8 Chords Online

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Category Archives: Guitar Help

Learning to sing and play at the same time.

Once you know a few chords, you can play many of the songs in the 8chords100songs worship guitar songbook.  What about strumming and singing at the same time?  That takes a bit of skill and sometimes it feels like you have to have 3 brains to do that.  Here is an easy way to begin to develop your skills at singing while strumming.

First: take a song that you know very well with very simple chords.  Learn to strum simple down strums on the quarter notes and switch the chords on time.

Second:  Start to strum the song and HUM the melody along with your strumming.  At some point in this exercise start to forget about your right hand and let it go into a bit of an auto pilot strumming.

Third:  When you are comfortable switching chords and humming, continue that simple pattern and start singing the words.

Once you can do that well, you can begin to hum or use words and add some simple flips or intermediate strumming techniques.

Take it slow and perfect each step along the way.  This is the best and only way to perfect the skill of singing and playing at the same time.  It may take several days or weeks to get comfortable but it will come.    You will find more great tips and strumming patterns in the Modern Worship Guitar Lessons course from 8chords100songs.com


Question about the G chord, it is new and for modern music

On Apr 28, 2011, at 10:22 AM, Tim wrote:

I am a little slow in following the video courses but, I noticed that your G chord is different than some others, and it looks like there are a number of different ways to play the G chord.  My question to you is, do I need to learn it the way you show, or if it is easier for me another way, will it be ok to learn it differently.  I think I can get it the way you show but the hard part is getting my ring finger and pinky both to be there without muting the string and I can’t seem to consistently place any of my fingers where they need to be without them resting on another string.  I hope that the more I practice the more I will be able to keep my fingers out of the way.

Thanks for the free course and I am going to continue to practice learning these 3 chords before I go on to course #2.
Tim Lelek


Eric Wrote:

Tim, It is ok for you to learn this new more modern form of the G chord.  When most modern songs from worship to country approach the G chord, it looks just like this new shape.  When you are playing an older song, hymn, older country feel or some songs that call for that more traditional G chord, you will know to switch to it but for most songs in modern worship, this new G chord shape is the best and is very popular.   So, just keep practicing it until it feel natural.  Just remember to keep your third finger (ring finger) down when switching between the G, C, D and Em7.  This is your anchor!

Make sure your hand is tilted very nicely to avoid always muting other strings accidently!

That problem is rooted in your posture of your hand.

Hope this helps!


Chords spelled out for worship song One and Only

hi, i’m looking for the chord forms you use with all the open strings,
like in ‘one and only’..

can you point me in the right direction?


I teach this method in the 8chords program,  if you go to my members area, you can download a chord chart with similar chords.

here are the chords spelled out

G = 3X00033
Asus- X0223X
D = XX0232
Bm = X2023X

Hope this helps.


What strumming patterns to use on new songs?

I’ve been playing guitar for seven months now. How do I know which strumming patterns to use on other songs that aren’t in your 8chords100songs booklet? Do I just listen to the song and guess or what do I do? Thanks for the support! I love your program! It really helped me with the music theory and just guitar overall. Thanks again. – Online student 


Listen to the song and most of the time, you are going to use  pattern 6 with some variation of accents and possibly a flip on the chord changes. 

Sometimes a simple quarter note strum will do as well.

When a strumming pattern in a song sound very syncopated or difficult, you can usually get to that point by starting with pattern 6 all 8th notes down and then add what is needed.

Get to know pattern 15 as well, it shows up a lot in songs.

Hope this helps!
Eric Roberts

Learn moveable chords

First, memorize the names of the frets on the top low e string.  The open string is e and it moves up in half steps from there just like a piano. 

Here it is
E f f# g g# a a# b c c# d d# e

Notice no sharps between e-f and b-c. 

Take a look at a piano keyboard for clarity.

Once you memorize this order you will be able to play power chords and moveable chords all up and down the neck.  I wl upload a simple chord diagram to show the shapes.

5 Tips to Improve Your Guitar’s Sound

As an aspiring guitar player, you are learning that TONE is very important!  There are some basic things that you can do to improve your tone and your sound.

1. Change Your Strings Once a Month

Make sure you have a good new set of strings on your guitar.  Old strings sound dull and will not hold tune.  When you play every day, you should change your strings about once each month!  Many of you have had those old strings on there for over 1 year!  Get a good set and change them soon!


This stuff is awesome and it cleans your strings after you play it and it prolongs the life of your strings.  It’s only about 5.00 and lasts forever.  It can even revive some older strings for a while.  Use it after every time you play.  Made by GHS, its the best I have found.  You don’t have to spray it on and it is very nice.

