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Here follows a list of basic guitar chords that every guitarist needs to know.

To make it easy for


you to see the guitar chord fingering, I put the guitar chord pictures next to the charts. Finger the
chords with the top of your fingers and look out you don't touch adjacent strings.
A little bit about guitar chord names:
chords are named according to letters going from A to G
an 'm' after a letter means that the chord is a minor chord
a '7' after the letter means that the chord is a dominant chord
a letter without 'm' or '7' means that the chord is a major chord

To find out what the difference is between major, minor and dominant you should read the guitar
music theory tutorial.
Here's the list of basic guitar chords:















The F chord is a bit of a special case: the top 2 notes are fretted with one finger (the index
finger).
This is one of the hardest chords to play for the beginner, but you'll soon get the hang of it (if
you practice enough).











After you played these basic guitar chords some times I suggest you do the following:
1. Print out this free printable guitar chord chart. That page also explains the difficulties you
might encounter and what to do with your right hand.
2. Go to the next page and start practicing some guitar songs that only make use of the
beginner guitar chords learned on this page.
Here are some basic guitar song chords. They all use the chords we covered in the basic
guitar chords tutorial (I suggest you print the basic guitar chord chart sheet to keep an easy
reference).
Chords are placed between two vertical lines like this: | |

This is called a bar. Each bar has 4 counts. If there are 2 chords in 1 bar then each has a
duration of 2 counts. Bars without a chord mean that the previous chord is repeated.
2 or more guitar chords played in succession we call a guitar chord progression.
Here are some popular guitar chord progressions:
Basic 12-bar blues chords
|E7 |A7 |E7 | |
|A7 | |E7 | |
|B7 |A7 |E7 |B7 |

House of the Rising Sun (The Animals/trad.)
Click here for the guitar tabs of House of the Rising Sun (+ video and guitar chord chart).
Note: this song is in 6/8 what means that every bar lasts 6 counts.
|Am |C |D |F |
|Am |C |E | |
|Am |C |D |F |
|Am |E |Am | |

Drive On (Johny Cash)
|E | |A |B7 |
|B7 | |E |B7 E |

Papa Loves Mama (Brooks Garth)
|E | |A | |
|B7 | |C |B7 |

Hotel California (The eagles)
|Am | |E | |
|G | |D | |
|F | |C | |
|Dm | |E |
|
chorus:

|F | |C | |
|Dm | |Am | |
|F | |C | |
|Dm | |E | |

Suzie Q (Creedence Clearwater Revival)
|E | | | |
|A |C7 B7 |E | |

Once you know how to play these basic guitar song chords I suggest you take a step further
and dive into frustration and dispair (just kidding) trying to learn how to play bar chords.


Bar chords are called the way they are because you 'bar' all the strings at one fret with your index
finger. When doing this your finger replaces the nut of the guitar. Taking all the frets with one
finger is not an easy thing to do. I wish I could offer you a bar chords made easy solution, but I'm
afraid I can't. You have to give this some time and practice. I've had a few students who could
fret guitar bar chords almost perfectly within first week they started learning them, but for most
beginning guitar players it takes a bit longer. Once you're able to play them you wonder what
was so difficult about it (but I guess that's the case with most of the things you learn).
Have a look at this guitar bar chord picture and the chord diagram for a better understanding:

Here are the 2 most important types of guitar bar chords:
Guitar bar chords derived from the chord of E. This kind of chord has it's bass note on the
E string. All strings are played.
Guitar bar chords derived from the chord of A. This kind of chord has it's bass note on
the A string. The E string is not played.
Let's start with the first type: bar chords derived from the E chord.
Here's the guitar diagram and guitar chord picture for the E chord:

To make a bar chord out of the E chord, we need to change the fingering. Instead of fretting the
chord with finger 1, 2 and 3 we're going to fret it with finger 2, 3 and 4 like you can see on the
following picture:

The bass note or 1 of this chord is the open string E (if the 1 in this sentence sounds like Chinese
to you, you'd better read the guitar music theory tutorial). Now slide all the notes you are fretting
(all 3 of them) one fret higher on the neck. Then 'bar' all the strings on the first fret with your
index finger. If you have followed my explanation correctly it should look something like this:

