Play This Chord Shape At Your Next Jam Session - Even If You Can't Play A Song Yet!
You haven't been playing guitar long. You only know a couple of chords and some strum patterns... You get invited to a jam session... What do you do? Do you eagerly accept or kindly refuse? You're likely to feel you don't know enough yet and let doubts and fear overcome you. Unfortunately, this is what happens for most aspiring guitar players. But it doesn't have to be this way...
Getting together with friends, or other musicians and jamming some songs, is a great way to get better quicker at playing guitar. You learn so much faster being around other musicians who are more advanced than you. It's great or your musical development and a ton of fun!
So if you know only a handful of chords, you're about to discover a sure-fire way to get through a jam session. There's a super easy chord shape that allows you to play along with songs that come up in the jam. It can be played instead of open or barre chords. Fits well over both major and minor types of chords, as well as 7th chords, or even more advanced minor 7ths or 9th chords.
The One Chord For Your First Jam
The chord is known as a power chord. Once you learn the one chord shape and what frets to play them, you can easily play along with the songs and let your more advanced, musician mates do all the heavy lifting.
Power chords have been used in many types of songs. Their simplicity and beauty allow you to play songs right now. Freeing you up to learn from the other musicians and feel confident at the same time. Power chords are also movable. Meaning you can easily shift them up and down the fretboard to play along with the songs often without changing strings.
The key is a little preparation. Do a little bit of homework and memorisation before the jam session. And the power chord shape...
Only involves two fingers and played across two strings!
Here is the shape used on string six, five and open positions:
The one power chord shape allows you to play over practically any chord progression, by simply shifting that shape around the fretboard. To help you with this, it's important you know the note names on strings six and five from the open string note up to the 12th fret. Study the chart below everyday for 5 minutes to help burn this into your brain.
Doing this will give you the confidence to play along at the jam session. Without knowing it, you will experience fear, embarrassment and you won't want to play and you will miss out on a great learning experience.
NOTE: The 1st letter on the left is the open string note. (Reading left to right) it goes from the open string note then fret 1 through to fret 12.
To help you play the power chords over any song and chord progression it's important to know where your first finger is and on what note it is playing. The note that your first finger is fretted on (refer to diagram 1) is the root note. Finding this note and playing the power chord shape will allow you to play over any major or minor chord and in any sharp or flat key.
If the song has a C# minor in it for example, by studying the chart above, (diagram 2) you can see that if you put your first finger on the 9th fret of the 6th string, and fret the chord shape, you can easily play this while your more experienced jamming buddies players can play the full chord. The pressure is off you to know how to play the full chord and you can quite easily play along with the song and be part of the jam session.
This one power chord shape, can be used on both strings six and five giving you access to be able to play in any key. Learn the power chord shape. Do the homework to get the notes into your head. Then, when your musician buddy calls out the chords, "F, B flat, G minor and A flat", you can easily grab the corresponding power chord and you'll be grinning from ear to ear, playing and having fun at the next jam session with ease.