How To Read Guitar Chords: Knowing how to read and use guitar chord diagrams is really of extreme importance for every guitar player regardless if you are still a newbie, or if you are already in line with famous guitarists in the music industry. Guitar chord diagrams will help you a lot in learning those chords and putting them into rhythm – which is the way to becoming one of the best and competent guitar player ever!
What is this Guitar Chord Diagram all about?
This is basically the graphical representation of a single guitar chord and is also known as a “chord box”. It looks like a rectangular box that will show you how to play the chord. It is actually a representation of your guitar’s fret board showing you the correct position of your fingers and which strings to strike in order to play it. Isn’t it amazing how much useful information is being crammed into a tiny package?
Reading the Chord Diagram
There are different variations of the styles and formats of chord diagrams, but all those kinds have these common essentials:
- Six lines that represent the strings of the guitar. Depending on the style of the chord box, the lines may fill up the page vertically, which is the most common, or it could also run across the page horizontally.
- For vertical presentations, the leftmost string represents the low E, or the thickest string; and the string on the rightmost side is the high E, or the thinnest string.
- Series of lines going across the string lines forming a right angle are the frets.
- The string and fret lines go together forming a grid which is the guitar fret board.
- Circles or dots on the grid represent which strings to press and which fret to place them on.
With only those minute things in a chord diagram, you can already play any guitar chord. There is no need for you to read musical notation or even guitar tablatures to understand what the diagram is telling you.
Additional features of the chord diagrams that even tell you more valuable information include:
- The thickest, topmost line represents the guitar nut or the end of the neck.
- The “x” symbol above the nut line means that you don’t need to play the string.
- The “o” symbol also above the nut line means the string is played openly, no parts pressed on.
- Numbers 1 to 4 on the dots or circles indicate the finger to use in that string. That is, 1=the index finger, and 4=the little finger.
- Lines or bars running across two or more strings represent a “Barre Chord”, in which one finger presses a multiple of strings.
Helpful Tips on Reading Chord Diagrams
- This is the most powerful tool for learning and innovating your guitar play, so use it well!
- Different individual chord diagrams can be combined to form you own chart. This will help you learn about the basic chords, chord families and sequences, and songs.
- Utilize the internet as your source of further information to learn about guitar chord diagrams and chord charts.
Now that you know how to read chord diagrams, you are a step closer to playing the guitar. Good luck!