Basic Chords

How to Read a Guitar Chord Chart

Our First Guitar Chords: G-C-D

  This particular diagram has the fingerings for each note in each chord.  Notice that the first two notes in the "G" and "C" chords have the same fingerings.  They are also a "corresponding shape or pattern" [see below for more explanation]. This means that you can MOVE the shape as a whole instead of as individual notes.  If you can eventually learn to move groups of notes when changing chords, instead of changing each note one-at-a-time, it will speed up your chord changes.

Below are easier versions of the above chords.
But please do not let yourself "cop-out" of
learning the full G-C-D chords by using the E-Z versions.

Here are the basic same chords, except we're substituting "D7" for "D"
It is a lot easier to learn sometimes if you look for "patterns" or shortcuts
rather than just learning notes or chords by themselves.

With G-C-D, notice the two notes in "G" and "C" that are circled. 
These are corresponding note patterns.
What I mean by that is that they are in the same "shape."

So practice moving BOTH of them together. 

  Do not let yourself lift your entire hand up off of the guitar each and every time that you change chords.  Look for easier ways to move shapes instead of individual notes.  When you stop and lift your hand off of the guitar fretboard, you are essentially starting over from scratch.  Look for a way to flow from one chord to another.

 As you see from the diagram, "D7" has an ANCHOR NOTE with the "C" chord. 
"Anchor" is another term for "Common Note". 
The reason I call it "Anchor" is simply because since it is the SAME (common) note,
you DO NOT have to move your finger from that note.

  As I noted above, if notes are similar, either a "corresponding [similar] pattern" or an "Anchor" [common, or the exact same note], there is NO NEED for hand or finger movement.  You can leave THOSE NOTES.  You do not need to move them.  Practice holding this anchor note in place while you move the other notes into place.  It may be odd at first, but it becomes much easier after a little practice.



  1. Chord G and Chord D are difficult! I need to keep practicing the scale on the first five frets and toughen up my fingers more. I'm at least getting a clear tone. What's an "Anchor Note" and why do they call it that?

    I don't have a piano to tune my guitar but I have one of those automatic tuners - the kind with the batteries in it. I'm sure you'll teach me how to use it at class.

    Hey, I'm excited! I've been practicing every day but don't think I'm practicing enough. Thanks for the songs! It gives me more motivation. I appreciate everything. See you in class!

    Blessings to you!
    Teresa Hulce


    1. I'm going to enter a page called "E-Z Guitar Chords". I don't really recommend you using it.. but if you must, they will be MUCH EASIER than the others. I want you to learn the full chords, if possible.

      I'm also adding a sheet on changing from G to C to D7. D7 is a bit easier than going to D.

      Ok- see you in class.