What Are Open Chords For Guitar?
Open chords are guitar chords that contain one or more of the guitar’s six open strings. Because open chords contain these unfretted, “open”, notes, they tend to sound brighter and sustain longer than barre chords, whose notes are all held down by the fretting hand. In addition, open chords are usually easier to play than barre chords because not all of their notes are fretted.
- If you don’t know how to read chord diagrams, then visit this page first: How To Play Guitar Chords
- You can use the Open Chord Index, below, to find the open chord you need.
- Any questions? Feel free to ask them in the comments section at the bottom of the page.
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Open Chord Index
Click on the required chord type or individual chord from the list below (or continue scrolling to see all of the chords).
- Major Open Chords
- A, C, D, E, F (not an open chord, but useful to know), G
- Minor Open Chords
- Am, Bm (not an open chord, but useful to know), Dm, Em
- Dominant 7th Open Chords
- A7, B7, C7, D7, E7, G7
- Minor 7th Open Chords
- Am7, Dm7, Em7
- Major 7th Open Chords
- Amaj7, Cmaj7, Dmaj7, Fmaj7, Gmaj7
- 6th Open Chords
- A6, D6, E6, G6
- Add9 Open Chords
- Aadd9, Cadd9, Eadd9, Gadd9
- Sus4 Open Chords
- Asus4, Dsus4, Esus4
- Open Position Chords
- Open Chords Vs Barre Chords
- Want these, and a vast number of other chords at your fingertips? Download our awesome printable Guitar Chords pdf eBook
Major Open Chords For Guitar
Major chords have a cheerful, optimistic sound. A basic major chord consists of three notes: the root, the major third and the perfect fifth. In a major guitar chord, at least one of these notes is usually repeated at a different octave, which is why these open chords usually have more than three notes.
The symbol for a major chord is a single capital letter. So, if you see a “D”, you play a D major chord, and if you see an “E”, you play an E major chord, etc.
Open A Guitar Chord
Open C Guitar Chord
Open D Guitar Chord
Open E Guitar Chord
F Guitar Chord
The F major chord above is not an open chord, but it is played in open position (i.e. the first four frets) and is a useful chord to know.
Open G Guitar Chord
Minor Open Chords For Guitar
Minor chords tend to have a “sad” sound. Like major chords, minor chords contain three notes, but instead of a major third, minor chords contain a minor 3rd.
As with most guitar chords, one or more notes in a minor may be repeated in a different octave within the same chord, which explains why the following minor open chords consist of more than three notes.
Open Am Guitar Chord
Bm Guitar Chord
The Bm chord above is not an open chord, but it is played in open position and has been included for completeness. You can play the open D string as part of the chord, but to our ears it doesn’t sound quite as good. Mute the D string by gently resting the index finger of the fretting hand on it.
Open Dm Guitar Chord
Open Em Guitar Chord
Open Dominant 7th Chords For Guitar
Seventh chords are also known as “dominant 7th chords”. They have an “expectant”, unstable sound that is often used by songwriters and composers either to lead the melody back to the starting key, or to introduce a key change.
In most cases seventh chords are used before the major chord whose root note is a perfect fifth lower than that of the 7th chord.
Try playing an E7 chord, followed by an A chord. Upon hearing the E7 chord, the ear expects to hear an A chord. (You can try the same thing playing an A7 chord followed by a D chord, or a G7 followed by a C chord.)
Open A7 Guitar Chord
Open B7 Guitar Chord
Open C7 Guitar Chord
Open D7 Guitar Chord
Open E7 Guitar Chord
Open G7 Guitar Chord
Open Minor 7th Chords For Guitar
Minor 7th chords have a “bluesy”, “jazzy” sound and can sound quite dark and mysterious. You can use them to play funky, “cool” rhythms.
Open Am7 Guitar Chord
Open Dm7 Guitar Chord
Open Em7 Guitar Chord
Major 7th Open Chords For Guitar
Major 7th chords have a bright, jazzy sound. Jazz musicians often use them in place of standard major chords for a slightly more colorful sound.
Open Amaj7 Guitar Chord
Open Cmaj7 Guitar Chord
Open Dmaj7 Guitar Chord
Open Fmaj7 Guitar Chord
Open Gmaj7 Guitar Chord
Open 6th Chords For Guitar
You can often substitute major chords with 6th chords to give a song a more interesting, somewhat ambiguous sound.
A 6th chord contains the same notes as a minor 7th chord with a root note a minor third (3 frets) lower.
For example, a C6 chord contains the notes C, E, G, and A; an Amin7 chord contains the notes A, C, E, and G. In general, the note used as the bass note determines whether the chord is a 6 chord or a min7 chord.
Open A6 Guitar Chord
Open D6 Guitar Chord
Open E6 Guitar Chord
Open G6 Guitar Chord
Open Add9 Chords For Guitar
Add9 chords are major chords with an additional note: the ninth note. They have a bright, “optimistic” sound that can add “sparkle” to your songs. Try replacing major chords with add9 chords to hear what we mean.
Open Aadd9 Guitar Chord
Open Cadd9 Guitar Chord
Open Eadd9 Guitar Chord
Open Gadd9 Guitar Chord
Open Sus4 Chords For Guitar
Sus4 chords substitute the 3rd note of either a major or a minor chord with a perfect 4th note. For example, a C major chord contains the notes C, E and G, whereas a Csus4 chord contains the notes C, F and G.
Following a sus4 chord, the ear expects to hear the normal major chord. For example, if you play a Dsus4 chord, your ear will expect to hear a D chord.
Open Asus4 Guitar Chord
Open Dsus4 Guitar Chord
Open Esus4 Guitar Chord
We encourage you to experiment with all of the chords on this page. The “standard” major, minor and 7th chords are the “building blocks” of most songs. Major 7, minor 7, sus9 chords can add new and interesting sounds to chord progressions, and can provide inspiration for new songs and compositions.
Open Position Chords
Open chords are also known as open position chords, because the fretted notes of the chords are generally played within the first three or four frets. Chords and melodies played within this fretboard position often contain open (unfretted) notes, hence the name “open position”.
(In guitar playing, “position” means the fret number at which the fretting hand is positioned. For example, if you’re playing a barre chord with your index finger on the third fret, you’re in 3rd position.)
Open Chords Vs Barre Chords
Barre / bar chords don’t contain open notes and require the player to stretch the index finger over the fretboard in order to play more than one note at the same time.
A bar chord being played. Note how the index finger (the “bar”) is placed over the fretboard to play more than one note at the same time. This blocks off the open strings, but also allows the chord to be moved to different frets.
Unlike bar chords, open chords for guitar aren’t “movable”. This is due to the open strings contained in open chords; if you move the other fingers, the open strings will still be the same notes. Because the open strings don’t change pitch in relation to the other, fretted, notes, the chord won’t have been transposed.
- For a complete description of bar/barre chords, together with diagrams of all common bar chord shapes, see this page: Bar Chords For Guitar