Basic Open Position Chords for Guitar

D Chord - copyright 1997, 2004 Jeffrey L Anvinson

Almost every guitar player learns a standard set of chords. These are the most common chords that are found in numerous songs. I call these chords Basic Open Position Chords. These chords are the starting spot for many beginning guitar players and are the ones found in most beginning guitar methods.

Why do I call them "Basic Open Position Chords"? First, they're basic - they are the fundamental set of chords found in many songs. Second, they use open strings - strings that are strummed but not fretted (touched). Chords that use open strings are usually said to be in open position. (Although the F chord found on this list paradoxically has no open strings, it is one of the basic chords.) Third, they are chords, consisting of three or more different letter names constructed using certain rules so as to be harmonious (see my article on triads). Put all of those characteristics together and you get the phrase Basic Open Position Chords.

Shown below are the basic set of chords that most guitar players learn first and use the most often.

(Click here to get a pdf version of the chords shown below. Please don't distribute this pdf by photocopying or posting it on the internet. You may print out one copy for your own use. If you know someone who wants a copy, simply refer them to this website. Please help me protect my intellectual property by respecting my rights.)

I will not go into detail here describing what every symbol means. Most of them are self-explanatory, plus I want to reserve some information for future web articles. However, I want to mention the fingerings. The fingerings are not set in stone and you may use different fingers to make these chords. The fingering for an "A" chord is not standardized and may be fingered many different ways - hence the complete abscence of fingerings.

I hope you find this chart of basic open position chords helpful!

Jeff Anvinson, owner/operator of JLA Music.

(Click here to get a pdf version of the Circle of Fifths shown below. Please don't distribute this pdf by photocopying or posting it on the internet. You may print out one copy for your own use. If you know someone who wants a copy, simply refer them to this website. Please help me protect my intellectual property by respecting my rights.)

Basic Open Position Chords - copyright 1997, 2001, Jeffrey L Anvinson

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