I decided that if I am going to learn how to compose something and learn how my guitar works that I should start at the very beginning: what are notes? Using TakeLessons.com, I began my learning experience.
After some brief searching on the website, I came across an article titled “Roadmap of the Notes on a Guitar“. Once I got into it, I began to recognize some things my dad had mentioned to me when I picked up the instrument, and everything started to click. He had mentioned that the six strings on a regular guitar are numbered EADGBe in standard tuning. TakeLessons even gave me a handy acronym to remember it in “Elephants And Donkeys Grow Big Ears.”
After working through some common scales for a while, I scrolled to the bottom and saw a section on power chords. This was something I was familiar with! Power chords are really easy to fret with your fretting hand, are really easy to move between, and have a much thicker sound when played through an amp. It is because of this that they are so prevalent in rock music, which is what I’ve been playing.
The first power chord that TakeLessons showed to me and named was the F chord. This is done using the first three strings on a guitar on the 1st, 3rd, and 3rd string, respectively. This is a chord that I have utilized a million times, and it was actually a weird experience to be able to give it a name. Next, they told me to have the same hand positioning, but to move it up one string. This gives you and F sharp chord, or F#.
This realization was a metaphorical nuclear bomb in my brain. Immediately I thought back to a very well-known song that I’ve played a bunch of times in my life that uses these very chords, now with the knowledge of how they wrote it and decided which chords to use.
Here I am playing these new chords.