Guitar Chords

Introduction: What is a chord? A chord is any group of three notes played simultaneously. Chords can have qualities such as Major, Minor, Augmented, and Diminished. They can take on many other qualities beyond the scope of this page. For this page, we will focus on the most frequently used types of chords. For an in-depth guide on chord construction check here.

Guitar chords are a fundamental building block for the rhythm guitarist. Chords will be an essential part of the rhythms you play on your guitar. Therefore, knowing the most common chords is an essential skill to acquire. Let’s begin with the basic “cowboy” chords for the guitar. These are the most common chords that contain “open notes”.

The Most Popular Beginner Chords

The first chords that most beginners usually learn are called Open Chords. Some people call them Cowboy Chords. These are chords that utilize the open strings. They are usually played between frets one and five. We will get back to Cowboy Chords soon.

Super Easy Chords For Absolute Beginners

The easiest chords for beginners are the three-string open chords. It’s exactly as it sounds. Three-note chords played with only three strings. Open strings are present. 

Movable Rhythm Chords (Barre Chords)

More modern movable rhythm chords are known as Barre Chords. These are chords that utilize one shape across the whole neck. There are different shapes that are used. The first finger is laid flat vertically fretting multiple strings at once. This is called the barre.  

Major Chords

Major chords have the most stable sound. They are built by adding a major third interval with a perfect fifth. They offer the most stability and produce the least tension or dissonance.  

Minor Chords

Minor chords add a bit more tension than major chords do. This tension is caused by the minor third interval. Minor chords are built by stacking a minor third interval with a perfect fifth. 

7th chords

The seventh chords contain four notes. They are used often in blues music. To build a seventh chord stack again one more major third interval on top of your existing major chord triad.

Minor 7th chords

A 7th chord built from a minor triad.