How do you read acoustic guitar chord progression charts?


Quick Answer

Guitar chord progression charts are listed in diagrams that show strings and finger positions in small illustrations. In many cases, the chord names are listed above the illustrations, making it easier to read the chords on the fly.

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Full Answer

Guitar chord charts show individual chords above the relative position or time in which they occur in the song. Sometimes the chord diagrams are listed above lyrics or above standard notes in sheet music so a rhythm guitarist can accompany a singer or pianist.

Each vertical line within one illustrated guitar chord "block" represents a string, and the horizontal lines represent the frets; the representation is like looking at a guitar with the neck positioned vertically in front of you. A group of dots covering the second, third and fourth strings, all at the second fret, represents an A chord, for example. An "x" above any string position means to mute or not strum that particular string, while an open circle or "o" above a string means to strum the string in its open position.

Guitar chord charts come in handy for complicated chords, such as diminished sevenths or unusual voicings. In many cases, the chords listed may not be the actual fingerings used on the recordings of popular songs. Instead, the charted chords represent the basic sound of chords found at any given point of the song.

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