Learn Guitar Chords

Author: classic-guitars  //  Category: Uncategorized
If you are brand new to playing guitar, then guitar chords are one of the easiest things to learn. All you really need is a good reference, like a chord dictionary, in order to learn and memorize the shape of any chord you want.

This article focuses on helping you make sense of the different chord types you’re likely to come across, and should give you an edge when you’re ready to learn some of the music theory involved in chord construction.

So, let’s begin by taking the mystery out of some chord-related jargon you’ll likely come across. We’ll start first with the basic definition of a chord.


The simplest type of chord is created from 3 (usually distinct) notes played simultaneously. An F-major chord, for example, consists of the notes F, A and C. All of the fundamental major and minor chords, can be created with just 3 notes.


A chord isn’t limited to just 3 notes, nor is it necessary for every note to be unique. For example, if you play F-major as a ‘Barre’ chord you will have the following pattern of 6 notes: F-C-F-A-C-F.

In theory, you could have a chord with more notes than you have fingers!

The most complex chords are usually created by stacking intervals, adding or suspending tones and creating inversions. For example, a D-major9#11 is built by adding the 7th, 9th and 11th tones of the D-major scale on top of a D-major chord.

You might wonder how this is possible when there are only 8 notes within the scale. What’s happening is that the 9th and 11th notes are actually just repeated notes, started from the beginning of the scale. In this case, the 9th note is ‘E’ and the 11th note is ‘G’.

Some terms to memorize: augmented (aug), suspended (sus), diminished (dim), add, subtract(-).


Power chords are technically not chords in the strictest sense because they consist of only two notes. Power chords are actually intervals of what’s referred to as ‘bare fifths’. The easiest place to play them is on the bottom (low) strings of the guitar.

In order to create a ‘bare fifth’ interval, all you have to do is drop the “third” from a basic chord, and just play the root note with the dominant fifth. An A-major power chord, for example, is simply the notes A and E.

Remember the song “Jessie’s Girl”, by Rick Springfield? The main riff of the song is a progression of power chords. Try playing it in D-major using the following progression of fifths starting from the 5th fret position: D/A, A/E, B/E, G/D, A/E, D/A.

And that’s it for this tutorial. If and when you want to learn more about how to create your own chords, I recommend picking up a good theory book that teaches relationships between scales, chords and modes.

By: Andreas Wahlstedt

About the Author:

Andreas Wahlstedt is committed to learn ordinary people play guitar.
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