Easy Guitar Chords
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41. Easy Guitar Chords

Using a Capo

HarpI would highly commend those with the talent to go on to greater musical heights, but in the meantime let everyone else join in with three easy guitar chords. Let them be free to make a joyful noise unto the Lord, albeit in an imperfect way. If you are already an accomplished guitarist then read no further. The help I offer is for those who would be music makers rather than musicians. By the way, a good music maker has many skills which a musician may not have including skills and gifts in the area of communication rather than in musical expertise. My aim is to make accompaniment easier. The best way initially is to use easy guitar chords. These are called D, A7 and a modified G. Secondly, the easy way to change the key is to employ a capo, a metal bar that holds the strings down. The "Dunlop" type of capo is by far the best as it clips on quickly and can slide up or down the frets easily. It is worth shopping around to get this particular type though they bring out new designs all the time. Thirdly, tune down the bottom string until it is an octave lower than the fourth string. Using these easy guitar chords saves having to stretch the little finger across the strings to the far side. It always did seem like a silly action to me anyhow! Once we are tuned we need to practice the three chords and change from one to the other and back. Using the capo with these same chords can place us in any different key. Now you can probably play at will E, F, G, and A and ninety percent of modern Christian songs. I say "modern" in that many classical hymns cannot be practically strummed on the guitar anyway. One would need to change to a different chord on just about every syllable!

Only Three Changes

Man Playing GuitarNow you can learn to play music chords with only three chords on your guitar for enjoyment, entertainment, and ministry in song. This "Play Music Chords" title is quite deliberate. Learning to play the guitar can be murder! First, you have to learn the key of C chords, then those of G, then D, and so on. You then attack the problem of changing from one to another! Once you have mastered that you face the sevenths and minors! It's hard being a musician especially with sore fingertips and aching hands and wrists! Would you be interested in becoming a music maker instead? Nothing fancy, that is, just to accompany singing in any key but using only three simple chords and a capo. It seems a shame to me that today the emphasis is on excellence in music rather than participation. Endless practice on an upright piano torments a little child into learning some obscure Bach piece when all he wants to play is a simple "Happy Birthday to You." The chirping sparrow in the infant is stifled until he or she can be a magnificent nightingale. Likewise, the student guitarist is pressed to learn not just the major chords but the minors, the sevenths and so on until fingertips throb and joints ache! (Perhaps you can relate to this personally.) I sympathize and I repeat, "How about playing the majority of Christian songs with only three chords." "No! No!" I can hear professional musicians crying. "This is barbarism! You are decimating our musical heritage!" And the church musicians chime in, "You are undermining the foundations of our worship!"

Singing Praise Music

David playing the HarpSinging praise music from the Psalms is equally beautiful in Cologne Cathedral or amongst the trees of the woods themselves. Let us think back for a moment to David and his songbook, the Psalms. At the end of this hymnal, we find some of the highest points of praise music. See how psalms 147 to 150 are so full of praise-singing and rejoicing. For example, Psalm 147 begins, "Praise the Lord. How good it is to sing praises to our God, how pleasant and fitting to praise him!." But, let me ask you who are involved in singing this music? When you read the individual Psalms you find that just about everyone is in on the act. The Psalmist mentions all the ordinary people's instruments for making music, and even the trees, the waves, and the elements join in! I remember going to a service of Evening Prayer at one of the great cathedrals in London, England renowned for its music. The people there were very high on the musical scale with organ recitals at lunchtime, a choir school, a men's chorale, and orchestral concerts. It was quite the place to be!

Taking Part

Cologne Cathedral InteriorHowever, on this particular evening, I was looking forward to joining in the music and worshiping God in that magnificent old building, but I was very disappointed. The choir sang everything! They even chanted the "Magnificat," "My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior," and there we sat in complete silence. I was bursting to rejoice in song. How frustrating! Then a psalm - another missed opportunity. Then another canticle called the "Gloria," "Glory to the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost," but still not a peep of praise passed our lips! How disappointing! Ordinary Christians need to begin singing praise music where they are, and if they have an instrument, so much the better.

"Easy Guitar Chords"
by Ron Meacock © 1982-2021

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