How to read chord diagrams

This lesson shows you how to read chord diagrams. These are found in Guitar Books or online and show you where to put your fingers, so they're pretty important!

To play this YouTube video you must enable video cookies - more info. Enable Video Cookies

E chord example

Chord boxes show us where to put our fingers for each chord. Here is the chord box for the E Chord (E major).How to read chords

If you are left handed, this diagram is written back to front. Therefore, chord diagrams can be written this way round too so they cater to left and right handed people evenly. It is the double line, the nut, which shows you where the end of the guitar is!

e chord for lefties

A chord example

As this chord is called an A, we need the A string to be the lowest that is heard. Therefore the thickest E has an X on it and shouldn't be played, so miss that out when you strum.

Open string names

You’ll need to know the names of the open strings.

You’ll need to know the names of the open strings. Using a mnemonic can help you remember them. For example; Elephants And Donkeys Grow Big Ears to remember E A D G B E (thickest to thinnest!)

Barre chord example

'Barring' is where we use your first finger as a capo. This is very tricky and you'll want to learn all the open chord shapes first (beginners course levels 1 to 7!)  Here is the B minor (Bm) barre chordbmin