How to Use a Chord Chart to Learn Guitar

major chords chart guitar

A chord chart presents you with the names and notes for multiple chords, along with finger numbers and notes for each. Sometimes there may also be “X’s and O’s” above one or more vertical lines (no it’s not Tic-Tac-Toe!); when this occurs the “x” represents strings to be muted when playing the chord.

Chords can be formed using a pattern of one, skip, two. For instance, C major is comprised of intervals C – D – E.


Scales are composed of groups of notes that combine to form a key. Major and minor scales are two popular choices, each offering different tones and moods; choosing which scale to play can make or break an entire song!

To understand scales on guitar, one must comprehend intervals. These are distances between adjacent notes on the fretboard; one whole step corresponds to two frets, or half a note.

An effective way of learning scales is using a fingerboard diagram and tabs. Each string features numbers which correspond with those circled in a scale diagram, so you can see which finger should play on which fret.

Each number represents one finger’s position on the fingerboard; 1 = index finger, 2 = middle finger and 3 = ring finger. Chords built on one or more degrees of a scale – such as first, fourth and fifth degrees of C Major Scale are major chords – are known as major chords.


Triads are one of the simplest chords in music, consisting of only three notes. Triads serve as the building blocks of other chords and must be stacked in intervals of thirds; any three-note combination that doesn’t adhere to this rule doesn’t count as a triad and instead falls under another category such as dyads or power chords.

There are four types of triads: major, minor, diminished and augmented. Their qualities can be identified by examining intervals between their root note and third chord and fifth chord respectively.

Major triads consist of three notes – the lowest note is called the root, middle note third and highest note fifth – played over four frets on an instrument or fretboard. Triads may be moved around on the fretboard in order to create chords of similar quality.

For best results, start by picking out a major triad shape and learning it by playing each of its notes: root, third and fifth. As you go up and down the fretboard calling out each chord as it passes.


Chords are an essential element of learning any musical instrument. Comprised of groups of notes stacked together into chords that produce different tones (major and minor chords, for instance), choosing the ideal ones can convey various emotions.

As part of their instruction for learning these shapes, most guitar chord diagrams provide fingerings for every string and fret. A circled number indicates which left hand fingers should be used on that string and fret, while an “X” on a chord chart signifies you should avoid playing it altogether.

Keep in mind that chords composed of more than three notes may include multiple instances of each note on the fretboard, making learning complex chords more daunting at first. Therefore, it may be easier to start off learning basic triad shapes before gradually progressing toward more intricate ones. Reading chord charts might feel intimidating at first but will quickly become second nature with practice.


Chords are composed of intervals, or distances between musical notes. Intervals can either be major or minor in size and frequency, with thirds and fifths typically being thirds and fifths. When strung together into chords such as C Major 7 – consisting of root note C, E (major third up from C), G (perfect fifth from C), and B (major seventh from E), you get C Major 7.

Musical intervals can be described by counting the number of staff positions or scale degrees between its two endpoints, for instance the one from C to D is called both a second and tenth because C is one staff position or scale step higher than D.

Intervals can also be classified based on their quality, or consonance/dissonance. Consonant intervals include the unison, second, fourth and octave; all other intervals can either be minor or major – the second can even be altered as required.