Basic Chord Help

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Dave_J_GDave_J_G Frets: 0
Hi All

I have a feeling this a very naive question...

The first chords nearly all books / resources tell you to learn are the "standard" major and minor chords. For example those here https://www.guitarhabits.com/the-8-most-important-open-guitar-chords-for-beginners/.

Why is it therefore, that the "standard" E major (top one here http://www.guitar-chords.org.uk/e-major-chord.html) sounds lower than the standard C major (top one here http://www.guitar-chords.org.uk/c-major-chord.html) when E is above C on a scale / in a given octave.

Is because the "standard E" chord's root is in an octave lower than that of the  standard "C" root?

If so, why are beginners told to learn these chords? Would not make more sense to learn  chord shapes that make a sound that increases and decreases in pitch as you move from A-->F and F-->A respectively (like hitting the white keys on a piano sequentially would). Wouldn't that allow you to recreate tunes more easily? For example, and ignoring chord progression rules etc:

If on a piano I made a tune that went C-->D-->E-->D-->C, the sound would go up then down. The same would be true if I played key triads with those notes as roots.

If I did the same using standard chords on a guitar it would go up from C to D but then down from D to E.

Or am I missing something?

Best wishes,

Dave





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Comments

  • I believe they are taught this way because learning the 'open' chords its a great building block that helps with everything from finger dexterity, picking accuracy to strengthening your hands. The reason why they aren't taught in pitch order is that you would have to learn the Barre Chords, a more advanced technique.
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  • missmisstreatermissmisstreater Frets: 117
    edited February 20
    It's actually quite a reasonable question!

    The thing is though, you're thinking of the piano, or music staff/theory and then expecting the guitar to be capable of the same things something with 88 keys can do!

    A C chord contains C - E and G - it doesn't matter where or how those notes are played. If they're there... it's a C chord.

    x32010
    332xxx
    xxx010
    xx14x1315

    They're all C.

    The same is true of E (E G# B ) or any other chord.

    Now on a piano C going to F might be

    CEG to FAC

    but it might also be

    CEG to CFA

    That second chord is still an F... all the notes of F are there... but it won't sound like it's just jumping up.

    You may think of a C major scale as being C D E F G A B C, and that's right....

    But it doesn't just stop! It's actually C D E F G A B C D E F G A B C D E F G A B C D E F G A B C D E F G etc

    and it will keep going until you run out of range! There's not just one E, there are many. And you can go up for one, but you can also go down. You can go anywhere.

    The guitar has a smaller range, so we work within what we have. You could play C followed by E as 

    x32010
    022100

    or you could play

    x32010
    xx2100

    now you chord sounds like it's going "up".... but it doesn't sound as full as it could so we fill it out with more notes from the chord (E, G#, and B )

    Don't think about it in the way you are. Learn those chords, and as you expand and learn more chord voicings, you'll be able to choose the voicing that suits the sound you want to paint.

    Does that make any sense?





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  • vizviz Frets: 4620
    When you play E—> D—> C, when you’re at the E and you want to move “down” to the D, you can’t, because the lowest note of the guitar is the E, so you have to hop up an octave. 

    For many of the chords, you can choose which note you want as the bass. For example you can play D in a few ways:

    x x 0 2 3 2 (the D-string is the bottom note)
    x 0 0 2 3 2 (the A-string is the bottom note)
    2 0 0 2 3 2 (the E-string is the bottom note)
    2 4 3 2 3 2 (ditto)

    So, to an extent, you can reduce the amount of hopping. From E chord to D chord, instead of hopping up almost an octave and using the D-string as the bass note, you can step up by just a tone by playing 2 0 0 2 3 2 (thumb over) or 2 4 3 2 3 2. Of course you can create this effect on the piano too. It can make music flow better. 
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  • HAL9000HAL9000 Frets: 3711
    Surely it’s wrong to think of, say, an E chord as being inherently higher or lower than, say, a C chord. Until you know where and how a chord is to be played there in no higher or lower about it.
    It might look like I'm listening to you, but in my head I'm playing my guitar.
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  • vizviz Frets: 4620
    edited February 25
    HAL9000 said:
    Surely it’s wrong to think of, say, an E chord as being inherently higher or lower than, say, a C chord. Until you know where and how a chord is to be played there in no higher or lower about it.
    @HAL9000 - Without any context whatsoever, yes; however C->D->E is so naturally an upwards melody I’d guess in over 99% of cases that it’s implied that that’s what’s meant. But you’re right and that’s exactly what Dave is struggling with - he’s expecting it to go upwards but on the guitar it goes downwards. 

    But anyway he hasn’t returned to the forum since joining up and posing the question 3 weeks ago, so I suppose it doesn’t matter much either way! :)
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  • Jedi42Jedi42 Frets: 4
    Hmmm, perhaps he was interested in getting his website out there?....just a thought. To be fair, it doesn't look that bad.
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