Prerequisites And Open String Chords

Introduction To The Chords Course

Prerequisites is free, open and available to anyone. In order for you to take this course however, I suggest that you are at least familiar with basic strumming patterns and chord diagrams. Therefore, this is not a course for beginners but rather for those with at least some experience who want to understand the special relationship the guitar has with chords and chord forms. If you understand the basics, the exercise below will seem easy to you.

As you practice this song make sure that you are hearing each note clearly, playing clean arpeggios in time with the recorded example. If you are still memorizing the chord forms remember to keep your eyes on your left-hand as much as possible and also to train your fingers individually, as if they were the four players on a team. I have had great success by posing this question to my students “where does your first finger go?” if you are taking mental snapshots of the chord forms your first finger being placed correctly is all the stimulation your brain will need to remember the rest of the form automatically. It’s a great practicing and it really works!

The following example has two purposes. First, it’s a great piece of original music that will help you to learn your dominant seventh chords, chords which are often neglected in our beginning studies. The second purpose of the lesson is to help to train your ear to listen for and recognize chord to chord movement. Throughout the many lessons I have written for this training program I have said many times: “all songs in every style are based on pleasing combinations of chords”. it is important that you learn the standard it, and common knowledge ways in which musicians and songwriters combine chords. The example below uses a string of dominant seventh chords resolving to one another, this type of chord movement is very common in blues, jazz, traditional and even classical music. I call the following example…


Reading Rhythms
There are four examples in this lesson meant to be played on the guitar. If reading the rhythms in these exercises, the whole notes, half notes, quarter and eighth notes present difficulty for you, I have written a book intended to be a basic, first guitar book thatsomeone could use to quickly understand rhythm guitar, it’s called Cool Chords and is available here or on Also, study the beginners course here on

Remember, this is a course designed to teach you all about how to play and name chords and also how to understand which ones fit together. That having been said, this is not a course in learning to read music nor is it a course designed to teach music theory I have addressed those two concerns with complete, first-class course material which is available here, for free at

The course material on this website is designed to stand alone and each course is designed to be complete in its own right. Various parts of my method have been published over the years and I have written 5 book available here or in the marketplace. I strongly suggest you augment these web pages by collecting as many guitar books as you find interesting and appealing. Having your own resources, material and references is a part of any profession but especially music. Make it your business to collect guitar books, songbooks and musical textbooks and incorporate them into your program of improvement and self teaching.



“My first experience with the guitar was taking lessons from Karl Aranjo as a high school student. His lessons were more than just a collection of tips and riffs: they were a method. As I look through, I get to take a trip back through those lessons and am reminded about I loved about them. His strong focus on the fundamentals quickly draws a connection between general music theory and the particulars of how that theory can be applied to the guitar, even allowing us as guitarists to use our instrument as an abacus-like tool to enhance our musical insight. In high school, Karl’s lessons got me up to speed to jam with my friends and in the school band almost immediately. In the almost 20 years since I left high school and had my last lesson with Karl, the things he taught me have continued to serve me well; I’ve played almost continuously in a variety of styles (jazz, rock, funk, folk), both as a hobby and as a part-time professional (currently playing with San Francisco’s Smash-Up Derby). If I hadn’t grown up in the same town as where Karl taught, I might have missed out on a lifetime of fun playing the guitar. With, wherever you are, you can benefit from the same quality instruction that I had!

-Grahm Ruby

“Mr. Karl Aranjo is one great teacher to work with. When working with him, he is very flexible, and will teach you all the basics and fundamentals you will need while learning how to play the guitar. From learning basic chords to crazy licks and solo’s. You will become an expert in no time and looking like a professional guitar player. In my experience, I learned to master chord progressions much easier and understand it in a better perspective. In my music career/hobby, it has given me nothing but success to play in a band as a front man/rhythm guitarist, compose my own type of music, and as well as songs that I really wanted to learn how to play on the guitar. Learning through Karl Aranjo was a great experience and has helped me understand the guitar a lot easier, I would not have wanted this learning experience any other way.”

-Julius Isaac

“I had the pleasure of being a guitar student of Karl’s for several years. Karl advanced my playing ability a great deal very quickly by giving me a perfect combination of guitar technique, theory and assigning songs that motivated me to continue learning. I highly recommend Karl for all level of guitar players no matter if you are a beginner or advanced.”

-Tom Hunt

”Karl Aranjo is a great and experienced teacher with an extensive knowledge of guitar playing and theory. His thorough online course, covers the whole spectrum from the first time beginner to advanced.”

Blake Aaron- Internationally Known Recording Artist

”Karl helped me dive into the blues when I was first starting out, and learning how to improvise opened up many doors for me on guitar. He has a vast knowledge ranging many musical styles, and i would recommend him to anyone trying to learn the instrument!”

Eric Cannata Young The Giant