Open Position Chords Pt.1 A and D major

This is our first lesson of actual playing. We will begin with a quick explanation of how to read chord charts.

After that we dive into learning how to play two of the eight basic open position chords A Major and D Major.

These eight open position chords are the most used chords in popular music, so it is essential to learn them until they become second nature to you.

Click on the link below for a PDF file of all of the open position chords as well as a bonus tablature explanation.

It is imperative that you learn to read both chord charts and tablature fluently, as they are the predominant method used for guitar notation these days.

Open Position Chords PDF

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Open Position Chords Pt.1 A Major and D Major


  1. Shirley on February 21, 2015 at 3:34 pm

    Hello Carl. You are awesome. Im a beginner and don’t know anything on how to play a guitar. But i really love to learn. I get excited and frustrated at the same time. My fingers hurt a lot and still wasnt able to play the chords properly. im sorry for my sentiments. You’re great and im learning a lot. Thank you.

    • Ann Louise on December 28, 2015 at 5:37 pm

      Hi Shirley. I know your message was intended for Carl but I had the same trouble you mentioned in the beginning. IDK if it would help with the sore fingers for you, but I changed my strings. The strings that came on it were rough and made squeaking buzzing sounds. On my acoustic, I switched to Elixir with a coating on them until I built up callouses. I still use them just because I like the way they feel and sound. This may be a long shot for you (or not, I’m not sure) but my guitar was also bowed out and after I adjusted the truss rod I noticed my hands didn’t ache as badly either. I know some music stores have on site repairs that could give it a check over. I hope I was some help to you. 🙂
      Carl, I agree with Shirley on your skill and help. 🙂 Honestly, I don’t know how you are able to keep up with all your lessons. How many hundreds of lessons have you completed? I have lost count! Thanks for everything! -Annie

      • Carl Brown on December 29, 2015 at 8:34 pm

        Hey Ann, the number of lessons on the site now (Dec. 2015) is about 1200 with new ones almost everyday.

        Yeah a bit exhausting to say the least. Haha

  2. Jakub Bielecki on April 25, 2018 at 4:09 am

    Hi Carl!

    I have a problem.
    I’m training playing guitar for some time now (about 6 months) and with riffis I’m doing pretty good.

    The chords are the problem ;-/
    When I’m trying to play some chord almost always I have problem with My fingers. I mean my fingers always are touching more than one string…
    Is it possible that My fingers are too thick? Or maybe it need just more practice?

    • Carl Brown on April 25, 2018 at 4:06 pm

      You are probably not arching your fingertips enough. Come straight down onto the string.

  3. Mick Fox on April 18, 2020 at 5:12 pm

    I am a Newbie searching the internet for an instructor, I think I finally found one.
    What do you think of starting out with the Orangewood Limited Edition Mason Live?

    Thank You,
    Mick Fox

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