Transitioning between Em7 - D/F# - G

Lesson #185 • Oct 7, 2018

Video Overview

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Editor’s notes

In this lesson, I want to share a recent trick I stumbled on to when playing the D/F# chord shape (spoken as “D over F sharp”) - and transitioning from D/F# to either an E-minor or G-major chord. The cool thing about this trick is you’ll be keeping your left ring finger on the same exact note for all the chord shapes I show - so, the transitions become much easier. This will be helpful in various different songs that need the D/F# chord shape. Let’s check it out!

How to play the chord shapes

Two things are very important to recognize here. First, understand that your left ring finger will stay on the 3rd fret of the B string for all of these chord shapes. Second, understand that your left index & middle fingers are what’s playing all other notes (on the 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th string). Together, these two tips make these 4 chords much easier to approach.

E ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
B ––––3–––––3–––––3–––––3––––– <== left ring finger stays here,
G ––––0–––––2–––––0–––––0–––––     on the 3rd fret, for all four
D ––––2–––––0–––––0–––––2–––––     of these chord shapes!
A ––––2–––––0–––––2–––––3–––––
E ––––0–––––2–––––3–––––––––––
     Em7   D/F#   G   Cadd9

Exercise 1

The first exercise you may want to try, as part of getting comfortable with these chords, is using a simple fingerpicking pattern. For example, you could use this pattern, which goes uses the 6th, 3rd, and 2nd strings in a repetitive manner. Even though the left-hand chord shapes change, your right-hand picking pattern will stay the exact same.

E –––––––––––
B ––––––x––––   <== left middle finger
G ––––x–––x––   <== left index finger
D –––––––––––
A –––––––––––
E ––x––––––––   <== left thumb

Using this pattern, we could go through the chords in this repeating pattern (Em - D/F# - G - D/F#). Play this as slow as you need to in order to retain consistency… and as you get more comfortable, try speeding it up or altering it as you see fit.

E –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
B ––––––3–––––––––––3–––––––––––3–––––––––––3––––––
G ––––0–––0–––––––2–––2–––––––0–––0–––––––2–––2––––
D –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
A –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
E ––0–––––––––––2–––––––––––3–––––––––––2––––––––––
    Em7         D/F#        G           D/F#

Exercise 2

To take things even further, here’s a fun little fingerpicking exercise inspired by the song “Shallow” from the 2018 film version of “A Star is Born”. The timing is a bit more tricky here – see my video lesson for reference. The full riff, which repeats, looks like this:

E  ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––0h2p0–––––
B  ––––––3–––––3–x–3–––––––––––––––––––––––––3–––––––––3–x–3––––––3––––
G  ––––0–––0–––2–x–0–––––––––––––––––––––0–––––0–––0–––0–x–2––––––––2––
D  ––––––––––––––x–––––––––––––––––––––2–––2–––––2–––––––x–0–––––––––––
A  ––––––––––––––x–––––––––––––––––––3–––––––––––––––––––x–––––––––––––
E  ––0–––––––2–––x–3–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––3–––x–––––––––––––
     Em      D/F#  G                 Cadd9           G     D
     1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +

A tip with this one, if you want some advice: first, practice going between the chord shapes along with the proper rhythmic counting. Here’s the same chord positions (minus fingerpicking), with the changes happening at the proper beats:

E  ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––2–––––––––––
B  ––3–––––––3–––––3–––––––––––––––––3–––––––––––––––3–––––3–––––––––––
G  ––0–––––––2–––––0–––––––––––––––––0–––––––––––––––0–––––2–––––––––––
D  ––2–––––––0–––––0–––––––––––––––––2–––––––––––––––0–––––0–––––––––––
A  ––2–––––––0–––––2–––––––––––––––––3–––––––––––––––2–––––––––––––––––
E  ––0–––––––2–––––3–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––3–––––––––––––––––
     Em      D/F#  G                 Cadd9           G     D
     1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +

From there, once comfortable with the timing, you can bring in the fingerpicking and perhaps find it a bit more approachable.

I hope all this was helpful

Please let me know what other chords you’d like to see lessons made for! In the meantime, best of luck with your playing.

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