Getting Comfortable With Guitar Chords

Chords form the backbone of most songs, so understanding these shapes will provide you with the foundation needed to learn new songs more easily.

A chord is made up of at least three notes that combine to produce the sound you are seeking. Each note is separated by what’s known as an interval.


A chord is the combination of notes that produce musical sound. Guitarists use chords to play songs, so learning some basic ones will get you started on your musical journey. Chords are formed using scales; depending on their shape depending on which scale it uses – for instance a C Major chord comprises three notes from this scale; these being first, third and fifth notes respectively.

Addition of additional extension notes can dramatically alter the tone and add suspense to your music. A sus4 chord, for instance, replaces the fifth note in either major or minor chord with an extra 4th, creating a chord that sounds more suspenseful and tension-filled.

Chord diagrams are an effective way of learning chord names and how to play them. Vertical lines represent strings while horizontal ones indicate frets. An x above any string indicates you shouldn’t play it while an open string signifies it should be played openly; numbers on fretboard indicate which finger you should use (1 = index, 2= middle finger etc).


Scales form the backbone of melody in music theory, as they’re composed from groups of notes drawn from one scale. Chords also rely heavily on scales.

Guitars provide us with much greater versatility than woodwinds and brass instruments, which only play one note at a time. By taking advantage of all six strings to produce chords simultaneously, guitarists offer us many more musical possibilities!

These lessons have covered open chords, which are meant to be accessible for beginners. No bar chords or other complex finger positions are needed – simply move your fingers from shape to shape along the neck.

As your understanding of scales progresses, you may wish to explore some of the more intricate scales used in songs. These may feature different intervals than the major pentatonic scales we’ve covered here and may sound very different indeed.


Beginner guitarists may find several chords easily learnable in different keys, particularly G which includes all C major scale chords (including minor). Common and straightforward Em, D, and A chords can be found in many songs like Green Day’s Boulevard of Broken Dreams in Fm key.

Beginners often find it challenging to master chords requiring bar chord finger positions, so learning as many open position chords as possible is essential for beginners. Music often features key changes; learning a few common chords in every key will enable you to play music in any key!

Extension chords provide advanced players with extra notes for creating complex triads, adding greater flavor and complexity to basic chord structures. Extending basic triads with extra notes opens up new avenues of songwriting – they offer fresh ideas!


Chords are the foundation of music, and mastering them before learning advanced chord progressions is necessary for making music. When learning guitar chords, strumming patterns found in songs you already know well can help to show how chords are used within songs. Strum open strings between chords to stay in rhythm while using your bass notes as accompaniment or use bass notes of your guitar for acoustic accompaniment.

Each chord consists of three or more notes linked by intervals that work in unison to produce its distinctive sound, known as triads. Major triads tend to produce upbeat and happy tones, whereas minor ones have melancholic and sad undertones. Chord charts illustrate what chord shapes can be played on each string on your fretboard and which strings need attention or not be played – these charts will often include X’s and O’s that indicate which notes should or shouldn’t be played when making your selections from multiple chord charts!