The guitar is probably the most popular musical instrument in the modern age. It has surpassed the piano because of its portability and cheap price. More importantly, most of the musicians these days use guitars to play their music, therefore influencing their fans to follow suit.

The guitar is also very dynamic; all types of songs can be played from rock songs to classical tunes. Make no mistake about it, the guitar is a good instrument, but playing the guitar entails a life-long commitment of practice and discipline. For beginners, it is best to learn how to play the guitar by learning how to read guitar chords.

Things You Will Need

A guitar to practice with and some guitar music to play.

Step 1

Most songs have guitar chord diagrams for each song, so it is best to learn a lot of songs by learning the standard guitar chord diagram first. The diagram is a grid of twenty five small squares.

The six vertical lines represent the six strings of the guitar, and the horizontal lines represent the boundaries between the frets of the guitar. It helps to think of this diagram as a part of a guitar's neck. Imagine staring right in front of a guitar. That is a good thing to keep in mind.

Step 2

To learn how to read guitar chords, the next thing to do is analyze the dots that are placed in distinct places in the diagram. Take for example the chord lower C. The diagram for lower C has a black dot on the fifth vertical string and on the 1st space.

This means that one finger must be placed on the first fret of the second string. It also has another black dot on the third string, second fret, meaning another finger has to be placed on the second fret of the fourth string.

Lastly, one more black dot is placed on the second string, third fret. This means that a third finger has to be placed on the third fret of the fifth string.

Step 3

If a string has no dots on it, this means that the string has to be kept open. By open, we mean no finger must be placed on the string. This is the basic guide on how to read guitar tabs.

Tips & Warnings