This is a public version of the members-only Country Guitar with Guthrie Trapp, at ArtistWorks. Functionality is limited, but CLICK HERE for full access if you’re ready to take your playing to the next level.

These lessons are available only to members of Country Guitar with Guthrie Trapp.
Join Now

Beginner Country Guitar
Intermediate Country Guitar
Advanced Country Guitar
30 Day Challenge
«Prev of Next»

Electric Country Guitar Lessons: Basic Major Chord Shapes

Lesson Video Exchanges () submit video Submit a Video Lesson Study Materials () This lesson calls for a video submission
Study Materials Quizzes
information below Close
information below
Lesson Specific Downloads
Play Along Tracks
Backing Tracks +
Written Materials +

+Beginner Country Guitar

+Intermediate Country Guitar

+Advanced Country Guitar

Additional Materials +
resource information below Close
Collaborations for
resource information below Close
Submit a video for   
Electric Country Guitar

This video lesson is available only to members of
Country Guitar with Guthrie Trapp.

Join Now

information below Close
Course Description

This page contains a transcription of a video lesson from Country Guitar with Guthrie Trapp. This is only a preview of what you get when you take Electric Country Guitar Lessons at ArtistWorks. The transcription is only one of the valuable tools we provide our online members. Sign up today for unlimited access to all lessons, plus submit videos to your teacher for personal feedback on your playing.

