Playing open chords

Now you're ready to learn how to play some basic chords. On this page, you'll find pictures, diagrams and sound clips that will help you learn how to play the basic open chords. They are "open" because playing them does not require you to press down on all strings, as will be the case when you learn about barred chords. The basic open chords are as follows: A, A minor, C, D, D minor, E, E minor and G. In the live-action pictures, I've flipped the images so all of you righties can learn easier.

The open A chord

You can form this chord a couple of ways. The first, which is also the first way I learned it, is to place your pointer, middle and ring fingers on the fourth, third and second strings, respectively, all on the second fret. The second way, which I find to be more comfortable, is to use your middle finger, ring finger and pinky finger. This tends to be a better fit, as is pictured below.

A Chord Finger positions for A chord

The open A minor chord (Am)

Form this chord by placing your pointer finger on the second string at the first fret. Then place your middle finger on the fourth string at the second fret, and place your ring finger on the third string at the second fret.

A Minor Chord Finger positions for A minor chord

The open C chord

To make this chord, place your pointer finger on the second string at the first fret. Place your middle finger on the fourth string at the second fret. Finally, place your ring finger on the fifth string at the third fret.

C Chord Finger positions for C chord

The open D chord

Place your pointer finger on the third string at the second fret. Then place your middle finger on the first string at the second fret. Last, put your ring finger on the second string at the third fret.

D Chord Finger positions for D chord

The open D minor chord (Dm)

To form this, place your pointer finger on the first string at the first fret. Then place your middle finger on the third string at the second fret. Finally, place your ring finger on the second string at the third fret.

D Minor Chord Finger positions for D minor chord

The open E chord

Start by holding down the third string with your pointer finger on the first fret. Then, add your middle finger on the fifth string at the second fret, and finish by putting your ring finger on the fourth string at the second fret.

E Chord Finger positions for E chord

The open E minor chord (Em)

Hold down the fifth string with your pointer finger on the second fret, and hold down the fourth string with your middle finger on the second fret.

E Minor Chord Finger positions for E minor chord

The open G chord

Place your pointer finger on the fifth string at the second fret. Then add your middle finger on the sixth string at the third fret. Finally, place your ring finger on the first string at the third fret. This one might be tricky at first, but just use the picture to figure out how to do it.

G Chord Finger positions for G chord