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How to read a Chord Diagram

 

A chord Diagram shows you how to position your fingers on your fretboard for a sertain Chord.

Here is an empty diagram that shows you the first 4 frets on your guitar, just imagine you have your guitar in front of you and you are looking down on the neck of the guitar.

This one is used on your open chords because it shows you where the nut is on the fretboard.

empty chord diagram

The next one shows you what frets on what string with which finger is used, the numbers in the dots represent your fingers.

chord diagram

The Diagram down here shows you three different A Chords, to understand which one is showing you need to know what the second letter means after the first Letter.

The first Letter is obviously the Title of the chord (meaning it's the root note)

The second letter or number is the harmonic (sub) title of the chord, there are several different once here:

M = Major ( 1st - major 3rd - perfect 5th )( mostly written just as a letter without the M )
m = Minor ( 1st - minor 3rd - perfect 5th )
7 = Dominant seven ( 1st - major 3rd - perfect 5th - flat 7th )
M7 = Major 7 (1st - major 3rd - perfect 5th - major 7th )
m7 = Minor 7 ( 1st - minor 3rd - perfect 5th - flat 7th )

Note : Chords with just 1st - major 3rd - 5th in it will be mostly written just as the letter, meaning : in our case here, instead AM it would be just A

Major and Minor 7 chords


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The following two diagrams are for any Chord anywhere on the fretboard, the first diagram shows us the chord with it's root note in red, the second diagram shows the chord with it's position on the fretboard, that's the little "12" on the bottom, so you know this is the fretboard position for the A Major 7 chord. My personal choice is the first one with the root note, if you learn them this way you always know every chord in any position !

chord diagram