Basic Open Guitar Chords

Although thousands of chord formations are possible, in reality most songs can be played using just a few chords. On each row below there are five important chords listed for each of the five most common keys. Notice that although there are 25 chord diagrams, quite a few of them are duplicates. This is because they are important chords in more than one key. Therefore there are only 17 different chords listed on this chart.

It is not necessary to memorize these chords immediately. As you learn new songs, each one will require the use of some of the chords below. At that time you should commit them to memory. If you are an absolute beginner, be patient with yourself. Learning to change chords quickly is something that takes time.

For more advanced chords and variations see the ezFolk Guitar Chord Library.

How to Read Chord Diagrams

  • The horizontal lines (left to right) represent the frets.
  • The black circles on the diagram represent the position where the string should be fretted (pressed).
  • The vertical lines (up and down) represent the six guitar strings. The 1st string (far right) is the highest pitched, and the 6th string (left) is the lowest pitched.
  • The numbers below the diagrams represent the fingers of your left hand with which you should fret (hold down) the strings. A “0” means to play a string open (not fretted). An “x” means that you should not play the string.

The fingers of your left hand are numbered as follows:

  • 1 - Index finger
  • 2 - Middle finger
  • 3 - Ring finger
  • 4 - Little finger