3.  Have your guitar “set-up”

A professional guitar tech can set you guitar up and make it play like butter! Many students bring their guitars to lessons and the setting are completely off.  Perfect intonation, a straight neck and good string height are all very important to tone.  Plus you won’t believe how great your guitar feels when it is all set up right.  Do this before you buy a new guitar! Ask around at the local music store for a Luthier with a good reputation.   You can also visit this web site to search for someone in your area.  Tuneandrepair.com

4. Use a Humidifier on Acoustics

Especially important for guitar with solid tops!  Your guitar tone will come alive when it is properly humidified.  When a guitar gets dry, it sounds bright and brittle.  My Taylor sound amazing when I do this.  When I don’t use one, it gets annoying!  An inexpensive sound hole type humidifier will work fine.  10-15 bucks is all you need!  This is the type that I use. (shown on right) AND remember to keep your guitar in the case most of the time and away from the trunk of your car for long periods of time.

5. Tune Your Guitar with an Electronic Tuner

Sure, you can tune it by ear, but your ear will not match the perfection of the tuner.  Your guitar will sound much sweeter when tuned by a tuner.  I can tune by ear fine, but for every performance or recording, I use an electronic tuner.  I use the tuner on my pedal while performing but my favorite tuner for any other time is the Korg GT-3.  It’s about $30.00 and it is my favorite.  Don’t use a $5.00 tuner like a QuikTune.  They are not that great.

Follow these easy steps and you will notice a HUGE difference in how your guitar sounds!  If you have any questions, just comment below!  Good luck!

10 Common Mistakes of Beginning Guitar Players

Check this list and make sure YOU are NOT doing these things.  It seems like the easiest ways to get off track are also the easiest things to fix.

  1. Not playing close enough to the fret
  2. Holding the pick wrong
  3. Strumming the guitar too hard
  4. Playing the wrong (more difficult) chord shapes.
  5. Forming bad habits.
  6. Playing with too much tension (hands and mind)
  7. Neglect to choose a good mentor/teacher
  8. Not enough practice time
  9. Never learning the easy strumming patterns
  10. Not changing strings often enough (at least every 3 months)

Need to go further, check out my complete program for worship guitar. I help you overcome all of these early problems and start playing and singing your favorite songs.

Save money and use Eric’s program with a guitar mentor!

With my program, you will have everything that you need to learn guitar.  Plus you can make it an

A guitar mentor at work

A guitar mentor at work

even better experience when you learn with someone else.  Having a friend to play with or even a mentor to help you when you get stuck is worth its weight in gold.  My materials provide you with tons of tips and information that you would likely miss if taking private lessons with an instructor and paying over $80 per month.  I know for sure because I have talked to many parents and students who just lost out on all of the important building blocks and details because of a private teacher that didn’t provide the best materials for learning.  That is why I wrote my program in the first place.  I was teaching private students every day and struggled to find books and materials that would help a student develop in a step-by-step way and build them with the knowledge that they needed in the right order and at the right time.  So you can use my program with a friend or fellow worship team member to excel quickly and be playing worship songs in a very short time.

How to get a mentor and keep learning?

1 – Find someone who is passionate about guitar and who has a heart for worship and talk to them about your goals.  Ask if they would be willing to answer questions and possibly play together a few times a month.

2 – Ask your church worship leader if you can sit in and watch practices.  Maybe take your guitar as well and sit in the sanctuary with the band’s charts and try to play along.  This is a great way to get much needed experience.

3 – Help out on Sunday morning and try to spend as much time with your mentors as possible.

4 – Keep a journal and write down the things they say and take notes along your journey as you start to put the pieces together.

I have been a mentor and I have been mentored.  I know both ends and I can tell you that it is the most important element for your future success.  As the one being mentored, you must put forth 110% effort.  Don’t be a slacker and waste your mentors time.  Practice and work very hard.  It is very rewarding to learn a new craft and grow to become like those that you look up to.  As Christian worshipers, we who are carrying the call are always open to new musicians and worship leaders.  It is part of the call to help others and help others grow to become the best at worship and the craft of music to bring glory to God.

You can learn guitar on your own with my program, but having a mentor is an important part of becoming your best and gaining experience and opportunities.

Don’t have the Modern Worship Guitar Lessons Program from 8 Chords 100 Songs?  See specials and shop online now!

Best Acoustic Guitar for 300 Bucks and Buyers Guide

Ibanez PF5E  Acoustic/Electric Guitar

Best guitar for 300 bucks!

I have several of these and they sound great plugged in and are the right price.  Here is the link


If you don’t find it here, just search for the Ibanze Pf5e

Or the complete model number in mine is Ibanez Pf5e-cent-14-01  or   14-02

They have a fishman pickup system and they sound really good!

