Now, it would be easy for me to simply throw a bunch of chord
front of you (like most guitar sites), and there will be charts later
on to help.
But first, I want to encourage you to learn how to create your own movable
No chord chart on this earth will be able to cover every possible chord voicing,
When you can create your own chords, you no longer need to rely on
chord charts to tell you where to put your fingers.
All you need are some visual references on the fretboard...
Easy ways to create your own movable guitar chords
Cutting down barre chord forms
Movable chord forms can be seen as alternatives to playing
full form barre
Many guitarists prefer to "cut down" those fuller, 5
and 6 string barre chord shapes to just 3 or 4 strings.
This allows for
a more efficient use of your fingers (since fewer fingers
are required to play the chord) and, as a result, you can make
quicker, more complex chord changes. Smaller chord shapes are also
guitarists with smaller hands/fingers.
For example, taking the E form barre chord, we could cut out
low and high E strings and just use
the middle part of it to create a simpler, movable shape.
So that's a good initial exercise for you to try if you've
learned some barre chord forms (major, minor, 7th, sus etc.). Try
cutting them down to 3 or 4 string shapes, using the top, middle or
bottom part of the full shape.
Building movable chord shapes from scale patterns
might want to skip this one for the time being if you've only just
started with scales. If, however, you know a few scale patterns, you
can use these as the scaffolding for building chord shapes.
Not a lot of guitarists realise that scales and chords are
intrinsically connected on
For example, once you understand the
intervals that make up a major triad (1 3 5), you can identify these
intervals grouped within a major scale pattern and use that formation
to build a chord shape.
the below major scale pattern and you'll see how we can literally pull
a related chord shape from the arrangement of tones (in the below
example, we've pulled out the same major triad as above)...
This is a fun way of finding interesting new chords. You don't
even need to
know what they're called (that can come later), just use your ears to
judge whether it sounds good or not. As they'll be pulled from a scale,
they will naturally be compatible with that scale.
In short, use major scales (Ionian, Mixolydian, Lydian,
Dominant etc.) as the scaffolding for major chords and minor scales
(Dorian, Aeolian, melodic minor etc.) to build minor chords.
Movable guitar chord charts - Triads
Note that if you're interested in learning the theory behind
chords are constructed, head to the guitar
chord theory section. If, however, you just want to learn the
fingerings, see below.
With the below triad chord shapes, the root note
is marked in red.
This is the note that dictates which letter we use when writing the
chord (e.g. G
etc.). Simply start by positioning that root note at the appropriate
fret for the chord you want and then build the rest of the shape from
For example, if I wanted C major, I would position the root
one of the major shapes below on the note C
(on that shape's root string) and build the rest of the shape in that
position. As we can position these shapes at any fret, I'm not going to
specify a fret number on the diagrams...
Major Triads (1 3 5)
Minor Triads (1 ♭3 5)
Augmented Triads (1 3 ♯5)
Words commonly used to describe augmented chords - tense,
unresolved, unsettled. They tend to be used straight after a major
triad on the same root.
Or, on the dominant chord position before returning to the
(in this example, the tonic is G major):
Now, you'll notice that 3 of these shapes below share the exact same fingering,
yet the root notes are on different strings. The reason for this will
in a separate lesson, I don't want to confuse you with too
much info on one page.
Diminished Triads (1 ♭3 ♭5)
See the diminished
guitar chords lesson for some theory behind these magnificant
chords and how you can use them effectively. However, diminished chords
tend to be used very sparingly, so don't feel you must learn these (and
augmented, for that matter) with the same rigor as major and minor
The next part will cover 7th chords. In the meantime, try and
memorise the major and minor movable guitar chord forms and try making
own shapes from both the fuller barre chord forms you know and using
scale patterns as the building blocks.