Starting out you learn open chords. The chords in the first position. After a while you see guitarists playing up the neck. If you want to know how to play guitar in different positions on the neck. I will explain it with 4 easy chords.
So if your wondering how to play Guitar in different positions on the neck. How to play guitar in different positions on the neck: Know the name of the strings. Know where the root of the chord is. Know the CAGED System. Configure the chords. Fretting hand technique. Transition between chords. Right hand Technique.
If your ready to take 4 chords and move them up the guitar neck. Grab your guitar and lets get started.
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Know the Name of the Strings
The strings of the guitar are named. And the name of the strings are also the notes. Which are the pitch of the string. When the strings are played in the open position. In other words if you pluck the string without fretting the string. When the guitar is tuned to standard tuning. From the 6th string up to the first string. Here is the name of the strings. E A D G B e.
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Know Where the Root of the Chord is
What is the Root of a chord? The Root is the Tonic. The tonic is the note on which the scale or key is based. The first note of a scale or key. The Keynote. Source
For this exercise I want to start with 4 open chords. These are 4 chords that you learn as a beginner. To make this a little easier to follow. Check out the 4 chords in the diagrams below.
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Finger Position of the C Chord in the Open Position
- Place your first finger on the B string, at the first fret. (2nd string).
- Your second finger is on the D string. 4th string, at the second fret.
- Then your third finger is on the 5th string. At the third fret. Which is the A string.
- When Strumming the C chord. Don’t play the 6 string.
- The Root of the C chord is on the A string. At the third fret. Which is the C note.
Am Chord Fingers in the Open Position
- Place your first finger on the 2nd string. The B String, at the 1st fret.
- Put your second finger on the 4th string, (D string) at the second fret.
- Then your third finger is on the G string, (3rd string) at the second fret.
- Strum from the fourth string down.
- The Root is the A string. Which is the 5th string.
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Easy F Chord Finger Position
- Place your first finger on the first 2 strings, At the first fret. (E & B strings).
- Then your second finger is on the 3rd string. The G string at the 2nd fret.
- Your third finger is at the 3rd fret. On the D string. The 4th string.
- Only play the first 4 strings.
- Your Root note is at the third fret of the D string. Which is the 4th string. And the F note.
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Finger Position of the G Chord in the Open Position
This is one way to play the G chord in the open position.
- Place your second finger on the 5th string, at the second fret.
- Third finger on the 6th string, at the third fret.
- Pinkie on the high E string, the 1st string, at the third fret.
- Strum all the strings.
- The Root note of the G chord is at the third fret. On the 6th string. Which is the G note.
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The Chord Progression
Now that we know what chords are going to be played. And how to play them. Now lets look at the chord progression. Which is the order that we are going to play the chords in. C Am F and G. If you just play that over and over again. It may get a little boring.
What you can do is play the guitar in different positions up the neck. The way you are going to do this is take the C chord. And the root of the C chord. Which is at the 3rd fret on the A string.
And play the A shape C chord. Which is part of the CAGED System. Look at the Shape of this chord. And then I will explain why it is the A shape of the C chord.
Okay on this C shape Which is the A Shape of the C chord. The reason it is called this. Is that if you were playing the open A chord. You would be playing the same strings that are at the 5th fret of the C chord diagram.
But of course you would play them at the second fret. The bar on this diagram is your first finger. When you play the A chord in the first position the Nut is that bar.
But just remember that the Root is at the 3rd fret. On the 5th string. And you are going to use you first finger on the root. And barring the D G and B strings, at the 5th fret.
Related Article: What is the 1 4 5 Chord Progression?
Am Chord Played on Guitar in Different Positions on the Neck
The next chord we are going to play up the neck. Remember the chord progression is the Am chord. What we need to do is find the A Root in the second position. This is also called a 6 string root bar chord.
You can find the A note on the 5th fret. This time on the 6th string. Look at how the Am bar chord diagram.
Finger Position of the Am Second Position
- Place your first finger across all the strings at the 5th fret.
- Your third finger is at the 7th fret. On the A string. The 5th string.
- Then your pinkie is on the D string. At the 7th fret.
- Strum all strings.
Pro Tip – When barring this chord. Position your first finger over the top of the guitar neck. Keeping it strait. This will help fret all the strings. So that you do not have any buzzing. Coming from the string.
The next chord in the progression is the F chord. We are playing it in a different position down the neck. The good news is that it is in the same shape as the A Shape of the C chord. But it is an F chord. Because where the root of the chord is found.
The Root is on the 8th fret of the A string. Which is the F Note. Again you are going to use your third finger. To bar the strings at the 10th fret. The 4th 3rd and 2nd strings.
Now we just need to play the G chord. This G chord is easy to play. And it is further up the neck. Back towards the headstock. This way we can play the first position chords again. Look below at the chord diagram for this shape of G chord.
How to Play Guitar in Different Positions on the Neck
Playing the G Chord
Okay the diagram is a little deceiving. You could play the G bar chord. But the Easier chord to play. Is the same chord shape as the Easy F chord we covered earlier.
Your simply barring the first two strings. The E and B string at the 3rd fret. Then your second finger is on the G string. The 3rd string at the 4th fret. And your 3rd finger is on the D string. The 4th string at the 5th fret.
Now you can Strum the chords in 4/4 time. Which is 1 2 3 4. Or you could arpeggiate the chords. This is a lot to take in. But when you put it all together and add some tab. It sounds really cool.
Take your time and learn a couple of chords and chord transitions. Then go to the next one. Before you know it you will be playing this way.
I made the Tab for you to print out to help you. It also includes the chords. Have fun!
Know the CAGED Systems
What is the CAGE System? Basically when you learn the CAGED system. You learn how to play the C. A. G. E D. Chord down the neck of the guitar. There are 5 positions of the C A G E and D . When you learn all the chords. Then you know where the chords can be found in different positions on the neck. If your interested in the CAGED To get a more in depth look at what is the CAGED system on Guitar.
Which Way is Up the Neck?
When playing the guitar things seemingly are backwards. When you refer to up the neck. You may think that the headstock where the tuning pegs are is the beginning. But really up the neck is the higher notes. The higher frequency. So starting at the headstock. To go up the neck would mean. Towards the sound hole or the 12th fret.
This is also true when the guitar is on your lap. When you are playing it. You may think the first string. Is the first string you see when you look down at the guitar. Which is the thickest string. This is the lowest sounding string, and is also the sixth string. Going up to the first string. The high E string. You are really going down to the first string. (The bottom string)
This can be a little confusing for beginners. But the more you play the guitar the more comfortable you will become with this.
Barre Chords up the Neck
When you learn bar chords. You will be able to play chords up the neck. It’s simply remembering the different Shapes of barre chords. There are Major barre chords. And there are minor barre chords. Once you learn them it will unlock the neck.
Usually beginner guitarist veer away from learning barre chords. Due to the difficulty playing them. Really they are no harder than other chords. But when you are a new guitarist. Your hands and fingers are not strong. That’s what makes playing barre chords tricky.
Thanks for sticking around this far. If you liked this. You may also like my YouTube Channel YourGuitarGuide.
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