If you are looking for a handy guitar chords reference you've come to the right place. We have created this guitar chords chart for beginners (and intermediate) guitar player that will help learn and play your favorite songs. You can download the chart in pdf format, or you can browse it online starting from this chords list page.
In the pdf ebook, you'll find 276 guitar chords diagrams, grouped for root and type. If you are a beginner guitarist, please don't feel intimidated by this big number of different fingerings: you just need to know a few major and minor chords to start playing your favorite songs and have fun with your friends. Then you could even learn some dominant chords, that give to your sound a bluesy feel, and you'll be all set for entertaining your audience. In the chords chart pdf you find plenty of major, minor and dominant chord diagrams.
Major chords have a bright and happy sound. They are composed of the root, the major third and the fifth. Of course, you don't have to know the chords theory to play these shapes, simply learn these charts and start rocking!
Diagrams legend: in the chart, the fretboard is shown vertically, with the thickest string (E low string) on the left. Again on the left, fret numbers are shown. At the top of the diagrams, the string can have an X or a 0. The X tells you to mute the string, while the 0 tells you to play open, without pressing any fret. The numbers on the frets, surrounded by a circle, show you the finger to use: 1 index, 2 medium, 3 ring, 4 pinky.
On the contrary, minor chords have a sad and melancholy sound. They are used a lot in love and romantic songs, for the particular feeling they create. A minor chord is composed of the root, the minor third and the perfect fifth.
Dominant chords are similar to major chords, but with a minor seventh added. Their sound is bluesy, all the blues tunes have dominant chords inside. You should learn this kind of chord as they are really important in songs.
A dominant seventh chord is composed by the root, the major third, perfect fifth and minor seventh. Blues progressions use dominant chords all the time, for example, try this basic blues progression: C7 | C7 | F7 | G7.
Usually, the first chord shapes we learn have some open strings, because they are easier to play. "Open strings" means that one or more strings are played without pressing any fret. For example, the E minor chord has the E (lowest), G, B and E (highest) string open.
There exists another way of fingering chords, that uses bar chords (also called barrè). Usually, bar chords don't have any open strings, they are more difficult to play because require more finger strength and flexibility.
But bar chords are really useful because they are movable. As they don't use any open strings, you can move the shape up and down the fretboard and play different chords. Actually, by learning 1 bar chord shape you can play 12 different chords! (1 for each fret)
If you memorize these movable shapes, you'll can play almost any chord, by placing the chord-shape with the root on the fret that corresponds to the name of the chord you want to play.
In the diagrams, the root note is marked with a yellow circle. For example, the movable shape of a dominant seventh chord, is the first figure in the following diagram:
If you want to play a F7 chord, you have to place the root (in yellow) on the 8th fret of the A string (that indeed is a F note), see the second figure. With the same logic, if you want to play a G7, you have to place the root on the 10th fret of the A string (indeed a G note), as shown in the third figure.
When learning guitar chords, we have to deal with 2 different aspects: fingers flexibility and strength, and memorization.
In the beginning, playing chords is not easy. There will be string buzzes or fingers that can't reach a fret. Here are some tips for helping you practicing your chords:
- Practice exercises for finger agility daily. It could be the classic 1-2-3-4, or simply stretching. Even if it feels not easy, try to use the pinkie as much as possible, it will be helpful for more advanced fingerings.
- To press a fret, always try to use the tip of your finger. Ideally, you want your finger to be as much as possible perpendicular to the fretboard.
- Be sure to be proper warmed-up before stretching fingers
Memorizing chord fingerings it's a mix of brain work and muscle memory. We have to arrive at a point at which we don't need to think about where to place fingers, but automatically our left-hand knows where to go. This is the so-called "muscle memory" and can be gained only with time and practice. Here's a small trick that will help you learn chords new shapes faster:
- Place your fingers on the fretboard in the chord fingering position
- Press a little bit more than needed
- Hold the position for 20 seconds.
- Release the force
- Pause for 10 seconds
- Press again for other 20 seconds.
- Do this for 5 times
- Your fingers will memorize the new chord in no time!
Hope you'll find this guitar chords diagram pdf useful, remember that you don't have to know hundreds of chord shapes to have fun with your guitar. Learn a couple of chords every day, apply them by playing your favorite songs, and soon you'll find yourself a true chord master! For more resources on guitar chords and songs, have a look at the related tutorials below.
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