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Guitar Lessons • The Fifteen Essential Open Chords For Guitar • Fingerings, Diagrams, Fingering Pictures.

Updated on December 3, 2014

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Review by Karen:    Starts at the beginning and breaks the blues down in a well articulated way. It exponentially grows from there. Doesn't keep it safe but goes for that blues-jazzy feel throughout. Not your average blues book.
Review by Karen: Starts at the beginning and breaks the blues down in a well articulated way. It exponentially grows from there. Doesn't keep it safe but goes for that blues-jazzy feel throughout. Not your average blues book.

The Fifteen Essential Open Chords For Guitar

This is the normal F Major shape. The first finger barres the E and B strings. You may have to curve your finger slightly or even fret the two strings with the tip of your index finger.
This is the normal F Major shape. The first finger barres the E and B strings. You may have to curve your finger slightly or even fret the two strings with the tip of your index finger.
This is another way to get the F Major sound. Lay your first finger across the high E (first string), but do not push down. The string is being muted, you should hear a non-pitched sound, more of a scraping sound on the note
This is another way to get the F Major sound. Lay your first finger across the high E (first string), but do not push down. The string is being muted, you should hear a non-pitched sound, more of a scraping sound on the note

These are the 15 essential Open Chords. The name is derived from the fact that the chords contain open strings and, for the most part are immovable. Sometimes called 'Cowboy chords', knowing these shapes are a must for every player, and usually where people start. I have substituted the FMaj7 for the F chord. I have found that the normal F Major shape, with the first finger barre across the E and B strings is very hard for beginners. The FMaj7 works as a substitution for the harder F Major chord in many songs.

Below, I have added the concepts of common fingering and common form.

Common fingering involves holding certain fingers while others are moved or added during a chord movement:

Common form is the concept of fingers of a certain shape, forming another chord on another set of strings, while maintaining the same shape. Strongest example of this is E Major to A minor:

C Major

C7

FMaj7

G Major

A Major

A7

Am

E Major

E7

Em

D Major

D7

Dm

G7

B7

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    • profile image

      Gary Talley 

      7 years ago

      As far as the F chord goes, which is hard for beginners:

      If you just use three fingers on the D, G, and B strings (as you show) and do not even hit the E string at all , that chord (an f major triad) WILL fit in blues/rock songs where the Fma7 would not sound right.

    • Lorne Hemmerling profile imageAUTHOR

      Lorne Hemmerling 

      7 years ago from Oshawa

      Sorry........Chasemillis.

    • Lorne Hemmerling profile imageAUTHOR

      Lorne Hemmerling 

      7 years ago from Oshawa

      @ chasemills. Thanks so much!!!

    • chasemillis profile image

      chasemillis 

      7 years ago

      These visuals are awesome!

    • Lorne Hemmerling profile imageAUTHOR

      Lorne Hemmerling 

      7 years ago from Oshawa

      brsmusic....thanks very much! This is where I start them.

    • brsmusic profile image

      brsmusic 

      7 years ago from Northwest Ohio

      Nice sequencing of material! I have taught beginning guitar students (including my son and daughter) over the years and use a very similar approach. Nice job on the presentation!

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