CLICK HERE for full access.
Okay, we've covered a good bit
of fundamentals up to this point.
We've covered some pretty
important things about playing
the guitar as far as very basic things,
holding the pick,
right and left hand position,
so some picking patterns.
So right now we're getting ready to get
into some basic major chord shapes.
But before that I'd like to just say
that the first few lessons have been
a little serious, and
that's cuz of the fundamentals.
I mean there the building
blocks of creating basically
your whole feature with
playing the guitar and
forming what's gonna be your style.
And you'll have your own style,
I've got my own.
The way your hand hits
won't be exactly like mine,
the way your left hand is positioned
won't be exactly like mine.
But as long as it's comfortable and
you keep your light approach, and
the main thing too, is you keep this fun.
Playing music is supposed to be fun,
it's for enjoyment,
and, make these exercises fun.
If you make a mistake, keep going and just
try to keep your own little flow going,
whatever that is,
if it's not super fast right away.
If it takes a while to do these,
keep it up.
But this is the hardest work,
getting over these,
just some of the basic foundations and
fundamentals of playing the guitar.
So with that being said, there
are a few things we didn't talk about.
Getting into the chords,
where we're going to be having
more fingers on the fretboard.
At first, it might be a little painful,
you might have take a couple weeks or
a month or so to build up some calluses
and some strength in your hands.
And all this stuff's gonna happen,
it's just a matter of keeping it up and
being persistent and
having fun with it, being patient.
And I guarantee you, the results will
come as they did for us as players.
And we were just inspired enough to
have fun with it and keep it up,
and know that the hard
work's gonna pay off.
And the great feeling that we get
from playing music is gonna happen.
And that's what keeps us
involved in this stuff, and
it's great to be here
doing this with you guys.
So with that being said,
we're gonna get into playing
some basic major chord shapes.
We're gonna do E, A, D, G, and
C, we're gonna keep it simple.
And just get you playing some major chord
shapes and start kinda visualizing these.
And getting to play those nice and
clear with your right and left hand.
So we'll move to, we'll do,
the first one we'll do
is your basic E chord and
that's gonna go like this.
We're gonna use your first,
middle, and ring fingers, and
you're gonna put your middle finger
on the third fret of the A string.
Your ring finger is gonna go,
excuse me, second fret of the A string,
so that'll be your middle finger on
the second fret of the A string.
Your ring finger on the second
fret of the E string,
and your first finger on
the first fret of the G string.
And those notes are B, E, and G sharp, so
this chord sounds like this,
your major E chord.
And we're gonna incorporate
just a basic strum with your right hand.
And again, we're not gonna hold
the pick too tight or too loose.
We're just gonna have a nice,
you don't want this,
you don't want a
you don't want a harsh, hard strum.
You wanna rake the pick across
the strings and have a nice easy strum.
[SOUND] If it's too light and
you're holding the pick too loose,
it'll sound like this.
You'll have too much pick noise and
you'll feel that in your right hand,
just keep this nice and relaxed.
So what you wanna do with your left hand,
you can see where my thumb is slightly
over the top of the finger board.
Now if that's not comfortable,
then you can manipulate that around
a little bit until it feels right for you.
I mean everybody's hands obviously
are gonna be different sizes and
feel different, your guitar neck
is gonna be different shapes.
This is a skinny neck for
my smallish hands, so
you wanna roll this around to where the
guitar neck is right in this meat of your,
in between your first finger and
thumb, right in there.
And then these fingers are gonna naturally
curve up and be able to come down.
You want these fingers to be
able to kind of come down
straight on top of the strings from
this direction rather than up like this.
And we'll get to the C chord too and
show you how that works.
But you wanna be able
to hit these strings,
with your fingers close
together like with this cord.
But not be accidentally
hitting the other strings and
that's gonna cause unwanted sound buzzing
in some muting that you might not want.
So I'm grasping the back of the neck,
and then these my first
three fingers are coming down pretty
much straight on top of the strings.
And I'm pressing just hard enough
to make each string ring out.
And I'm focusing on my ring finger
is really close to this fret.
And just because this other
finger is behind that,
this finger won't be
as close to this fret.
But that's okay,
it's naturally gonna fall right there.
And as long as it's not too far back,
that's okay, it's not gonna buzz or
anything, so.
And then the first finger is gonna
be pretty close to the first fret.
So with that being said,
take your right hand and
just focus on making each string,
it doesn't have to be super loud.
You don't have to hit super hard,
just a nice even attack.
And then just hit each string, and
make sure that they're super clear and
all the strings are ringing.
So we'll just do this,
and we can do that together.
One, two, three, four,
and just let that ring for a minute.
And hold your hand and
let that ring for a minute.
Hold your hand in position,
you don't have to ring for a long time,
