The Third String

First position notes on the third string

G on the third string

Open G

A on the third string

A on third string

Tunes on the first 3 strings

Tune 1

Top 3 Strings - Tune 1

Tune 2

Top 3 Strings - Tune 2

Tune 3

So far we have only played one note at a time. Here is an exercise where you play two notes at a time. Practice using only down strokes.

Two strings at a time

Here are some examples of songs that use this technique of playing two note melodies:

  • Into to Hey Joe - Jimi Hendrix
  • Weather with you - Crowded House

Introduction to chords

A simple chord

When you play more than one note at the same time you are playing a chord. Try playing a down stroke on the top three strings only. Get used to just hitting those three strings. Now try up and down strokes just hitting the top three strings. You are playing a very simplified version of an E minor chord.

Simple E Minor

Chord notation

Guitar chords are also written using a diagram such as the one on the right in the image above. The vertical lines represent the strings and the horizontal lines are the frets. Circles on the strings show where to place your fingers. If there is an x next to a string, it means it shouldn't be played. If there is a zero, it means that the open string should be played. If there is a number other than a zero, you should use that left hand finger on that particular string.

Next let's try a simple G major chord.

Simple G Major

Now try playing up and down strokes on the top three strings changing between the E minor and G major chords you have just played. At first it may be difficult to hit only three strings, but you will soon become more accurate.

E minor to G Major