This short lesson is completely dedicated to the concept of Root Note. It is very important to understand this concept as it will help you in learning the intermediate guitar techniques including power chords and barre chords.

What is Root Note?

Root Notes on the Guitar Neck

Root Note is nothing but a bass sound which forms the chord. Since it is a bass sound, naturally it will be either on the sixth string or the fifth string.

The image on the left shows some of the root notes. The leftmost line represents the thickest (lowest pitch) string while the rightmost line represents the thinnest (highest pitch) string.

Each chord has a root note. It is the root chord which gives the chord its name.

For e.g. to play the G chord, the note on the third fret in the sixth string will be included. It is this note that gives the chord a distinct sound which is uniquely recognizable. How the power and barre chord are formed from the root note will be covered in the next lesson.

For now, just remember the various root notes and its locations on the neck.

Another thing to notice is that all the notes can be reached by just sliding the left hand up and down the neck of the guitar. Thus if you know the root notes, you can go from one chord to another just by moving along the guitar neck without changing the shape. So, you no longer have to remember lots of shapes for different chords.

Root Notes don’t apply to Basic Open Chords, or in other words, chords with open strings.

This is just a concept which you need to remember for now. It will be useful when we will try to understand power chords and later on, the swiss-army knife of guitar, the barre chords.

Things to remember:

  • Each chord has a root note which gives the chord its name.
  • Root notes are found on the fifth and sixth string of the guitar.
  • Chords having open strings are not built upon root notes.
  • Root notes are the basic concept upon which power chords and barre chords are built.

If you don’t understand everything in this post, don’t worry, the picture will get clearer once you understand power/barre chords.

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