Reading Chord Charts and Diagrams

 Ancient hieroglyhs? 

Ancient hieroglyhs? 

Intro

Chord charts/diagrams are a super useful way to figure out how to play songs/specific chords in a quick manner. People create and download chord charts to their favourite tunes every single day and they are a popular format for some of the jazz books that teach you Jazz standards.

Chord Charts

The humble chord chart allows a guitarist to play a simple version of a song quickly and easily, so understanding them is paramount if you want to play with other musicians without prior preparation. Today, we'll learn how to read them.

Chord Diagrams like these are relatively straightfoward, once you understand the concept behind them. Turning them on their side might make it a little easier to view them, as that is what the guitar neck will look like when you are holding it.

Diagram Examples

The strings go from the low E to the high E string from left to right, using black dots to represent single fingers, and bars to represent stopping more than one string with one finger (barrés)

If the chord is to be played in a non open position, there will be a number to the left of the diagram showing where to play the chord. A number 7 at the side of the neck for example starts the chord diagram on the 7th fret.

 The thick black bar shows that this chord needs one finger across multiple strings to play.

The thick black bar shows that this chord needs one finger across multiple strings to play.

 This chord would require two fingers to bar multiple frets.

This chord would require two fingers to bar multiple frets.

Now You Can Read!

Once you've got your head around the bar and positioning of the chords - you'll be able to read chord charts and that can open up a world of choices for things to learn.

If you need any further help with theory or playing - I'm always looking for students both in person and online. Contact me and we can get started!