Guitar chords - a collection of chords and tips

Guitar chord is the site for you who want to learn your first guitar chords or wish to discover new ones. You will furthermore find the theory of the chords and put in context with chord progressions and songs so you in an instant can begin to practice what you learn. All the theoretical substance has been minimized and you are given straightforward facts that helps you to get into the guitar playing right away.

What is a guitar chord?

Guitar chords are groups of notes and these deliver harmony when played together. Let’s look at the C major chord, which includes the notes C, E and G.

guitar chord diagram
C Major chord

In this specific C chord (a chord can be played in many ways as the fretboard of the guitar let us find the constellations of the same notes in several positions), there’re five notes played together: C, E, G (open string), C and E (open string). On the guitar, we sometimes play the same note twice but in different octaves to get a richer sound in a chord.

A common way to separate guitar chords is in major and minor. There's a difference in sound between these: the major tends to sound cheerful or neutral as the minor has more of a sad character. Because of this, you hear more major chords in fast rock songs and lots of minor chords in ballads.

To accomplish new flavours, additional notes can be added. Such as this guitar chord:

C7 chord with notes
C7 chord

The name of this chord is C7 and if you hear some blues in it you’re completely on the spot – these kinds of chords are regularly used in the style of blues.

The C7 chord consist of the notes C, E, Bb, C and E. As you may have noticed we no longer have a G note. Due to the construction of the guitar we sometimes have to skip some less important note in a chord. The fifth note, which is G in this case, is the note that is commonly skipped in these cases. (Even on the piano, when things like this aren't forced, the fifth note are sometimes left out because it otherwise would be too much harmonic notes together with additional melody notes.)

For the C chord a B note can be added to create such a flavor and that chord are called Cmaj7 (‘maj’ stands for major).

C maj 7 chord with notes
Cmaj7 chord

By releasing the fifth string (B-string) we have got – as the picture above shows –  the following notes: C, E, G, B and C. Cmaj7 could be considered as richer in the sound than the ordinary C major. There is same numbers of tones, but less duplicates tones in Cmaj7 (one) compared to C major (two).

These kinds of chords are used in many music styles, but perhaps you associate the sound to melancholy ballads?

If we add the note D to the C chord we get yet another flavour:

Cmaj9 chord with notes
Cmaj9 chord

A Major 9 chord are for exempel used in jazz.

There are lots of them, all you really need to do is placing your fingers in a random position on the guitars fretboard and you accomplish a guitar chord. But it’s not until you do it with control and in organized form that music is being created. The guitar chords are categorized in names (e.g. C, C7) and bigger groups. Some of the more common groups are defined as follows:

On this site, you also find other groups less common, but are nevertheless often used like sus chords, slash chords and other categories.

Sharps (#) and flats (b)

One thing to be familiar with is the sharps (#) and the flats (b). If you see a chord like C#, it's spelled "C sharp". And if you see a chord like Db, it's spelled "D flat". The next thing you should know is that C# and Db is exactly the same thing. They are written differently is because the changing of keys.

Advice for the beginner

In case you have just begun playing guitar, learning some chords is a very good way to start. Try to memorize a few ones and then practice on switching between the chords.

For the intermediate guitar player

Learning a new chord is always a good way to improve as a guitar player. Look around on this site and you will find several categories. Besides that, on you also find articles and video lessons.

Some popular articles on the site:

Practice on chords – tips and tools | Movable chord shapes | Blues chords | Cool guitar techniques