6 September 2007

Chord Diagrams

As you start learning new chords you'll place more fingers on more strings than for the simplified G and C chords I showed you previously. A textual description of the chords soon becomes clumsy and difficult to understand.

A chord diagram describes simply and clearly how to play a chord on the guitar's neck. It's just a little picture of the chord that shows where the fingers are placed on the neck. The diagram optionally tells you which fingers to use for each note.

You'll get the idea easily by looking at some example diagrams.

Each horizontal line represents one string. The 1st string is at the top of the diagram. Four symbols are used:

  • Vertical bars separate the frets.
  • A small x means press this fret with a finger and pick or strum it.
  • An O at the head of the neck means this string is played open; the string is strummed or picked but no fret is pressed.
  • An X at the head of the neck means don't play this string.

Here's a diagram for the simplified G chord.

e |---|---|-x-| Play 3rd fret of 1st string
b O|---|---|---| Open
g O|---|---|---| Open
d O|---|---|---| Open
a X|---|---|---| Don't play
E X|---|---|---| Don't play

And here's the chord diagram for the simplified C chord. This time, a digit is used instead of the x to indicate which finger is used to press the string.

e O|---|---|---| Open
b |-1-|---|---| Press 1st fret of 2nd string (with 1st finger)
g O|---|---|---| Open
d X|---|---|---| Don't play
a X|---|---|---| Don't play
E X|---|---|---| Don't play

Got it? I'll be using chord diagrams to show you some more chords soon.

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