The bass note of the chord is on the first fret of the E string: the note F. From low to high these
are the notes in the chord: F C F A C F or 1 5 1 3 5 1. This chord is an F. By sliding one fret up
from the E chord we made an F chord out of it.
Play the strings 1 by 1. You'll notice that not all strings sound clear and some strings don't have
any sound at all. There's nothing wrong with your fingers, this is a difficult thing to do but
you'll soon get the hang of it if you practice enough. The F chord is also the most difficult bar
chord because the frets are so wide at the beginning of the guitar neck. Try the same chord
higher on the neck and it will be easier. Experiment with the position of your thumb and with the
way you put pressure on the strings.
Some things you need to know before we go any further:
One fret on the guitar equals a half step.
All notes in the C major scale are 2 half steps apart from each other, except between E &
F (1 half step) and B & C (also 1 half note).
Knowing this you can find every major chord there is. Starting from the F chord slide up 2 frets
(so you are on the 3rd fret now). The chord you are fingering now is the G chord. Slide 2 more
frets to the 5th fret and you have An A chord. 2 more frets and you're on a B chord. Now slide 1
fret up (remember, between b/c and e/f only 1 half step) and you're on the C chord. 2 frets further
(the 10th) gives us a D chord. 2 frets and we have an E chord again (on the 12th fret).
If you slide 1 fret up from the F chord we have an F# or Gb (see guitar music theory for more
about # and b). The same goes for the other #'s and b's.
The guitar neck with the notes of the E string:

Have a look at the guitar bar chord charts for all the major chords or try the guitar chord finder.
'Wild Thing', as performed by 'The Troggs' is a good song to practice major guitar bar chords.
Here's the chord progression:
|E A |B A |

Our starting point was the E chord, but you can also start from an Em chord:

Adjust the chord fingering like we did before with the E and slide this chord 1 fret higher on the
neck. Then put your index finger to bar the first fret and we get an Fm chord:

Now you can also find all minor chords using the same system as above.
The same goes if you take E7 as your starting point:

Adjust the chord fingering and slide one fret higher to get F7:

Slide up further for every dominant 7 chord possible.
The bar chords we covered until now all have their bass note on the low E-string. Another type
of bar chords have their bass note on the A string, so please follow me to page 2 of the wonderful
world of guitar bar chords.
Guitar bar chords that have their bass note on the A string work in the same way as the bar
chords with the root on the E string. There's one difference: don't play the E string because it is
not part of the chord and it will not sound good most of the times.
The major bar chords start from the A chord:

Now slide all the notes of the chord two frets higher on the neck. Then 'bar' all the strings on the
second fret with your index finger. If you have followed my explanation correctly it should look
something like this:

The A chord becomes a B chord.
This is not a very easy chord to take in the beginning.
An alternative way of fretting this chord is using the little finger instead of fingers 2, 3 and 4. It
depends a bit on the shape of your fingers if this alternative fretting works or not.
Here's the guitar chord picture and diagram:

The difficulty with this chord voicing is the highest E string. You have to bent your little finger a
bit to allow the high E to sound.
Like before, you can slide this chord up and down the guitar neck. Just remember there's always
2 half steps between the scale tones, except between E-F and B-C (1 half step).
The guitar neck with the notes of the A string:

Now we used the A major chord, but like before we can also use the minor chord:

Change the chord fingering like we did with the E chord on the previous page so you're index
finger becomes available. This chord becomes a Bm guitar bar chord if we slide it up 2 frets and
add the 'bar':

Again, don't play the low E string.

If we slide the Bm chord 1 fret up we get a Cm chord, 2 frets more and it's a Dm chord, ...
Now let's start from the A7 chord:

Again, change the fingering to liberate your index finger, slide it 2 frets up and add the 'bar':

The result is a B7 guitar bar chord.
You can also do this with other chords like major7, minor7, major 9. Experiment and think
logical and most important: don't get frustrated trying to figure guitar bar chords out, it takes
some time.
Now, learn to play a song with bar chords, like Wild Thing
Guitar power chords are used extensively in all forms of rock music. They consist only of the 1,
5 and possibly another 1 an octave higher. Power chords are in fact the 2 or 3 bottom strings of
guitar bar chords, but they are much easier to play compared to bar chords.
Most of the time power chords are used with distortion.
Let's start with 2 note power chords with the root on the E string:

This chord is an E power chord or E5. The 2 note power chord uses only the root and the fifth (E
and B in this case).
Play only the 2 lowest strings and use only down strokes (strum the strings with your right hand
going down from the fat E).
If we slide this power chord 1 fret further, like we did with the bar chords, we get an F power
chord:

If we go 2 frets further from here we get a G power chord:

I think you got the picture by now. Here's the guitar neck with all the notes from the E string:

Besides 2 note guitar power chords there are also 3 note power chords. They use the root, fifth
and again the root but one octave higher and they look like this:

The same principle as with bar chords and 2 note power chords goes for 3 note power chords:
slide it up the neck to get other chords.
If we slide 1 fret further we get an F power chord:

And this goes on, look at the guitar neck above for reference.
There's an alternative way to fret 3 note power chords: instead of using finger 3 and 4, use your
little finger to fret 2 strings at once.
This example is an F power chord fretted in the alternative way:

Let's have a look at 2 note power chords with the root on the A string:

Play only strings 4 and 5, don't play the low E and other open strings.
We can slide this up 2 frets, what gives us a B power chord:

One fret further gives us a C power chord:

There are also 3 note power chord with the root on A:

Slide this up and we have a B:

And ...
Here's the guitar neck with all the notes of the A string for easy reference:

That was it, now plug in you axe, turn on the distortion, turn that volume up and start banging
those guitar power chords!