just long enough to where you can build
up the strength to hold that cord.
Cuz it's hard, and
it will take a little while.
But you'll build up the strength and
the muscle memory to be able to eventually
we'll get into changing these cords.
And when you make the chord, focus on all
your fingers coming down
as one to make the chord,
instead of going one, two, three.
This will come in handy later
on when we change chords.
Because say I was going from
an E chord to a C chord, or
an E chord to a D chord
because A is a bar.
So from E [SOUND], if I went to D
and I had to do that where I'm going okay,
there's my D chord.
But each finger's going down at
a different time to build that chord,
that's gonna slow you down a lot.
Don't worry about that too much right now,
do try to focus on changing, when you get
to changing chords you make the chord.
When you make the chord focus on trying
to hit all the strings at one time, so
that would be like this.
And then go into another chord,
you wouldn't be doing the building
the chord with your fingers.
You wanna hit it all at one time, so when
we get to playing stuff at a faster tempo,
you'll already have this fundamental down.
You'll know okay,
when we're changing chords fast,
it needs to be you're
looking at this as one sound.
Rather than building okay, this finger
goes down, then that one, and that one.
And you might have to do that
at first a little bit, but
try to focus on kinda
getting away from that.
Don't let that become a bad habit, because
that will slow you down in the future.
So that's your E chord, [SOUND] now
we're gonna move to the A chord.
I didn't go over this earlier, but
while we're getting into building
the basic major chord shapes,
I will go over the names and
the sounds of these open strings.
So we just did the major E chord, so
that's built upon hitting your low E
string and building a chord around that.
So this is your low E string,
[NOISE] this is your A string,
[NOISE] this is the D string [NOISE].
The G string, [NOISE] the B string,
[NOISE] and your high E string [NOISE].
So we've done E, [NOISE] now
we're gonna do the A chord, and
this will be the second exercise here.
We'll just be building this chord, so
we're gonna hit your low A string, or
your A string.
[NOISE] And then you're gonna bar, there's
two different ways to make this chord.
And I would recommend, honestly, just
doing the one that's the easiest for you.
And I'll show you that people do this
both ways, and that they're both fine.
But it's whatever's the most
comfortable for you.
So the first, and I would say most common,
way that this chord is made,
and I like to make the chord this way,
and I'll show you why in a second.
But you're gonna take your first finger,
this might feel weird too until
you build up some calluses.
But you're gonna bar,
The second fret of the D string,
your E note,
[NOISE] the second fret of the G string,
your A [NOISE], and
then your C sharp on the B string [NOISE].
So that's three notes,
[NOISE] that's your five,
your one, and your three, the major third.
And we'll get into that later too,
but just building these chords.
So this is your A barring with
your first finger, [NOISE].
And if you can just flatten
that first finger out,
you're almost making it do this,
where this completely flattens out.
Your knuckle there is just giving, and
it's making this nice pad, like this.
And you're just gonna let
that do its thing, and
it's just gonna bar right there.
So if this knuckle goes up,
[NOISE] you're gonna get a bad effect,
and some buzzing and some ringing.
So you just flatten this out and
then squeeze, it's almost
like some of this stuff with the muscle
memory is almost like a little clamp.
You're thinking of this as like a clamp,
so just bar those three [NOISE].
And play it until it
is just crystal clear,
you don't have to press down that hard.
You're going to want to at first,
and you might have to,
because of your strength and
the calluses on your fingers.
But that's all gonna change, it'll come,
it'll get easy, it'll get fun.
So again, this is your A chord, and
this is the barring technique,
so, [NOISE].
And you don't wanna hit, you want to
stay away from hitting your E string,
you're just gonna kind of ignore that one,
And the reason I like this chord,
and we'll get into this later on,
is because when I'm barring this
chord here, it frees up these other
three fingers to be able to do stuff
within these other upper frets.
ranging from, [NOISE] that chord,
which we'll get into later,
that's the way I like to do it.
The other way to do it is,
a lot of people will play it like this,
which has never been my favorite.
But it's personal preference, and
you can learn it this way too.
And this is a three finger approach, so
it'll be your first, middle, and ring.
And how they do this, other people
that play this chord this way,
they do the same three notes, of course.
But they're playing it with your middle
finger on the E note of the D string,
first finger on the second
fret of the G string, and
then your ring finger goes on
the B string on the second fret.
And they're just stacked together there,
which, again,
not my favorite way to do this.
But you see a lot of people
play this chord like this, so
[NOISE] that's the other way to do it.
[NOISE] If you're like me,
that seems way harder to do it that way,
but I'm showing you both ways,
so there's that.
Now, the next chord we're
gonna do is your D chord, and
that'll be working off of the D string,
[NOISE] open.
Again, we're gonna be on the second fret
of the G string with your first finger.
