Open chords

The open chords (a.k.a. open position chords) are the most common chords in several styles, including the so-called singer-songwriter genre. They are known as open chords because some of the strings are played without a finger placed on them.


  • C chord diagram


  • D6 chord diagram


  • Em chord diagram


  • Fmaj7 chord diagram


  • G chord diagram


  • Gmaj7 chord diagram


  • Am7 chord diagram


  • A7 chord diagram

Chord progressions

Some suggestion of possible progressions using the chords illustrated on the page:

C – Fmaj7 – G – C

G – D6 – Em – A7 – G

Em – C – G – Am7 


Open chords refer to the way a chord is constructed, by including open strings and is often used to describe a chord that is not a barre chord. There is no accurate term to otherwise describe a chord that is not open and not a barre chord (closed chord as a term in this case is somewhat problematic).

An open chord can be a C or it can be a C7 or it can be a Cadd9. You can in most cases play a certain chord as a barre or as an open chord, the difference is the sound (and the shape of course).

Open chords work very well on a steel-string acoustic guitar or an electric guitar with clean sound from the amplifier. The tones ring out nice and have a pleasant crispy sound.

The drawback with open chords is that some of them has quite difficult fingerings. From the link list above you can choose from notes C - D - E - F - G - A - B whereas C# (or Db), D#, F#, G# and A# are missing. This is because these chords in many cases doesn't have natural fingerings in the standard tuning and because of that often is played as barre chords or with a capo.

If you want to know more about the theory regarding chords, read What is a chord?