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Watch the Big Chords online guitar lesson by Angus Clark from Hard Rock Survival Guide: Rhythm

Let's start simple. We're going to play big open position chords in whole notes. One thing I've learned from being in the studio is that while gain may cover up a host of ills it won't fix tuning. And while your guitar may be in tune, the way you are fretting your guitar may be pulling it out of tune. Big chords that incorporate open strings are a hallmark of the hard rock sound. From Foreigner to Tool and everyone before and since, when you want to sound big, play a big chord! We're playing one chord a bar and holding them just to make sure we can hear that we're in tune and everything is ringing out. Gibson style guitars are notorious for tuning issues and these stem largely from the nut being too low, too high, cut wrong, misaligned, etc. You can correct for certain deficiencies in intonation simply with your fingers, but you really have to be listening. When you are tuning your guitar you really need to listen to it and play a few chords. There's a big difference in checking your open E chord and your open G chord. Similarly with your open A, D, and C chords. You have to find a compromise in the tuning of the instrument and the way you fret the chord in order to get it to ring true. We're also going to look at the most popular barred shapes of major and minor chords. If you haven't seen these already, get 'em down! If you have, still work through the lesson because there may be some hot tips along the way. The exercises here are just a few examples of popular chord progressions that use the shapes we just discussed. Play through them to make sure you're changing chords in time with zero down time between chords.