Q: Hey Jason, I am learning to play guitar, and got a guitar poster with all the guitar chords I need to learn but I’m not quite sure how to read it. Could you explain to me the letters at the bottom (C, G, C, Eb, G) and what is the “X” at the top of the letters in the circles. The chord is a C minor. I would bring in my poster but I taped it to the wall without thinking of bringing it in. Joe Bennett San Diego, CA
A: Absolutely man, a lot of the riffs we run through are so metal that we don’t actually have time to run through the music theory or background behind what we are playing and sometimes it has nothing to do with theory anyway. When starting guitar lessons in your city, it’s important to learn some of the theory. The chord we are looking at is a C minor and a minor chord is simply a major chord with a b3rd. So lets look at it like this major chord spelling first: C will be our root note or 1, D = 2, E will be our 3, F = 4, and G will be our 5. (CEG, or 135) 135 is the formula to make all major chords, so now looking at the minor chord with the b3rd we have the same thing with a Eb instead.
Image via Wikipedia
The “X” represents a string that will NOT be played in the chord progression (that means don’t play the low E in this case). The rest of the notes underneath the chord chart are the notes of the C minor chord in each position the black dots are notated. First finger C, ring finger G, pinkie C, middle finger Eb, and first finger lands back on the G down on the high E.
Got it? Alright…next move, take that same chord and learn how to sweep pick with it.