Cheat Sheet

Guitar For Dummies

From Guitar For Dummies, with DVD, 3rd Edition by Mark Phillips, Jon Chappell

On this Cheat Sheet, you find handy reference material that you can print and place conveniently in your practice area. Included are an explanation of guitar notation as it translates to actually playing the guitar, 24 common guitar chords, a fingerboard diagram showing all the notes on the guitar up to the 12th fret, and a list of essential tools and accessories that facilitate trouble-free and versatile music-making on guitar.

Translate Fingerboard Diagrams to a Real Guitar

The following figure, which shows how a chord diagram and a tab staff relate to an actual guitar, helps you turn guitar notation into chords and melodies.

[Credit: Illustration by Wiley, Composition Services Graphics]
Credit: Illustration by Wiley, Composition Services Graphics

24 Common Guitar Chords for Different Music Styles

The following figure shows 24 common, easy-to-play guitar chords that you can use in many different songs in a variety of styles — including folk, country, rock, and blues. Left-hand fingerings appear immediately below the strings (1 = index, 2 = middle, 3 = ring, and 4 = little). An O above a string means to play the open string as part of the chord; an X above a string indicates it isn’t part of the chord and shouldn’t be played. A curved line means to play the dots (fretted notes) below the line with a barre.

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Notes on the Neck of a Guitar

The following neck diagram shows the notes for all the frets on the guitar up to and including the 12th fret. Use this diagram to find individual notes on the guitar or to transpose any movable chord or scale to a different starting note. Sometimes you see two notes at the same fret; these notes, called enharmonic equivalents, have the same pitch.

[Credit: Illustration by Wiley, Composition Services Graphics]
Credit: Illustration by Wiley, Composition Services Graphics

Essential Guitar Tools and Accessories

Following is a list of 12 essential tools and accessories that will help you keep your fingers and your guitar in tip-top shape and in good working order and provide you with the hardware to create a variety of music. All the following items are fairly inexpensive; they can fit easily in a resealable plastic bag and be stored inside your guitar case.

  1. Electronic tuner/metronome

  2. Extra strings

  3. String winder

  4. Cleaning/polishing cloth

  5. Pencil and paper

  6. Digital recorder

  7. Mini toolkit: Screwdrivers, wire cutters, pliers, allen wrenches

  8. Nail file/emery board

  9. Capo

  10. Picks

  11. Slide

  12. Strap

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