Guitar All-in-One For Dummies: Book + Online Video and Audio Instruction, 2nd Edition
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Learning to play the guitar is a lot fun. Use this cheat sheet to help you get started with your guitar finger placement and guitar chords. If you need help with finger placement on your guitar, use tablature (tab) and fingerboard diagrams.

Practice playing the most common open-position chords on your guitar to get that “jangly” sound, and make sure you know the notes on the neck of your guitar to change starting notes in scales, chords, and arpeggios.

Applying fingerboard diagrams and tablature to a real guitar

You don’t need experience reading music to use tablature (tab) and fingerboard diagrams to play your guitar. Check out these diagrams to help with finger placement on your guitar:

Fingerboard diagram and tablature to help with finger placement on your guitar

Open position guitar chords chart

Open position guitar chords sound twangy because they include unfretted strings that are permitted to ring open. This chart represents 24 of the most useful open chords you use to play guitar:

guitar open chord chart

Notes on the guitar neck

This figure of the nine-fret guitar neck has the notes in letter names for all six strings’ frets up to and including the 9th fret. Use this diagram to help you move any scale, arpeggio, or chord to a different starting note.

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About This Article

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About the book authors:

Hal Leonard Corporation is a United States music publishing and distribution company currently headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It is the largest sheet music publisher in the world. Mark Phillips is a former director of music at Cherry Lane Music, where he edited or arranged the songbooks of such artists as John Denver, Van Halen, Guns N' Roses, and Metallica. Jon Chappell is a guitarist, arranger, and former editor-in-chief of Guitar magazine. Desi Serna is a guitarist, a guitar teacher, and as called out by Rolling Stone, an expert in music theory. He's the author of several instructional books on guitar. Learn more at guitarmusictheory.com.

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