How to Move Chord Shapes in Fingerstyle Guitar

Learn how to move chord shapes from guitarist Adam Smale in this online fingerstyle guitar lesson from Howcast.


If you want to learn how to move chord shapes around, let's go back to our CAGED system that we talked about before. Remember the C, A, G, E, and D chords. Those are your true open chords. And if you know those already, believe it or not, you can move those up and down the neck to create other chords.

Let's start with C. This is a really great technique if you don't have a capo. If you don't know what a capo is you see people clamp the capo on their guitar to transpose. So, let's say you wanted to move the C chord up to a different key, you wanted to move it up to three frets. Instead of playing an E flat chord like this [plays guitar], you wanted to keep the same shape.

Well, this is what you can do if you don't have a capo. Switch your fingers around so you're freeing up your first finger. That's the first rule of thumb. You want to free up your first finger. We're going to switch our fingers around so we're using, instead of one, two, and three on the C chord, we're going to use two, three, and four. And now all you have to do is move up one fret and then bar with your first finger.

Now you have a new chord. So you could either call this chord C sharp or D flat. And every time you move up to a new fret, each time you get a new chord. So this is D, E flat, E, F, F sharp, G, and on and on and on.

This is a really cool system. You can use this system on your C chord, G chord, your A, your D. It's a really, really cool way, especially if you want to transpose your song in another key or you don't have a capo, to move your chords around.

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