20 March 2008

Beginner's Guitar Chords: E Major

Today's post is introducing a new beginner guitar chord, the E major chord. This is the last of the beginner major chords that you'll learn.

E major chord
The E major chord is a favourite chord of guitar players for its rich deep sound. To play the E major chord you use three fingers as shown in the diagram below. The other three strings are all strummed open.

e 0|---|---|---|
b 0|---|---|---|
g |-1-|---|---|
d |---|-3-|---|
a |---|-2-|---|
E 0|---|---|---|

Practice by placing your fingers lightly on the strings to get familiar with the position. Try starting with the first finger on the 3rd chord. Once it's in place then add the two other fingers relative to it. You can also try starting with the second finger. Experiment a little with both to find what you feel best with.

When you feel you're comfortable getting the fingers into place try pressing down on the strings and slowly pick the chords one by one to check they all sound well. Don't worry if some of the notes are muffled, the following tips should help fix the problem.

Muffled Strings?
A common problem with the E chord is the G# note on the 3rd string not sounding. This can be caused by the finger on the 4th string above it touching the chord. It can also be caused by failing to push the first finger down to the fretboard.

To fix both these problems make sure you get the end of your first finger perpendicular to the fretboard. The string should be pressed by the tip of the finger, avoid using the fleshy part just behind the finger's tip.

Another problem that can arise is the first finger muffling the 2nd string. Again, ensure that your first finger is perpendicular to the fretboard to fix things.

Finally, you may find that your second finger interferes with the 6th string. Be careful to keep the finger a little lower in this case. Keeping it perpendicular to the fretboard and using the tip to press the 5th string will also fix this problem.

Key of A
Once you've got the E chord to a point where you're playing comfortably, try using it with the A and D chords. These three chords are very often used when playing in the key of A.

That wraps up the series of easy open major chords, congratulate yourself on learning G, C, D, A, and E chords. In future posts you'll learn about playing minor chords.

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