down the neck of the guitar. So why not take what you already know and expand on it to make the transition into more complex chord structures more natural and physically easier to manage. Furthermore, theses new shapes will lead directly into my next online guitar series “400 Barre Chords you didn’t know existed” which focuses on moveable chords. This online guitar series will enable you to play in all twelve keys and will give you a much broader command of the guitar.

The Major and Minor and Dominant seventh chord are the basic guitar chords that constitute the backbone of most songs that are written using open chords and closed chords. As you get into different styles of music the basic guitar chords become more complex harmonically. For example a simple D major chord can be transformed into a D major 7th, to D dominant 7th, and finally a D6th chord simply by moving a single note per chord, ascending or descending. The same holds true for minor chords. An example would be D minor to Dm major 7th, to Dm7th to Dm6th using the same technique as stated above. For more examples, watch this online guitar video series.

It is clear that the possibilities are endless and becoming familiar with them will only make your guitar adventure more rewarding.

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Videos Below


Lesson 1

40 open chords lesson 1

Lesson 2

40 open chords lesson 2

Lesson 3

40 open chords lesson 3

Lesson 4

40 open chords lesson 4

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