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.

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