As a guitarist it is very easy to get sidetracked by playing lead guitar, learning solos, riffs and basically anything that is fast and fun to play. Usually chords are at the back of our minds, other than the first few months when we learn open and power chords, most guitarists will stop learning chords and move onto something more exciting.
There is nothing wrong with this as lead playing gets your chops up and it makes learning really fun. However here are some reasons why it might be time to go back over some of your chords and learn them in different positions around the neck.
1. Chords will help your lead playing
Yes! Sounds crazy, but spending some time learning different chords, in different positions on the neck will actually aid your lead playing. Chords can be tricky and the time spent mastering some of the harder ones will make your fingers stronger and faster at changes.
2. Write more interesting chord progressions
Are you sticking to playing open chords in every song you write or play? This is a common issue and can really affect your ability to progress with songwriting. It is easy to lose interest when playing the same old chords all the time. You may even find all your songs are starting to sound the same. Learning different chord types and inversions will give you new sounds and shapes to inspire you!
3. Hear different sounds
Chords are magical, and when you first hear some chords they may sound strange or you may really love them. Stick with them and learn as many as possible and you will be shocked by what chords you like the sound of. We have diminished, major, minor, augmented, altered, suspended chords at our disposal so we might as well use them!
4. Play songs in many different ways
If you spend some time studying chords and the different shapes, it will mean you can use everything you have mastered in many different situations. When learning a song, try out all the different ways to play each chord and see what sounds best to you!
5. Be able to work out songs quicker
Being able to identify chords will allow you to move away from relying on tablature to learn a song. All chord types have particular feelings and sounds and it takes playing through them to start understanding how they are different to one another. Spend some time learning your chords and your ear will improve.
6. Learn the notes on the guitar
Memorising the notes on the guitar seems like an impossible task, especially when you are new to the instrument. Learning chords however is a fun way to master the fretboard as each position of the neck you will be able to play chords and even identify the intervals within them.
7. Play with any other musician or instrument
If you are serious about being a guitarist then chords will allow you to play with any musician out there. If you rely too heavily on using a capo and still call an ‘E minor shape’ an E minor chord when your capo is on the fifth fret and it is actually A minor, for example, then it is time to learn the real names to some new chords. If your dream is to be a session player, recording artist, or in a band then chords will get you there!
8. Relate scales and arpeggios to chords
Learning scales and arpeggios can seem like a big task. However on guitar you are lucky as in each position of the neck you can play a corresponding chord that will highlight the scale or arpeggio you are playing. Learn the CAGED system and each chord in every position and this will allow you not only to remember your scales, but to hear the tonality of where the scale should be used.
9. Unlock the fretboard
The CAGED system allows you to play chords in the five different positions of the neck and it is a great way to get around the fretboard. Learning the fretboard will allow you to play in different keys and get you out of the open chords box (within the first 3 frets).
10. IT’S FUN!
Music is the best thing in the world and you never stop learning! Chords are just another string to your bow as a guitarist and learning chords is super fun. It will make every time you sit down and pick up your instrument more exciting than the last.
We have released our first book!
This book teaches you every chord you will ever need in all five CAGED shapes, allowing you to master the fretboard and helping you to develop and expand your chord knowledge whilst keeping it fun and easy to grasp. Get the book and take your chord playing to new heights. 'Every Chord Shape You Will Ever Need' is ideal for guitarists trying to get to the next level and who like to play, perform and write music.