21 Chords to Success!

21 seems to be a manageable number to me. It's not tiny, yet it's also not an enormous number.  Over the years or playing guitar, I am continually surprised at how many famous songs almost always come back to only a handful of these 21 chords. I would estimate at least 70-80% (if not more!) of the songs you know and love can be played using these chords!

If you are a beginner, there are three main groupings of chords that are essential to learn:  Majors, minors and sevenths. The chords begin with A and end with G (A, B, C, D, E, F and G).
Major chords have a "happy" sound.
Minor chords have a "sad" sound.
Seventh chords have a "jazzy" sound.
For example, when you play an A chord, it can be expressed an a A major (A), A minor (Am) or A seven (A7).  This formatting applies to chords B through G.  Seven main chords with three variations (major, minor and seventh) for each chord.  7 x 3 = 21.

Mix up these 21 chords in different ways and you can be playing all sorts of great songs in no time! Now, it may not be exactly how an artist plays a particular song, but you can definitely play a decent version of a song using these 21 chords. It is very important to memorize these chord shapes on the guitar and be able to move easily between them. I will be introducing all of these chords, along with some fun exercises, in future blog posts.

If you become frustrated with your playing, keep in mind the power and simplicity of 21! It works for the game of blackjack and it can work for your guitar playing.

Update: I now have free YouTube videos to help with practicing Major, Minor and Seventh Chords!  I recommend turning on "shuffle mode" in my playlists so that you can practice these chords in different order.

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