Beginners Guide to enhancing guitar chords (part 3).     P.J. Murphy, webmaster,

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If you are a learning guitar player, in the early stages of the process, fingers still smarting, air still turning blue from the swearing as you miss that chord change, these few tips may be of use.  I'm no guitar virtuoso, and certainly not qualified to give guitar lessons ( I leave that to site's like Chris Elmore's ElmoreMusic.Com ), these are just a few basic ideas to spruce up that clunky sound I remember only too well. Last time we concentrated on the E Major Chord.  ( ). Let's have a look at E minor.

E minor chord     022000  

You'll be playing the E minor chord with middle finger on the 2nd fret, 5th string;   ring finger on the 2nd fret, 4th string, all other strings open. This gives you the same options for hammer off-on on the 4th and 5th string as for the E major chord.    Using a 'DOWN-UP,down-up, down-up, DOWN-UP, down-up, down-up rhythm on the Em chord, hammering-off the 4th string on the DOWN, and hammering-on on the UP, is a fairly common riff, particularly in folk songs.  Bob Dylan's 'Masters of War' ( also played by Pearl Jam ) consists mainly of this riff ( x 3 ), followed by D major ( x 1 ).

There is another frequently played riff, using E minor, E minor 7th ( 022030 ) and E minor 6th (022020 ), which again is good practice for using the little finger. For example, in John Lennon's 'Jealous Guy', the opening chords are:  G     Am   D    Em, Em7, Em6  -  D.     You play the Em chord as normal, then place the pinky on the 3rd fret, 2nd string ( D note ), the slide it down to the 2nd fret, 2nd string ( C# note ).   Another song using this riff is Python Lee Jackson's ( Rod Stewart )  'In a Broken Dream', where the opening chords are:  B7   Em   Em7   Em6   C   Em   D   G    B7.



There are thousands of songs which begin with G   Em.   You will often see a transition chord, probably denoted as G/F# between the G major and the E minor.  This is just to create a nice bass note run downward  using  G,   F#, and  E notes.  Play the G chord with middle finger on the 3rd fret, 6th string; ring finger on 2nd fret, 5th string, and ring finger ( or pinky ) on the 3rd fret, 1st string ( 320003) .   Remove the middle finger, and move the index finger to the 2nd fret, 6th string, to create the intermediate 'G/F#' chord  ( 2xx003 ). The 'x' indicates you should try to muffle or not play these strings in the strum. Now play the Em chord as normal ( 022000 ). 

Bob Marley's 'Redemption Song' starts with this sequence for the 'Oh, pirate's yes they rob I' line, and is followed by a similar riff usingi an intermediary chord from C major to A minor, which we'll have a look at later.

More next time!

P.J. Murphy
PJ's Guitar Chords & Lyrics Site ( )


Other articles in this series:

Chords1     Chords2     Chords4    Chords5     Chords6     Transposition