|What are sharps and flats? A sharp is noted
with the symbol # such as F#. A flat is noted as b
such as Ab.
|What is the difference in a flat note and a flat
chord? If I flat a note, I will fret it one fret lower such as
to make a different kind of chord like a minor. If I flat a
chord, I will be in a completely different chord such as a B v/s a
|What about a sharp string? If a string is out
of tune and it is to the high side then it is too sharp. The
same goes for a flat string which is too low. If you are in
tune, your string is neither sharp or flat.
|What are the chord rules? The major
notes are the scale of 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8 while 1 and 8 are the same
note but one octave different. It is easier to see on a piano
in the key of C where all of the major are the white keys. Minor
- flat the 3rd. Major 6th - 1,3,5,6 Major 7th
- 1,3,5,7 Major 9th - 1,3,5,9 Major 11th
- 1,3,5,11 and the Major 13th really doesn't exist because
the 1 and 13 are the same only an octave apart. An augmented
is to sharp the 5th and a diminished
is to flat the 3rd and 5th. Try it on the piano and it will be
more clear. Guitar string jump around and it is hard to know
where you are. A 7th is to flat the major 7th.
|Now that we have memorized that and have full
understanding, yea right! Let's look at the picture above
and see if we can understand the bass notes. Under each major
chord there are ones and twos which are the bass note and the order
in which they start. The strum is done between each bass note
such as pick strum pick strum and so on. The old song
"George Washington's Bridge" has a rhythm of pick strum
strum pick strum strum and the bass notes are the same. Other rhythms
you should be able to feel and play with little effort. The A
has two different sets of bass note that can be used.
|To make a minor out of the chords above try this;
with the D, flat the note on the first fret and if it sounds sad,
you've got it. With the E, leave off the note on the 4th
string. The A. flat the note on the 2nd string. The F,
flat the note on the 3rd string. The G and C would change and
be a position down the neck because the notes that need to be
lowered can't in those positions.
|The F only takes 6 fingers! The F is about the
hardest chord for the young musicians to get. The trick is to
use your pointer finger to lay across the 1st and 2nd string and the
thump can reach around and get the 6th string note. Move your
elbow around and you might find a comfortable position that will
help your fingers. It will get to be as easy as all of the
others believe me.
|For other types of music, you might need bar
chords. Bar chords are mostly the E, A, E minor, and the A
minor with the pointer finger making a capo. The is is done
all over the neck.
||The picture to the left is an E position made
into a bar chord down the neck. You will not really need
this type of chord for bluegrass. All other music, yes.
|Capo A capo is a device that does the same
thing as the pointer finger above. To use a G chord with the
capo on the 2nd fret makes the sound of an A. This is done in
bluegrass all of the time.
|The picture above shows the piano notes. The
letter is the name of the note A through G and they repeat all the
way along the keyboard. The black keys are the sharps and
flats of the key of C. C is best to study because all of the
major scale are on the white notes. Other chord scales have
the black notes as part of the major scale and then is gets
confusing when some of the white note are sharps and
Look at D; the black keys on each side of the D key are its
its sharps and flats. The rule is: The sharps and flats get
their name from the major note that they are beside. The lower
note is the flat and the upper note is the sharp. Now look a
the E key. It has a flat but no sharp. Now we have a
note that is a sharp and a flat at the same time, what is the real
name of that note? Pick the name that you like best or the
name that everyone else uses and worry about something else.
They all have that problem.
The numbers below the keys are the notes for the C scale.
Here C is the root note so it will be 1 and the scale starts
there. 8 is the same as one except one octave higher. To
make a C major (triad) chord, it will be the 1,3, and 5 as shown
|Lets look at the chord rules where they can be
seen and understood more clearly.
|| This arrangement is over a two octave
span. It is for the understanding not a playable chord.
|The C major triad is the 1,3,
The bass notes are the 1st and 5th.
|You can start to see by added
the note that corresponds to the number of the note, the
chord name changes to incorporate that number.
|This is a relaxing sound.
|This is more of a layout
rather than a chord to be used.
|If you leave out some of
these notes it can be the still be the same chord.
|Here the 9th is moved to the
lower octave and some notes were left out all
together. This is a beautiful chord.
Experiment; hold this chord with the right hand and
hit a 1st on the lower octave. Nice!
|This chord is a warning that
tells you that you are about to change to the key of F.
|This is a very sad sound
which becomes very beautiful when arranged in a song.
|This chord can be used as a
step down to D minor.
|This chord can replace the
C7 when a more relaxing sound is desired.
|Good Luck and practice hard! Warren Yates