Short Chords and Chord Shapes

June 12, 2013

Learning the shape of short chords is an important guitar skill because they are useful for playing slash chords (for example, Bb/D) and for playing chord melody solos. Short chords are played on only three strings instead of full chords that use four, five, or six strings.

To start learning short chords, a beginning guitarist should focus on treble-string short chords. Short Chords and Chord Shapes is a handout that presents the basic major and minor chord shapes for these chords.

1. Study the rows in the handout one row at a time to learn these basic shapes that are formed by connecting  from right to left the three dots that show the notes in each chord.

Treble-string short chords (Major chords):

(Row 1) Root on 3rd string – checkmark

(Row 2) Root on 2nd string – arrow pointing down

(Row 3) Root on 1st string – up ramp to right

Treble-string short chords (Minor chords):

(Row 4) Root on 3rd string – diagonal right

(Row 5) Root on 2nd string – arrow pointing left

(Row 6) Root on 1st string – line

2. Use the blank chord diagram grids to draw and label three additional chord diagrams for each row. 




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