What is an open chord?
An open chord is the typical old “cowboy chord.” These are the chords that people learn first because they are the easiest guitar chords to form. The reason the open chord is easy is because you only have to press down on a few strings to form the chord, leaving the rest of the strings open to ring out. These are important to learn because you can literally write a ton of songs just by knowing these.
As a beginner guitarist, you should learn the essential 5 open chords that make up the open chord family. They are the…
- open A chord
- open C chord
- open D chord
- open E chord
- open G chord
These are the first chords to learn because they are possibly the easiest to learn and they can be used as a base for forming many other chords in different positions on the neck, as you’ll see in the Music Theory section. Let’s take a look at how to form these chords.
How to form open chords
Click the arrow below to hear the open chords in action. Then scroll over the chord names to switch between open chords.
Flash showing open chord charts
Here is a pretty good video explanation from the good folks at the Dummies series.
Moving beyond open chords
Once you become good at playing these chords, move on to the barred chords. After that go on to the music theory section to learn what’s going on behind the scenes and to learn a lot more chords, open chords and otherwise.