Im a 17y/o beginning guitar player (more than half a year now) and never took any lessons. With no one to ask about guitar stuff, I came here to ask a little question.

When playing the first part of the intro of Stairway to Heaven, these chords are used according to Songsterr:
Am - Am(maj7)9/Ab- Am/g- D/F#

The Am makes sense to me, by playing an Em shape on the 5th fret (found out how to move chords up frets myself)
The second chord seemed kinda... overly complicated

I looked at a video of Marty Music, who says that the second chord is Am9maj7, a little different, but I assume it means roughly the same thing:
Am - Am9maj7- Am/g- D/F#

I looked at the third chord:
E - 8
B - 5
G - 5
D - 5
A - x
E - x

I saw this could be a G-shape on the 5th fret, making it a C-chord.

Therefore, my question is:

Is this chord a Am/G, a C, or both? Why?
And secondly, why do I see it being called the first, and not simply a C? Is there some theory behind that?

Please try to keep the explaination simple, if possible, Im only an amateur
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When you have a slash chord like Am/G or D/F#, it means that the chord you play is the one before the slash (Am and D in Stairway), but you should use the note after the slash as the lowest note of the chord. So Am/G just means that you play Am, but you have to play G as the bass note.

The gist of that chord progression is the descending chromatic bass line - the bass notes go A-G#-G-F#, see how it descends in half steps? That's the core idea, you should keep the lowest notes on the same string to retain a clear descending chromatic melody. If you have trouble with the fingering, look up a good tab.
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Theory: Not rules, just tools.

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*note that by fan i mean that guy who wants his friends to know he knows this totally obscure hip band that only he knows about with 236 views on youtube. lookin' at Kev here
Basically what Kev said, but you may be having some confusion because in the third chord there is not an A note, only G, C, E ,C, therefore it indeed looks like a C chord or in fact C/G.
But the whole idea of the part is Am with a descending chromatic bass line + an ascending melody on the upper string, so that's why it has been written as Am/G.
btw I just checked the transcription I have of Stairway in Guitar for the Practicing Musician, and the first three chords are listed as
Am, E+5/G# and C/G

There may well be some theory wallahs around here to tell you why that's wrong, but I certainly don't see any harm in calling that third chord C/G.
Thanks, it mostly makes sense now!


I don't really understand how notes work exactly, but I roughly get what you're saying :p thanks!
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