Tools, Common Chords, and Chord Theory
This is your starting point for learning about guitar chords.
You're probably most interested in learning the most common chords, so you're ready to play familiar songs.
However, to develop as a player you'll soon find that you need to understand basic chord theory. After all, it's one thing to learn how to play a C-Major chord, but after a while you'll want to play a different shape, learn how to change the key, and more. To prepare for this, you need to study the theory behind the chords.
In the meantime, you will want to find alternate chord forms, figure out an easier set of chords to play a particular song, find out scales that go along with a chord, and more. For these tasks, there are a number of great chord tools available on the internet. I'll point you to several I've found helpful.
Most people don't realize that you can play thousands of songs after learning only three or four common chords. Some songs use only two (Horse With No Name by America) and a few use only one (One Chord Song by Keith Urban). Here are just a few examples of songs that you can play using only three chords:
- Silent Night
- Joy To The World
- O Come All Ye Faithful
- Amazing Grace
- Barbara Ann
- All Along The Watchtower
- Candle In The Wind
- Knockin' On Heaven's Door
- Heartbreak Hotel
There are really thousands of songs, especially popular music, that use only a few songs.
Which chords should you learn? Based on the music I've played, I developed a chart of common guitar chords that will prepare you to play most or all of these songs. Click here to learn how to play them.
The Internet is full of stuff. These sites are some of the best I've found when you need to look up a chord form, alternate chord forms, find an unusual chord-form, or hear what a chord should sound like.
JGuitar.com is just what you need to look up a chord form or find alternative forms. You can also look up scales or find the name of a chord that you've seen the fingering for. An unusual feature is the ability to upload TAB and have JGuitar show you the chords. From the Home Page, navigate to the various features by clicking on options in the menu on the left side of the page.
The 12 Bar Blues Guitar site has a page that allows you to select hundreds of chords, numerous scales, plus standard or alternate tunings for guitar. The site provides many controls to help you find just what you need to know in an understandable format.
Want to view a massive list of guitar chords, print them, or view them as a PDF file? Hop over to the Ultimate Guitar Chord Chart.