Acoustic Guitar Community

Welcome to the Acoustic Guitar Community.

When I farst learned guitar, I came accross a book that taught to play 1 finger cords. The idea is to finger the notes and play 3 strings. I have not seen this meathod anywhere else. Just wondering if anyone else has seen or heard of this? BTW I have sense learned the full cord shapes.

Views: 181

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Just because the guitar has six strings, it doesn't mean you have to play all of 'em.  The essential chord is a "triad", three notes including the root, third, and fifth note of the respective scale.

If you limit yourself to one finger, your'e reduced to "barring" the three notes which greatly limits the number of chords you can use.

The 2nd-fret "A" major is a good example of a three-note shape that can be translated up the fingerboard.

However, it would be very difficult to do a wide variety of chords without adding other fingers.

This is a Freddie Green innovation. He used it in Big Bands to keep out of the way of other instruments. It also allowed for quicker changes, giving an almost walking bass line feel to the rhythm. It is particularly effective when playing four-in-a-bar. The basics of a chord 3rd and 7th are usually there, being played on the  3rd and 4th strings. The root is played mostly on the 6th string and can interchange with other chord tones or even extensions, and passing notes creating inversions. This makes for a smoother transition between chords. If you google Freddie Green there is a website dedicated to him.

Yeah, there are a lot of things to be played on the guitar without using all six strings. You can get many three note chords on adjacent strings and otherwise (5th-3rd-1st, 1st-2nd-3rd, etc.). Various tunes various various sounds and note combinations, so it all depends on the style/genre you are playing. As mentioned, sometimes in jazz you need to play more sparsely, for facility and to leave room for the piano player. In fingerstyle, we leave out strings all the time, in rock a tune will sometimes use power chords only and so on.


What people commonly know as "THE" G chord, is just one of many G chords. It is known as the "main" one because it is in open/first position and has been a starting in many methods and ways of thinking/teaching. Essentially, a "chord" is the sounding of two or more notes at a time. Personally, when I started sitting down a trying to really know/memorize the names of all the voicings/chords I like to play, it helped a lot. In other words, yeah its a good idea to learn many 3-note chords as well, also in that it puts off for a while the learning of the bar chord for the beginner - a good stress relief at the start of things.


p-i-m-a in the right hand


Check Out the Latest in Acoustic Guitar

Free e-newsletter!

Sign up for Acoustic Guitar Weekly—the weekly e-mail newsletter that delivers coverage of players and gear, lessons and technique tips, and advice about performing and recording. Get it now!




Be alerted to the latest articles on, including lessons, CD, guitar, and gear reviews, how-to tips, and player profiles.

© 2015   Created by Acoustic Guitar.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service