Video Instruction

How To Read Guitar Chord Charts Part 2

This is part 2 to our reading guitar chord charts post.  Guitar chord charts (like the one seen in the image above) are often found in guitar music, like guitar tablature (a.k.a. tabs).  The information that’s communicated in chord charts is actually different than what you’d see in guitar tabs though.

Chord charts represent  the neck of the guitar, and the vertical lines you see represent each string.  The low E string is the thickest on the left, followed by the A, D, G, B, and high E string on the right.

Chord charts may be a little challenging to understand at first, but once you grasp how they work you’ll be good to go.

Here are the basics…

1) Horizontal lines represent the metal frets on the neck of the guitar

2)  The top line of the chord chart will often be bolded (or it may be a double line) to represent the nut if the chord chart is depicting the first few frets on the guitar.

3) If the chord chart is depicting frets higher on the fretboard, the top line will not be bolded and fret numbers will be shown so you can understand which fret chord notes should be played.

4) The large black dots on the guitar chord chart represent the strings and frets that should be held down by the fretting hand (this is often your left hand if you are right handed).

5)  The numbers that may be displayed beside the black dots show you which frets to play.

6)  Some charts indicate which fingers should be used to hold down each note

7) You’ll often see some X and O symbols over strings which tell you to either play the note open “O” or don’t play it at all “X” Above the top horizontal line on the chord chart

left-hand-frettinga) Your index finger is your first finger “1”

b) Your middle finger is your second finger “2”

c) Your ring finger is finger “3”

d) Your pinky finger is your “4” finger

e)  Your thumb is referred to as “T”

Once you get a good handle on reading chord charts, this can help you play or learn your favorite songs easier and faster.


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