The Five Basic Chord Shapes

The five basic chord shapes are open C, A, G, E, and D chords. Together they spell the word CAGED which helps us remember them.

What To Do

This is your very first step! If you do not know how to play these 5 basic chords then you should learn and memorize each chord pattern. Take your time to ensure that you learn them and are playing them correctly. Each pattern is accompanied by a picture of the chord being played and an audio sample of what the chord sounds like when played properly.

The C Major Chord

The C Major open chord really only involves one type of fingering, which is shown below.

Open C The Five Basic Chord Shapes

The A Major Chord

adiagram2 The Five Basic Chord Shapes

The G Major Chord

Open G The Five Basic Chord Shapes

The E Major Chord

opene The Five Basic Chord Shapes

The D Major Chord

Open D The Five Basic Chord Shapes

You cannot play every Major chord in the guitar’s open position.

By now the questions start flying. What about F and B chords? The two remaining major chords are those of B major and F major. These are commonly played as barre chords, with the first finger used to press down multiple strings across the guitar fingerboard. How about an F# or Gb chord for that matter? You can’t do it without using a barre chord. A barre chord takes a basic chord pattern and “moves” it up the neck of the guitar to create different chords.