Instructor: Dwight H.
From big bands to rock ensembles, and even R&B groups, Dwight has played with them all. He's been teaching guitar for over 10 years. When teaching, he draws from his experience on stage, injecting the knowledge of what it takes to be a gigging musician into every lesson.

Guitar Fingering Charts and Finger Placements


There are thousands of chords you could learn to play on the guitar. There are only five, however, that you should learn to play first. They are (in an order made for easy memorization): C, A, G, E, and D.

In addition to being an easy bunch to remember, you can play these chords in an "open string" position, which makes them easy for guitar newbies to master. Beyond that, though, they also form the basis of hundreds of popular songs.

Keep your guitar nearby -- you'll want to start practicing as soon as you're done reading.

By learning these five building blocks, you'll greatly expand the number of songs you can play on the guitar very quickly.

What's a Guitar Fingering Chart?

A guitar fingering chart is a group of notes that create a harmony when they are played together. There are multiple ways you can play a note on the guitar. You can play the string open, without holding down any frets, or you can play by holding the guitar string down at a specific fret on the guitar’s fingerboard.

Guitar Fingering Chart Printable PDF

Want to download and print the chart at the top of this page for free?

How do I Read a Guitar Chord Fingering Chart?

In case you've forgotten (or never learned) how to read a chord chart, this refresher will get you up to speed.

Chord charts are a visual representation of different chords when they are played on the guitar. They include a series of vertical lines, which portray the different guitar strings, and horizontal lines, which show the guitar frets.

how to read guitar chords

Dots on the chart show where you should place your fingers, and the associated numbers indicate which fingers you should use to hold the strings. "X's" above a string denote that you should mute (or not play) the string, while "O's" mean you should play the string open.

Keep these details in mind as you learn the basic chords and refer to these notes if you forget how to read a chord chart.

Need more help? Learn How To Read Guitar Chords.

Guitar Finger Placement & Numbers

If you're not familiar with finger numbers, here's a quick review:

guitar finger numbers

  • "1" is your index finger
  • "2" is your middle finger
  • "3" is your ring finger
  • "4" is your pinky
Very rarely, you'll see a "T," which indicates you should fret the string with your thumb. For most chords, though, "1" through "4" are all you need.

Guitar Fingering Chart Examples

Now, onto the chords themselves. Here are the chord diagrams for C, A, G, E, and D, along with an explanation on how to play each and where to place your fingers.

C Major Guitar Fingering Chart

C Guitar Chord

C Major Guitar Chord Finger Placement

  • For this chord, you'll be muting the 6th string
  • Place finger 1 on the 2nd string/1st fret
  • Place finger 2 on the 4th string/2nd fret
  • Place finger 3 on the 5th string/3rd fret
  • Play strings 1 and 3 open
Learn more ways to play the C Guitar Chord.

A Major Guitar Fingering Chart

A Guitar Chord

A Major Guitar Chord Finger Placement

  • For this chord, you'll be muting the 6th string
  • Place finger 1 on the 4th string/2nd fret
  • Place finger 2 on the 3rd string/2nd fret
  • Place finger 3 on the 2nd string/2nd fret
  • Play strings 1 and 5 open
Learn more ways to play the A Guitar Chord.

G Major Guitar Fingering Chart

G Guitar Chord

G Major Guitar Chord Finger Placement

  • No muted strings on this one
  • Place finger 1 on the 5th string/2nd fret
  • Place finger 2 on the 6th string/3rd fret
  • Place finger 3 on the 1st string/3rd fret
  • Play strings 2, 3, and 4 open
Learn more ways to play the G Guitar Chord.

E Major Guitar Fingering Chart

E Guitar Chord

E Major Guitar Chord Finger Placement

  • No need to mute anything on this chord either
  • Place finger 1 on the 3rd string/1st fret
  • Place finger 2 on the 5th string/2nd fret
  • Place finger 3 on the 4th string/2rd fret
  • Play strings 1, 2, and 6 open
Learn more ways to play the E Guitar Chord.

D Major Guitar Fingering Chart

D Guitar Chord

D Major Guitar Chord Finger Placement

  • Be sure to mute strings 5 and 6 for this chord
  • Place finger 1 on the 3rd string/2nd fret
  • Place finger 2 on the 1st string/2nd fret
  • Place finger 3 on the 2nd string/3rd fret
  • Play string 4 open
Learn more ways to play the D Guitar Chord.

Time to Practice

Now that you know the chord shapes, try working them out on your guitar until you have each memorized. Start slowly, then speed things up until you can switch from one to the next without even thinking about it. While practicing, remember to push down on the strings hard enough for them to vibrate properly when you strum.

In addition, press the strings with the tips of your fingers only so that you don't accidentally press the wrong strings (and mess up the sound of your intended chord).

Rock on! Check out the 132 best Guitar Chords Chart for a complete list of fingering charts.

Next Lesson:

How To Play Guitar Chords

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