Moveable Chords

The idea that you can move one shape up and down the neck and play lots of chords at the same time is pretty amazing. These chords are called moveable chords.

You already know there are different types of chords. You've learned about major chords, minor chords, and seventh chords (also called dominant seventh chords). You've probably wondered how these different types of chords get their names. For example, why E, or C, or G7, or A minor? Each chord has a name (or root) note. This note is usually found somewhere on one of the three bass strings.

For example, the name (root) note of E is on String 6, open as shown in FIGURE 88.

The name note or root note of A is found on String 5, open, and the name/root note of D is found — where? Right! On String 4, open.

Look at the last chord in FIGURE 8-8. It's a new chord, called C7. It gets its name from the note on the third fret on String 5. When you play it, you don't play String 6 or String 1; just play the inner four strings.

Using the same fingering, move that chord shape up two frets. Your third finger, on String 5, should now be at the fifth fret, and your first finger should be on String 2 at the third fret. (The other two fingers should be in the same pattern as the diagram.)

Remember, this chord gets its name from the note on String 5. Look at the chromatic scale, look at your fingers on the fretboard, and try to figure out what the name of this chord should now be. The question is, what's the name of the note on String 5 at the fifth fret?

Here's the answer. Moving a C7 chord shape from the first position (your first finger is playing a note on the first fret, get it?) to the third position (first finger is now playing a note on the third fret) means that the new chord is called D7.

“Wait a minute,” you're saying. “Hey! Don't you play D7 a different way? In Chapter 5, you showed me a D7 chord should being played this way.” (See FIGURE 8-9.)

You're absolutely right. In fact, you can play the same chord in different ways all over the guitar neck (more detail on this later on). Here's the thing: Play the D7 chord as you originally learned it. Now play it using the new shape you've just learned. It's the same chord, but somehow it sounds subtly different. So you now have a choice of ways to play D7, depending on how the chord sounds. With a little practice, you'll find that it's much easier to change from chord to chord using moveable forms.

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