How to Read Guitar Chord Charts

read chord charts review

read chord charts review

learn closed guitar chords

learn some advanced chords

power chord diagrams

closed positions' roots

closed positions made easier diagram

tips for sore fingers


Reading Open Chords

Open chords, unlike closed chords, must be played in only one location on the fretboard, since one or more open strings are part of the chord.

Note: Where no open chord exists for a particular note, a closed chord will be inserted (in grey) to maintain the alphabetical order.

Closed Chords

Closed chords, unlike open chords, can be played anywhere along the fretboard, since they do not contain any open strings.

Some Advanced Chords

These groups of chords are used like salt on meat to season a song. There are numerous variations of these chords. Below are the easiest.

Power Chords

Technically, power chords are not true chords (they consist of only two notes, not three). But who cares! These puppies can bite—and they’re easy to play. Countless rock hits consist almost entirely of power chords. Once you play them, you’ll see why. And only 2 fingers needed!

Closed Positions made Easier

Here are “trimmed down” versions of the positions. These shortcuts are not “cheating”. They are all legitimate chord positions in their own right. They have been used to create famous guitar solos like the one at the beginning of Brown Eyed Girl (which uses the easiest versions of four positions shown here).

One benefit of practicing these simpler fingering positions is that they ease you into mastering the more challenging, full-version positions.

How to practice

Science has unlocked the physiology of practice. Only 15 minutes or so is all your brain needs to start building neuron pathways that make the task easy to perform.

It is non productive to practice for long periods of time!

Consider yourself well on your way to cracking the mystery of chords.

Understanding how the root note in a chord position works, allows you to find any chord that is a major, minor, seventh, minor- seventh, augmented, diminished and suspended.

You are now able to find the chords you will need to play nearly any song.

Help with sore fingers

Be prepared for sore fingers. Especially if you’re playing an acoustic guitar. Fingertips are not accustomed to this abuse.

Two factors are the culprits:
  1. Guitar’s action – The greater the distance between your strings and the fretboard, the more your strain on your fingers to press the string(s) down.Solution: If possible, lower the bridge. If you have an acoustic, this may not be an option; but most electric guitars include this feature. Excessive lowering will cause the strings to buzz.
  2. String gauge – The heavier your string gauge, the tighter and more rigid they will be. Dropping the gauge by a factor of 1 makes a world of difference. On my Stratocaster I use ‘9s’, while on my Rickenbacker, I use ‘10s’. What a difference! On the Strat I can bend the B and G strings with ease, while on the Rick, it takes much more effort. Here’s the trade-off: heavier strings provide more power and sustain, while lighter strings allow for ease of bending and, generally, greater ease of playing (lead in particular).Solution: Switch to a lighter gauge of string. If this is all new to you, take your strings (or the guitar) to a music store and ask the staff for advice. A new set is usually in the $5 to $12 range. (Eventually, the tips of your fingers will get hard and the pain vanishes.)

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