How to Play Guitar Chords
If you have not done so already, before reading this article I recommend you read
Scales’. That article gives you the basic theory behind
chords and this article will tell you how to put that into practice on your guitar. If you want to be a
guitarist it is essential you learn how to play guitar chords. They are the basis of much of the music played
on the guitar. They are what gives that rich melodic sound familiar with the
While playing chords may not on the surface seem as impressive as fancy guitar
solos and riffs, all accomplished lead guitar players will be expert at playing guitar chords. Basically if you
learn how to play guitar chords you on your own can produce a very pleasant tune. If you can sing as well, then
you can give a performance. Bob Dylan wasn’t known for blistering guitar solos but he played to
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Chords are produced by strumming at least three strings simultaneously and
whilst there are many chords that can be produced on the guitar, there are five basic chord patterns that you
should learn the major and minor versions of. These are C, A, G, E and D and this is often referred to as the
‘CAGED’ system. Below you will see some chord charts which will teach you the CAGED system. This will provide a
very sound basis for your further development.
First you must learn to read the chord chart and this diagram shows you how we
will represent the frets and the strings.
On the chord diagram we will place numbers
which will show you what finger you should place on what fret. Your fingers are numbered as number 1 being the
index finger through to number 4 being your small finger (pinkie).
So let’s look at the first one, C major:
This diagram shows that your first finger frets the B string over the first fret, your second
finger frets the D string over the second fret and your third finger frets the A string over the third fret. The
X on the first E string indicates you do not strum this string and an O indicates that the string is open i.e.
it is not fretted. This convention will be used from here on in for the major and minor CAGED system to show you
how to learn how to play guitar chords.