Last week I posted a lesson on 6th chords. I got a question from a reader struggling with the major 6th chord form with its root on the sixth string, which is admittedly quite hard to play. I struggled for a long time to learn how to play this chord accurately, I think the difficulty comes with the way all four fingers are spread out.
I especially had problems with my third (ring) and fourth (little/pinky) fingers, they would end up on the wrong strings – third finger on the third string and fourth finger on the second string – which sounds terrible.
So here’s a step by step approach that I found really helpful to master this shape.
Grabbing Chords in the Air
I used the “chord grabbing” technique to learn this shape. If you’re not familiar with this technique, then click here to read a post and see a video that demonstrates it. I’ve found it’s a really useful technique for mastering many chords and helps to avoid the problem of having to slowly place fingers one by one.
However, at first I couldn’t get all four fingers into the right shape to grab this chord, so I approached it gradually.
First, I practiced grabbing the two-note shape shown below with just the 2nd and 3rd fingers. After a while my 3rd finger got into the habit of falling on the second string and not the third; my hand “memorized” this spacing.
Then I worked on the three-note shape below, adding my first finger to the previous two. This step proved quite easy.
Finally I was ready to work on the complete four-note shape, below. I’d still start by grabbing just the two notes with the second and third fingers to warm up, then move on to three fingers and finally all four.
It took me a while, but this approach eventually got me to the point where I can play this chord shape quite fast without my third and fourth fingers getting on the wrong strings to make a horrible dissonant sound. If you’re finding this chord tough to master then I hope this approach might help you too.
What About You?
Do you have any chord playing problems you’d like help with? I’d love to hear from you, click the comment link below to leave a comment with your question…