Advanced Guitar Chords

Before you move on to the more advanced guitar chords, be sure you master the basic guitar
chords, guitar bar chords and the guitar music theory.
Tutorials:
Jazz Guitar Chords
Jazz Guitar Chords with Extensions
Tutorials to come:
Shell Chords
Guitar Chord Inversions
Hybrid Guitar Chords
Guitar Chords with 2 and b2 intervals
Guitar Chords in Fourths
Jazz Guitar Chords
Seventh guitar chords are chords that are used the most in jazz music and some pop music, that's
why I'll call them jazz guitar chords here, even though they can be used in a wide variety of
musical styles. If you went through the guitar music theory pages you know that seventh chords
consist of 4 notes.
I'll summarize the chord formula's for you:
major 7: 1 3 5 7
dominant 7: 1 3 5 b7
minor 7: 1 b3 5 b7
minor/major 7: 1 b3 5 7
half diminished 7: 1 b3 b5 b7
diminished 7: 1 b3 b5 bb7
Let's see how jazz guitar chords look on the guitar neck:

Major Jazz Guitar Chords
We take the A chord as our starting point:

formula: 1 3 5
notes: A C# E
We want this chord to become a major 7 chord so we add the seventh note:
formula: 1 3 5 7
notes: A C# E G#
We'll exchange the root on the 3rd string for the 7 and that looks like this:
-->

Minor Jazz Guitar Chords
Our starting point now is the Amaj7 chord and now we want the chord to become a minor 7
chord.
formula: 1 3 5 7 --> 1 b3 5 b7
notes: A C# E G# --> A C E G
So we have to go from the C# to a C and from a G# to a G:
-->

Dominant Jazz Guitar Chords
Let's build an A7 chord out of the Am7 chord.
formula: 1 b3 5 b7 --> 1 3 5 b7
notes: A C E G --> A C# E G
We'll have to raise the 3rd note to make the chord dominant:
-->

Minor 7b5 Jazz Guitar Chords
We start again from the Am7 chord and we go to an Am7b5 this time.
formula: 1 b3 5 b7 --> 1 b3 b5 b7
notes: A C E G --> A C Eb G
We'll have to lower the 5th:
-->
Don't play the open high E string, it's a natural 5.

Minor/Major 7 Jazz Guitar Chords
And we start again from the Am7 chord, this time to get an Am/maj7 chord.
formula: 1 b3 5 b7 --> 1 b3 5 7
notes: A C E G --> A C E G#
We have to raise the 7:
-->

Diminished 7 Jazz Guitar Chords
To obtain an A diminished chord we start from a half diminished chord.
formula: 1 b3 b5 b7 --> 1 b3 b5 bb7
notes: A C Eb G --> A C Eb Gb
We have to lower the G, but because the G is an open string in our m7b5 voicing we place the
Gb on the high E string and put the root on the G string:
-->
You can apply this principle to all guitar chord voicings on the guitar. Find out the notes of your
voicing an adapt them to the chord formula's. In the beginning this goes a bit slow, but after a
while you don't have to think about it anymore.
The next step is putting extensions in your guitar chords.
Jazz Guitar Chords w Extensions
Extensions add color and interest to a guitar chord. Extensions are those note of the scale that are
not chord tones, so the notes in between 1, 3, 5 and 7. For more information visit guitar music
theory page 3.
Let's start with the extensions of major guitar chords:

The Extensions of Major Guitar Chords
Our starting point will be Cmaj7 on the 3rd position:

The first extension we want to add is the 9. If you followed the guitar music tutorial you know
that the 9 is in fact the second note of the scale, but an octave higher (2 + 7=9). When we add the
2 to a chord we don't call it for example the guitar chord D2, but D9.
The 9 of C is a D. On the B string we could change the E to a D, but that would leave us a chord
without the 3, which is an important note. So we have to change the voicing to be able to add the
2 and still have the 3 and it goes like this:

To this chord we can add another extension: the 6. Most of the time when a 6 is added to a chord
the 7 is omitted because they get in each other's way. So we change the 7 of the above guitar
chord to a 6 and that gives us a C6,9:

That's it for the major chords, because the 11 is an avoid note (a note that doesn't sound good) for
major chords.

The Extensions of Minor Guitar Chords
Our starting point is this Cm7 chord:

We want to make it a Cm9, so we change the Eb for a D:

To this chord we can add a 6:

or an 11:


The Extensions of Dominant Guitar Chords
The starting point is this C7 voicing:

We can add a 9:

and a 13:

We can also add altered extensions (tensions from the altered scale):
Adding the #9 gives us the famous Jimi Hendrix chord:

We can also add a b9:

The 4 is not really an extension for dominant chords. Adding the 4 makes the chord a sus chord.
The sus chord functions as a delay to dominant chords and I'm sure you know the sound of it
from disco music.
Here's a typical C9sus4 chord: