How to read Basic Guitar Chord Diagram

A basic guitar chord diagram will demonstrate how to form a guitar chord and includes a lot of information. The diagrams show what notes are combined to make up a chord, and what fingers we need to use to select those notes along with a number of other elements, lets take a look at these;

Chord Diagram

The guitar fingerboard

The entire diagram is a representation of part of the guitar fingerboard when holding the guitar with the headstock pointing to the sky. How far up the fingerboard the chart is showing will be indicated by a number on the left side of the fingerboard (the Fret Number).

Top nut

The top nut is shown as the horizontal, double lines at the top of the diagram.


Horizontal, single lines representing the frets


Vertical, single lines representing the strings

Chord fingering

The fingers required to press the strings down just behind the fret (called fretting). If a number is shown spanning across the frets, as in the case above on the 2nd fret, then that represents the finger should be placed across all the relevant strings creating a barre (also known as a bar chord)

Notes contained in the chord

The notes or intervals that make up the chord

Open strings and strings NOT to play

X represents when a string is not to played and the O represents when that string should be played open, in other words the string should be played unfretted.

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