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Lyle Ronglien >> Beginning Guitar II - The Basics >>

Beginning Guitar II - Lesson 4

Your First Minor Chords

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Support: software tip: you can select one note in the tuning at a time and loop it

Lyle: In the last lesson I introduced the 5 basic open chords. They where the plain major chords in the open position. This lesson will show you the three basic minor chords that are in the open position, Am, Dm, and Em, then teach you to use them in a jam progression.

Lyle: Let's start with the A minor (Am) chord:

Am chord


Lyle: The circled notes in the TAB file are the root notes, A. Now try strumming the chord like this:

Am strum pattern 1

Am strum pattern 1

Lyle: Next is the D minor (Dm) chord. The open 4th string is the D string which will be your root note or bass note for this chord:


Dm chord

Lyle: Make sure all the right notes are ringing clearly. For chords like these you will have to use the finger tips. If you have large fingers, you may need to search for a guitar with a wide neck. Now try strumming the Dm chord like this:

Dm strum pattern 1

Dm strum pattern 1

david: Are there certain styles or kinds of styles of songs that you shouldn't try to play on an acoustic guitar? Or can it always be 'translated'?

Lyle: david, almost any style of music can be played on electric or acoustic. Heavy metal style might not come across very good on acoustic though.

Lyle: The third chord for you to learn is one of my all time favorite chords, the open position Em:


Em chord

Lyle: For some reason, this chord always sounds bluesy, or like a chord from a Pink Floyd song.

Lyle: Make sure you use two fingers to play the Em chord, and use your finger tips. Use your second and third fingers to play the Em chord. Now try strumming the Em chord like this:

Em strum pattern 1

Em strum pattern 1

Lyle: Let's review the three new minor chords.

Lyle: First, look at how each of them compare with the major version of the chords you learn in the last lesson. Here's A and Am, notice what is changed or different between them:

A and Am

Lyle: In musical theory terms, the major 3rd degree of the major chord is flatted to a minor 3rd to produce a minor chord.

Lyle: Let's compare the D major chord to the D minor chord:

D and Dm

Lyle: Notice the sound difference between the major and minor chords. Major chords sound strong, minor chords sound soft. Compare the E major and Em:

E and Em

Lyle: Ok, now I would like you to learn this simple and short chord progression using the three minor chords you just learned:

Lyle: Here's what the chord chart for the progression will look like:

chord chart

Lyle: Here's how I want you to play it using the strum patterns you learned earlier for each chord:

Full progression

Full progression

Lyle: Your goal for this lesson is to be able to play that strumming pattern for those chords, follow the chord chart and progression, and be able to play right along to this looping jam track:

Jam Track in Am

Lyle: This is a good place to take a break. Practice these over and over, then move on to the next lesson!

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