When you run across a left handed guitar player on your friendly neighbourhood guitar forum asking for advice on starting out you always have the obligatory post from some genius who thinks he has the most important advice in the world to give. “Um…dude…the chord diagrams will be backwards…how will you figure out chords!?! ”
They act as if you need a PHD in particle physics in order to have the brain capacity to read something backwards…it’s pathetic. Chord diagrams are something you will use very briefly when starting guitar and then probably never look at again, afterall…once you learn a chord, that’s you learned it!
For those of you who are new to guitar and a little unsure, I have put together a simple left handed guitar chord chart which shows you the essential open chords that every new guitarist should learn. The chart is interactive, so you can listen to the chord just be be sure you are playing it right. I’m confident that once you learn these you will have no problem reading normal chord charts and you’ll wonder why you found it so difficult in the first place!
I may expand on this at a later date, but for now it shows the most common open chord shapes only. Click on the diagram to hear the chord to ensure you are playing it correctly!
Note: You will need Adobe Flash Player to view this, so if you are on an iPad or some other device incapable of displaying Flash here is a printable non-interactive version you can download
Give it a few seconds to load and see below for a quick explanation on how to read it correctly.
Explanation for Beginners
In case you are a complete beginner looking at these diagrams for the first time, let me briefly explain what they represent. The diagrams should be read as if you have your guitar standing up in front of you with the fretboard facing you.
The numbers located underneath the diagrams (1-4) are you finger numbers. Your fingers are numbered as the following:
- Index : 1
- Middle : 2
- Ring : 3
- Pinky : 4
- Thumb : T (thumb isn’t used in any of these basic chords)
The red dots indicate where you should place your fingers and the white dots tell you that the string should be played ‘open’, i.e do not fret any notes. An ‘X’ above a string indicates that the string should not be played.