First of all, this chord sounds like this,
[NOISE] and that's your D.
So we're gonna do open D, [NOISE] first
finger, second fret, G string [NOISE].
Ring finger, third fret, B string on
the D note, so you've got open D, A, D.
And them F sharp with your middle
finger on the high E string,
so that's gonna sound like this [NOISE].
Okay, and there's a couple different
ways you can make that chord, too.
Some people will bar like
we did on the A string,
you can bar these two, well, you're
gonna bar all three of these strings,
your E, B and G on the second fret.
You can bar that and then put your
middle finger in front of your first
finger on the third fret of the B string.
And that's gonna look like this and
sound like this, same sound but
it's a different look,
[NOISE] different position.
And that can free some of these
other fingers up to do maybe
like [NOISE] which we can get into later,
[NOISE] so that's your D chord.
And then here is moving right down
the sequence of the strings,
we're gonna go to your G chord,
basic G chord.
And that's gonna be, there's also,
two different ways to make this chord.
So, the most common is this position.
And that's your ring finger
on the third fret of the low E string.
Your middle finger on the second
fret of the A string.
So, G, B.
And then D, G are gonna be open.
B is gonna be open, and then you're gonna
fret the high E string on the third fret.
So that's gonna sound like this.
That's not my favorite way
to make that chord.
But it's very common.
And it can come in handy if you're
playing like a rhythm style and
you wanna do like a
We can get into that later also.
My favorite way to do it is with
no thirds, which means no B.
So, this way to do it is your
middle finger shifts up and
plays the G note on the low E
string on the third fret [SOUND].
And it also inadvertently mutes
the A string with the meat of the back of
your finger right here.
So when I'm fretting that,
the A string is being muted and
you'll feel it when you press down.
You'll feel that on the back of
your finger, and that's okay.
You don't want that string
really to ring out.
So, and this will be no major thirds,
which means no B, and no B here.
So just ones and fives.
So this is a much cleaner
sounding G chord to my ear.
So this will be like I said, middle
finger on the third fret, low E string.
The G and the D are open,
these two right here.
And then your ring finger is gonna go on
the D note, third fret of your B string.
Then your little finger is
gonna come underneath it,
on the third fret of the high E string,
and that chord sounds like this.
And to me, it's a much cleaner sounding
G with just those ones and fives in there.
When I say one and five,
I mean the G and the D.
So you've got G [SOUND].
A is muted.
And then D, G, D, and G again.
So it takes this muddiness out
of it [SOUND], and adds [SOUND].
Which is a much clearer sound to me.
So that's your G chord.
Now moving down, we're gonna go,
we're gonna skip over the B chord.
We're gonna get to that later.
And we're gonna play a C chord,
which this is probably the trickiest
of all of these so far.
Because it does twist your hand into
a little bit of a different position, and
this can be a stretch.
That'll pass too.
Your F chord that we'll get to coming up.
That's one of the harder chords.
It's just a matter of
your hand stretching and
having the strength to roll around, and
for your ring finger to stretch up.
And fret this note and
not be laying down like that,
where it's gonna get in the way
of these other strings.
So here's you,
this is what your C sounds like.
So with that being said,
your ring finger is gonna go on
the third fret of the A string [SOUND].
Your middle finger is gonna go on
the second fret of the D string [SOUND].
G is open [SOUND].
Your first finger is gonna go on
the first fret of the B string, and
then the E string is gonna be open.
[SOUND] So that's gonna look like this.
And that is a little bit of a challenge
because you have to roll now
instead of these other shapes.
You're rolling this up to where,
now this finger has to curve up and
get in there.
And to where it's not
hitting the bottom string,
the string below it, which is tricky but
you'll be able to do it.
And what happens is, instead of
these fingers laying down like this.
You're rolling your wrist up
a little bit or in, down rather.
This way and up this way, so your thumb
goes down a little bit and your fingers
kind of move up to where it gives you the
ability to kind of land the tips of your
fingers in between all this stuff to where
all the strings, to where it rings clear.
Otherwise, you're gonna get
You're gonna get a lot of
muting that you don't want.
So with just a little hand movement of
this, we'll clear all that right up
to where your fingers are doing this where
they're coming down right in between.
And it's hard to get that clear but
the more you work at it, you'll get it.
So just take this with me and
do this with me.
Take this chord and play along with me.
Just make sure every note,
do it until every note is super clear.
We're just gonna go down the strings,
one, two, three, four.
Then we do the same
thing one more time.
One, two, three four.
And that should give you
a nice clear sound and, there you go.
We did five of the major chord shapes, and
I'm saving F and B7 for
further down the line.
But that covers some of
the major chord shapes.
That's a great fundamental to see those
shapes, cuz we're gonna work with those
all the way up the neck
coming up in future lessons.
So, some good fundamentals on the major
chords and we're gonna move on.