When we play more than one note simultaneously, we are creating a harmony.  On the guitar, we can play anything from two to a maximum of six notes simultaneously (a different note on each string).  If we play two notes of the same pitch but an octave apart, we create a stronger sound than just by playing a single note … Read More


Two notes being played simultaneously is referred to as an Interval. An interval can be considered consonant (strong sounding) or dissonant (strange sounding!). Broadly speaking, there are two types of intervals: simple intervals and compound intervals. A simple interval is an interval of less than an octave, while a compound interval is an interval greater than one octave. Lets look again at our major scale, in the key of … Read More

Intervals (continued)

So far, I have only outlined diatonic intervals. These are not the only intervals that exist, there are also intervals between sharp and flat notes to consider. Here is the full list of both simple and compound intervals: Intervals from 0 up to 12 semitones are simple intervals. Intervals above 13 semiitones are compound intervals. After 12 semitones (the perfect 8th, or … Read More

Fifth Chords

5th chords are the simplest chords to play on a guitar, but sound very ‘strong’. They are commonly known as Power Chords. The 5th chord consists of only two notes, the root note and the 5th note of the scale. This interval, as discussed earlier, is a very consonant interval. So if we were in the key of A we would use the root note (A) and … Read More

Major Triads

Three notes being played simultaneously are referred to as a Triad. Triads are the building blocks of Chords. The most common triads in popular music are the major triad and the minor triad. THE MAJOR TRIAD Major triads are derived from the major scale, and are the basis of the major chord. As an example, let’s look at the A major scale: The A major (or … Read More

Major Chords

We can finger common major chord shapes based on our three-note triads by repeating some notes in the triad. Usually notes are repeated in chords to fill them out more. Here are some common major chord shapes: Listen: THE BARRE (OR BAR) CHORD You will notice that two of the chords above are made using a ‘barre’ (or bar) – … Read More

Moveable Major Chord Shapes

So what if we want to play the chord D# major? Or Gb major? How do we achieve this? What we do is we use the ‘open position’ chords on the previous page and move them up the neck. To do this, however, we need to turn the chords into barre chords. The barre then acts as a movable ‘nut’ to raise … Read More

Minor Triads

Minor triads are derived from the minor scale, and are the basis of the minor chord. They differ from the major triad in that they have a MINOR THIRD instead of a major third, which basically means we flatten the third note (move it down one semitone or one fret). Let’s look at the natural minor scale, in the key of A: … Read More

Minor Chords

As for major triads, we can finger common minor chord shapes based on our three-note triads by repeating some notes in the minor triad. Listen: Here’s an example of an ‘open position’ minor chord progression, with a simple melody in between the chord changes. This example is in the key of A Minor, so the melody is derived from the … Read More

Moveable Minor Chord Shapes

These shapes can be moved up and down the fingerboard to produce a minor chord in any key. The root note will dictate what minor chord it is. Note we need to use a first finger barre again for some of these. Here is an example of a minor chord progression using barre chords. Note the reggae-style strum pattern (each … Read More