Open Guitar Chords For Beginners

This page’s open chords serve as the cornerstones of every beginner guitarist’s education. They’re easy to finger, providing vibrant open voicings you’ll use throughout their musical careers.

Triads are one of the simplest types of chords to construct as they contain only three notes. Triads can be created by harmonizing the first, third and fifth notes from any major scale scale to form this simple chord type.

1. C Major Triad

Major triads consist of the first, fourth and fifth scale degrees in any major key and consist of a root note with four semitone major third and a perfect fifth four semitones above it – these make up what are known as major triads.

Distance between notes is what determines whether a chord is major or minor. For instance, only three half steps separate the first two notes in a D chord, while there are four between the first and second notes of an F minor chord.

Major triads can be arranged into different vertical orders, known as inversions. For instance, the C major triad can be played in three arrangements – root position, first inversion and second inversion – in which its third note drops up an octave to create an Amaj7 sound. They can also be voiced open or closed for added variety and to give more expressive sounds to accompany certain chord progressions.

2. E Major Triad

The E Major Triad is an exquisite example of musical versatility, capable of elevating any composition with its tonal richness and expressive power. No wonder iconic tunes from different genres have prominently utilized this chord, such as John Lennon’s haunting piano composition “Imagine”, or Coldplay’s celestial atmospheric soundscape song, “A Sky Full of Stars”.

Step one in learning this triad is building it in root position using notes of the E major scale – as illustrated below with their respective note interval qualities (diminished, minor, major and perfect). Once this triad has been constructed in its root position it can then be inverted for two variations.

For the second inversion, simply lower the highest note in your chord an octave to form E (third), C (root) and G (fifth), creating what is often known as an open C major triad with its fifth in the bass (C/G). Following this same process can produce an E major open voiced triad with its seventh layered into its bass note – this time featuring E major open voiced triad chords! (E/V).

3. G Major Triad

Now that we’ve learned all three triad shapes on strings 1,2, and 3, let’s put them all together to form chords! Let’s begin with the G Major Triad; it is considered a major triad because it contains both major third and fifth tones. When learning chords it is key to memorize their shape and root note – otherwise you won’t be able to use them effectively!

G major triads can be built up and down the fretboard or across the bass string. To invert it, move its bottom note up an octave; so an A C in root position becomes C E G; in this form, its third member (the bass part) and fifth member are now situated together on opposite ends.

G Major Augmented Triad can also be enhanced. To do so, replace the major third with a minor third and create the G Major Augmented Triad chord. You can play this chord across different musical genres and styles; experimenting will help deepen your knowledge and understanding of this chord.

4. A Major Triad

Triads are chords composed of three notes – usually the first, third and fifth notes of a scale – connected by three notes called tritones. Triads can be built into chords resembling sideways triangles or barre chords; most guitar chords use them. Triads often give guitar chords their names; for instance a D major chord uses fingers 1, 2, 3 to form its shape which resembles that of a sideways D shape.

Triads can also be described in terms of intervals – for instance, a major triad contains major and minor thirds between its lowest note and middle notes and three notes above them (i.e. a major third and minor third respectively). By taking note of these intervals, you can enharmonic equivalence to create new chords: writing the root note onto a staff, drawing generic third and fifth notes above it (i.e. making a snowman). Add any accidentals needed from key signature to create new chords.