Rock Guitar For Dummies, 2nd Edition
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Playing rock guitar starts with having a vocabulary of chords of different types, including basic, as well as barre forms (6th-string root and 5th-string root) and a few other movable types.

24 common open-position chords

Following is a collection of 24 basic chords you need to know to play a wide variety of songs. The diagrams show the correct strings, frets, and fingerings for each chord.

Open-position guitar chords
©John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
24 basic guitar chords


Six common movable chord forms: 6th-string root

Movable chords are so named because they rely on closed, or fretted, strings, and are named or referred to by their lowest-played string. Below are six common movable chord forms with 6th-string roots.

©John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Six common movable chord forms: 6th-string root

Six common movable chord forms: 5th-string root

Just like their 6th-string counterparts, 5th-string root movable chords can be moved up and down the neck too. Following are six common forms.

Movable guitar chords, 5th-string root
©John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Six common movable chord forms: 5th-string root

Other movable chord forms: 5th-string root

Besides the 6th- and 5th-string root movable chords above, here are six other handy movable forms to enrich your chord palate.

Other movable guitar chord forms, 5th-string root
©John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Movable chord forms: 5th-string root

Chord diagram

A chord diagram is a graphic representation of the guitar’s strings and frets. The dots and numerals show you where to place your fingers to play a given chord.

Guitar chord diagram
©John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Parts of an electric guitar

An electric guitar contains many parts and components, and knowing their names and functions helps you to maintain your instrument and deal with worn, broken or worn parts needing adjustment or repair.

The figure below shows the principal parts of your guitar.

Parts of an electric guitar
©John Wiley & Sons, Inc.


Tablature, or tab (for short), is a notation system that shows you on what string and fret a note or chord is played.

Refer to the following figure to see tab in action using a D chord.

Guitar tablature for a D chord
©John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book author:

This All-in-One guide includes content from Jon Chappell, a guitarist, composer, author, and magazine editor;

Mark Phillips, a guitarist, arranger, and editor;

DesiSerna, a guitar guru and music theory expert; and

Hal Leonard Corporation, a renowned U.S. music publishing company.

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