i'm new to playing guitar, so when you play a chord do you strum all the strings or just the strings you're holding?
That is dependent upon the chord itself. Sometimes it will only be the strings you are holding, others it will be an extra string or two but not all - sometimes all. Get yourself a good chord book. When looking at a diagram, those strings with an "O" next to it means open (or play it) - those with an "X" means mute it or don't play it at all. So, to answer your question, it varies by chord!
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you strum the ones your holding and maybe open ones

for instance the a chord is played "X02220"
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well, i have this chord poster, and it has the different chords, and for the strings you don't play, the string is dashed, would you only play all the strings if none are dashed?
Last edited by cjsgamer191 at Jul 17, 2006,
I suggest a good theory book.
Chords should be thought of as a collection of notes rather than patterns. You play all the notes in the chord. With some chords (Em open position, for example) you will be able to play both the fretted notes and the open strings because all of the notes produced by them are found in the chord of Em. If you wanted to play and inverted Em higher up on the fretboard you probably wouldn't play all of the open strings because their notes wouldnt be in the chord.
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Depends on the chord.

For C major for example, you strum only the A, D, G, B, and E strings.

Whereas for G major, you would strum all 6 strings.