I'm sorry if this is in the wrong section, already been discussed, a stupid question or all of the above.

I've started lessons recently and my instructor is teaching me basic chords. Unfortunately, I could barely read his writing so I'm researching online but I want to make sure I'm understanding how to read these charts correctly.

I know this bit...

E-1st string
B-2nd string
G-3rd string
D-4th string
A-5th string
e-6th string

and am familiar with the frets & finger placement. For instance, learning C Chord...in placement of strings & frets.....it can be identified as 2nd string 1st fret, 4th string 2nd fret, and 5th string 3rd fret right? Or D Chord 3rd string 2nd fret, 1st string 2nd fret, and 2nd string 3rd fret? Or do I have this completely wrong? I know it's probably not proper learning method but I'm just trying to make sure I understand and retain these. Reason why I'm asking is as I'm drawing out these charts I see online, I'm writing below them "2S 1F, 4S 2F" but figured I'd better double check myself before I start in on it...
Last edited by snorgge at May 17, 2015,
Yep that all looks right to me. Another way to tell in case you aren't sure is just to play the chord and see if it sounds the same as someone playing the same chord online (youtube has countless videos I'm sure)

Also one other thing to note is that depending on the chord you won't always be strumming all 6 strings. The C chord is generally played WITHOUT the 6th string being played at all for example. If you look at this chord chart, X means don't strum that string.

The "O" just means that string is played but is "open" ie you don't fret anything with your fingers on that string. So in the example of the D chord you would strum the 4th, 3rd, 2nd, and 1st strings, but not the 5th and 6th.

After awhile it will just become muscle memory too, and you won't even have to think about where you are placing your fingers. Welcome to the forums and guitar playing. If you have any more questions I'm sure people will help you out.
Last edited by bptrav at May 18, 2015,
No, you have that right. Although I would say there are a couple of things to think about:

1 - If you have any issues you should talk to your teacher first, especially if it's something confusing or something as simple as not being able to read their handwriting. It's not that we don't want to answer these questions but it's quite possible that something we say might be based on assumptions about what your teacher means and we might say something that's not wrong but sounds like it conflicts when its with the full context of what your teacher is trying to say.

2 - When you're writing out anything for guitar online, tab is the easiest format to use, for example this is a C chord in tab:


It saves a lot of confusion about saying "X fret, Y string" and whatever else, because there's no room for misinterpretation. If you want to add specific fingering I'm sure there's a way of doing that but that's going to be something bolted on to the basic tab framework.
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Thank you guys for the responses. It was just a little confusing at first and I kind of have a backwards way of learning things. We got it cleared up. Thank you