How to Read Guitar Chord Charts/Diagrams

One of the first things you’ll need to be able to decipher when starting to learn the guitar are chord charts, or chord diagrams. It is fairly straight forward, so have a look at the video if you’ve been having trouble reading guitar chord charts.

A chord diagram is a visual representation of a guitar chord. There are 6 lines going from left to right and six lines going from top to bottom.

  • The lines going from left to right represent the guitar strings, with the leftmost line being the thickest string of the guitar, the low E string, and the rightmost line being the skinniest string of the guitar, the high E string.
  • As you can guess, the lines in between represent strings A, D, G and B.
  • The lines going from top to bottom represent the frets. The top line is the nut of the guitar, the second line is the first fret, and so on.
  • String with no notation, so no open or black dots are not played in the given chord.

Of course, you could have a guitar chord diagram, where the topmost line is not the nut, but a fret further up the neck of the guitar. This would be indicated by “5 fr” for example, meaning that the upper line is fret 5, the second line fret 6, and so on.


A Major Guitar Chord

The A major will be a challenge at first, due to the fact that all three of your fingers are scrunched together closely on the 2nd fret. Try playing this chord a few times to see how it feels and sounds.

  • Place your index finger on the 4th string, 2nd fret
  • Place your middle finger on the 3rd string, 2nd fret
  • Place your ring finger on the 2nd string, 2nd fret
  • Begin with the 5th string and play every single of the strings below in rapid succession. Don’t play the 6th string.

If you are still having problems, or your fingers are so big that they just don’t all fit on the 2nd fret at the same time, you may want to experiment with other fingerings.


C Major Guitar Chord

The C major open chord is an ideal chord for anybody who has just started to learn to play the guitar. It’s played on five strings only and uses three fingers on your fretting hand.

  • Put your ring finger on the 5th string, 3rd fret
  • Put your middle finger on the 4th string, 2nd fret
  • Put your index fingeron the 2nd string, 1st fret
  • Begin from the 5th string and strum every string below it in a quick succession. Don’t play the 6th string.

The C major chord that you’ve just made ought to look a little bit like a staircase, with your index finger forming the lowest step. It might seem uncomfortable initially to hold your fingers in that position, but do not be concerned.

Make sure none of the strings are buzzing or being muted. The more you practice each and every chord, the stronger your fingers turn out to be, the simpler it is going to be for your hand to form the chord structures.