Guitar Chords


Hello there!


This lesson is about the basic guitar chords: E, A, D, G, C, Em, Am and Dm. These are open chords, meaning they use open strings and they're easy to play.


A guitar chord is any combination of three or more strings ringing at the same time. These open chords use fretted notes as well as open strings. They're easy to learn and remember and you can play a lot of songs using just these chords.


Guitar chord diagram

Guitar chords are usually notated in a chord diagram, as in the image on the right.


These diagrams depict the 6 guitar strings and the first 3 frets of the finger board. The dots show you where to put your finger tips. The thick line on top is the nut, which is where the strings start. The strings are, from left to right, E A D G b e.


Not all guitar chords use all six strings. An 'X' indicates when a certain string is not used in a chord. That string should not be picked or can be muted.


I've indicated with numbers which fingers should be used on each chord, click the image to see the numbers:


1 - index finger

2 - middle finger

3 - ring finger

4 - little finger


playing an open e guitar chord

Playing the open guitar chords

When playing these chords, be sure to have your left hand thumb on the back of the neck and have the finger tips right next to the fret wire as in the diagram!


The finger tips should be positioned on the strings straight upward so the finger itself is not touching any strings other than the one it's fretting. This way your guitar chords will sound clear and full. If you're not sure you're doing it right, check here for how to play a chord.


When you can play at least 2 of these open chords in the picture, practise by changing between them.


Changing chords is actually one of the hardest things in rhythm guitar playing as it uasually has to be done quite fast in order to stay in the rhythm of the music. It takes about 30-50 times of grabbing a chord before your fingers 'remember' where they have to sit on the strings so you can grab that chord instantly, without thinking. Practice changing between 2 chords at a time repeatedly, and you'll be playing open guitar chords in no time!


Major and minor chords

Major refers to the major 3rd interval between the third note and the root of the major scale that corresponds with the major chord. Minor is the minor 3rd interval between the third note and the root of the minor scale that corresponds with a minor chord. Major chords have an open, 'happy' sound. Minor chords sound 'closed' or 'sad'. Try E and Em on the guitar and hear for yourself!


open guitar chords