Guitar Chords Chart – A Great Tool For Beginners

guitar chords chart

Aspiring guitarists may find guitar chord charts intimidating and complicated. Yet these charts can be an invaluable resource to beginners looking to start playing the instrument.

A guitar chord chart uses numbers to indicate which fingers should be used to fret each string; an “X” indicates to avoid or muted that string while “O”s indicate you should strum open that particular string.


A chord chart is a graphic representation of the fretboard on a guitar, showing each horizontal line representing one string while each vertical line represents frets. These charts usually contain dots at correspondence points indicating which finger you should place to sound the appropriate note.

The dots on a chart are numbered according to your index finger as 1; next come middle finger 2, 3, 4, 5 and pinky (T). There may also be Xs or Os at the top of the chart to indicate which fingers should play on each string.

As an example, the red circled number 1 indicates that your index finger should be placed on the first fret of the D string; similarly, green circled number 2 signifies placing middle finger on second fret of G string etc.


Frets are points where your fingertips can strike the string to produce sound that represents notes. Chord diagrams and TABs contain fret markers which indicate where fingers should be placed on a guitar to form certain chord shapes.

As you read a chord chart with fret markers, there are a few things you need to remember when reading fret markers. First of all, the notes played on each fret are repeated an octave higher on the next higher fret; so if you play one note on, say, the third fret of the fifth string, it will sound exactly the same on eighth fret of seventh string if played both times.

Fret charts represent fingerings for every string. A finger number 1 represents your index finger, 2 represents middle finger, and 3 stands for ring finger. Some strings may feature an “X”, which signifies they should be muted or skipped when strumming a chord.


When placing fingers on frets, the sound should come from closer to the tip of each finger so as to produce an authentic sound. Furthermore, keeping fingers arched so as not to hit other strings or muffle the sound of what note is being played is equally as essential.

Chord diagrams often display numbers alongside the frets you must press with your fingers, known as fingerings, that indicate which fingers should be used when fretting (index finger, middle finger, ring finger and pinky). Fingerings usually correspond with index finger 1 being used, middle finger 2 and so forth until 4 indicates where pinky (T means playing the string with thumb) should go.

On a guitar chords chart, an X is often placed above the nut mark to indicate that one or more strings should not be picked or strung; an O may indicate open tuning of that string.


A chord chart (also called guitar tab or chord diagram) may resemble an offbeat Tic-Tac-Toe board at first glance; however, this diagram actually serves as a shorthand method for placing fingers on a fretboard. The thick line at the top represents the nut and string while horizontal lines run from left to right to represent frets.

Your eyes might notice some markings above the nut line that serve a similar function to dots on sheet music: an “X” indicates you should muffle or not play that string; an “O” tells you to leave that particular string open without pressing on it with fretting fingers.

Notes are typically written above a chord chart to explain which fingerings to use for each chord type, for instance a C major bar chord requires you to hold down four strings with your index finger while a G minor bar chord only needs the first finger – these explanations can be particularly beneficial for beginners guitarists.