Two worship bands I produce use this guitar.  Read on to find out more about how to approach buying a guitar.

Eric’s Guitar Buyer’s Guide

What kind of guitar should I start with?
This is a huge question and the decision you make on what type, size and quality of guitar can affect your journey to learn in a really positive way or a terribly negative way.  Before you make a purchase or just grab the guitar from your basement and start strumming, read my advice here in the support center.

I am a girl/smaller child and cant get my arm around the acoustic easily.  What do I get?
They make an acoustic guitar with a thin body just for you.  The auditorium style guitar has a smaller body and is great for girls and younger kids.  The bloom guitars are just like this and they also plug in so you can run them to an amp or a sound system.

What type of strings are the best?
The best strings for a beginner are light gauge.  For an electric, use .09 gauge strings (most common) and for an acoustic use with a .10 or .11 gauge.  No thicker than .12 on an acoustic.  The thicker the gauge of the strings you use, the harder it is to press down, make sound and sustain practice time without pain.  In the beginning, it is best to take your guitar to a local shop and ask for it to be set up with a light gauge string.

Should I use an electric or an acoustic?
Either one is going to work just fine.  An electric is easier to play for a beginner because the strings are lighter, less tension and the body is smaller.  Acoustics are usually more desirable because of their beautiful sound and portability.  For a small child, I always recommend an electric because it is much easier.  You can purchase a small battery powered amplifier for a great price to avoid spending too much on the amp (plus it won’t drive everyone in the house crazy).

Why would I want an Electric/Acoustic?
An electric/acoustic is an acoustic guitar that has a pickup under the saddle and can plug into an amp or a sound system.  If you plan on leading worship soon, this is a great feature.  You can always use an external pickup in your sound hole (about $100.00) but the onboard preamp in most acoustic/electric guitar is a really nice feature to have.  It allows you to control the EQ settings and the volume with switches on the side of the guitar.

Where should I purchase my guitar?
Shop  at a local guitar shop but heed this important piece of advice that will save you time and MONEY!  Take a friend, a church member or someone in your circle of trust that plays guitar well when you go to make your purchase.  Tell them what you want and have them play and make the deal at the music shop.  Guitar shop sales teams will most likely take advantage of you if you do not know what you want.  A larger price does not mean a better instrument.

How much will a guitar cost?
For acoustics, a good beginner guitar will cost between $150-300.  This is the price range I suggest for complete beginners.  You will learn enough in your first year to begin to hear the difference in quality and make an informed decision on your next guitar.  The next price level is $300-600 and then $600-1,000.  I advise beginners to stay away from this price range until they really know what they want.  For electrics, you should be able to pick up a decent guitar for about $200.00 and then add an amp for $50-100.

Are guitar packs a good deal?
For a beginner ELECTRIC guitar, I say YES.  You can usually pick up an electric player pack, which included a guitar, amp, case and some other small accessories for about $200-300.  Two guitar packs I suggest for an electric are the Fender Squire pack or the Dean Player Pack.
For an ACOUSTIC, I say NO!  I don’t like the acoustic packs because they are usually cheap guitar packaged with unnecessary things and the price just goes up.  I suggest picking a good sounding acoustic guitar and then adding an inexpensive case and a few picks.  The Lauren guitars are just as good and sound even better than most acoustic pack guitar.

If you have any questions, please comment and let me know!

I already know chords… is this program for me?

I have been playing the guitar for 3 years solid, I know over a 100 chords and some scales,can move to them freely, and can play many songs. I have taken some lessons from friends who play. I practice alot at night after I help put the kids in bed.  This on-line school fits my busy life. Your probably thinking well what are you doing needing help.  I am very,very frustrated because I can not pick up a simple worship song and look at the chord sheet and play it. I have to have someone show me how to play a song.  Once someone shows me a strumming pattern and helps me I can play it.  My biggest problem is figuring out  a strumming pattern and timing, I don’t anticipate the chord changes good.  So my question is can your program help and where do I need to start at, since I’m not a beginner put my problems are related to timing and rhythm. 

So you know chords, that may put you in book 3, but since you are really struggling with rhythm and playing songs, start in book 1 and just work on learning how to count for yourself and then learn to hear a song and anticipate the changes.  Book 1 will start you off there and probably the songbook as well so you can learn some of the popular songs.
My books will show you some new chord shapes and tricks as well for worship.  Not sure you need the videos but, the cheapest way to do my program is the online school.   You can get a discount on the ebook downloads and have access to the full video sessions.  You may only need a few months.  But, by book three you are into very important foundational music theory on the 1st year college level.  Starts very easy, ends more difficult but focuses a ton on strumming patterns and counting and playing songs.   You can play along with me on all of them with the cds and the dvds.

Hope this helps. Eric Roberts