One Finger Chords
If you have been practicing the thumb-brush strum for a while I think it's safe to say that you and any people nearby are sick of hearing that open G chord. So let's give your left hand something to do by making and playing chords.
With six strings and only five fingers to work with learning chords on the guitar can be a real challenge. In order to make things a little easier we are going to take advantage of a feature in open G tuning that lets us make chords with one finger.
Look at the back of your guitar neck. Imagine that there is a line running down the middle of the neck from the back of the headstock to the heel. When you grasp the neck to make a chord you want to put the joint of your thumb along that imaginary line.
Now with the joint of your thumb on that imaginary line lay your index finger across all six strings at the fifth fret. Keep your finger just behind the fret-wire. It might help if you realize that your finger is not doing anything but pushing the string onto the fret-wire. The fret-wire is higher than the fretboard so when you push the string down it stops vibrating right at the fret. That causes the string vibrations to shorten. This results in a higher pitched note.
You don't have to apply a lot of pressure. Your thumb is only on the back of the neck as a guide. Don't go crazy trying to keep your index finger perfectly straight. As long as you are not right on top of the fret you should be good to go.
Now strum across all six strings. If you are fretting the strings properly each string should ring out clearly. You have just made a C chord.
Sounds pretty cool, doesn't it?
The technical term for this kind of a chord is a barre chord. It's called that because; well, look at your finger. You are laying your finger across the fretboard like a bar.
Try the thumb-brush strum while you hold the C barre chord and then experiment with changing from open G to barre C.
Once you get comfortable changing from open G to barre C you can add in a barre D at the seventh fret.
That's right, if you barre across the seventh fret you get a D chord.
Now you know three chords in open G tuning! It's time to start playing your first song.
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