Reading Chord Diagrams, Fretboard Patterns, and Rhythm Charts

Reading Chord Diagrams Fretboard Patterns, and Rhythm Charts

This lesson will show you how to read chord diagrams, fretboard patterns, and rhythm charts.  These diagrams are a perfect way to quickly communicate what you are playing with other guitarists and musicians.

Objectives

  1. Learn how to read a chord diagram.
  2. Learn how to read a fretboard pattern.
  3. Learn how to read a rhythm chart.

Chord Diagrams

Chord diagrams show you where to place your fingers to play a particular chord. They consist of six vertical lines, which represent the strings of the guitar. Frets are shown by horizontal lines.  Since chord diagrams do not show the entire fretboard, the fret numbers are placed next to frets to indicate the location on the fretboard.  Sometimes an extra thick vertical line is used at the top of the diagram.  This represents the nut.  Black dots represent the root note of the chord.  The lessons on chords will explain root notes in greater depth.

Chord Diagram Parts
Chord Diagram Parts Notation

To play the chord, place your fingers where the dots are located and strum or pluck those strings at the same time.  When a dot is placed on top of the nut, the string is played open (without fretting it).  Sometimes certain strings are not meant to be played.  They are supposed to be muted, muffled, or skipped.  These strings have an X above them or no dots are placed on the string.

Chord Diagram Using Dots

Chord
Diagram Using Dots
Loading Player…

Show Me What I Am Playing

Sometimes the dots contain information inside them: note names, intervals, or fingerings.   You still play them like you would play the dots, but these diagrams give additional information for the guitarist who is reading the notation.

Chord Diagram Using Notes

Chord
Diagram Using Notes
Chord Diagram Using Fingerings

Chord
Diagram Using Fingerings
Chord Diagram Using Intervals

Chord
Diagram Using Intervals

Specifying Fingerings

Finger NumberingSometimes, chord diagrams explicitly say which fingering to use.  Finger numbers, if available, are located at the bottom of the chord diagram.
Finger Numbering

  • Thumb = T
  • Index Finger = 1
  • Middle Finger = 2
  • Ring Finger = 3
  • Pinky Finger = 4

Fretboard Patterns

Fretboard patterns, like chord diagrams, use dots to show where to place your fingers.  Fretboard patterns differ from chord diagrams because you do not play all of the notes at the same time.  Instead, you play one note at a time.  The fretboard pattern chart, however does not tell you the order to play the notes.  Once again root notes are indicated by dark dots and can contain information about note names, intervals, or fingerings.

Even though the patterns do not indicate a particular way to play them, I included some notation for playing the patterns string by string to make sure you know how the dots and notes correlate.

Full Fretboard Pattern

Full Fretboard Pattern
Playing the Pattern from the 6th String to the 1st String (Going Up the Scale)

Playing the Pattern from the 6th String to the 1st String (Going Up the Scale)
Loading Player…
Fretboard Pattern Box (C Major Scale)

Fretboard
Pattern Box (C Major Scale)
Playing the Pattern from the 6th String to the 1st String (Going Up the Scale)

Playing the Pattern from the 6th String to the 1st String (Going Up the Scale)
Loading Player…

Rhythm Charts

Rhythm charts are summaries for a song.  Guitarists often wish to give other musicians a general idea of a song without taking a lot of time to write every note exactly as played.  Other times, the song is intended to be interpreted by the musician.  In both cases, rhythm charts are perfect. They tell you which chord to play and give a general idea of how the chords are to be strummed.

12 Bar Blues Rhythm Chart in the Key of F

12 Bar Blues Rhythm Chart in the Key of F
Loading Player…

Subscribe for Free Content, Tips, and More!

3 Reasons to Subscribe to the GLW Newsletter:

  1. Free Stuff! You'll get free content that is exclusive to my newsletter subscribers!
  2. Content tailored to you. Over time, I'll get to learn more about you and deliver content that motivates you to learn, play and be inspired!
  3. No spam. Just real content that's meant to make a difference in your playing

Enter your name and email, and you're on your way!

We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit
Hello again! You're already subscribed to the GLW newsletter. Thank you for being a part of the GLW community. If you have a question, just send an email using my contact page. I'd be happy to help!

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*


canon in d guitar lesson acoustic  how to toon a guitar  guitar fretboard workout  e ionian scale  how to write guitar tabs  what is an octave on guitar  guitar harmonics chart  how to transpose guitar chords to piano  what does deminished mean  you learn chords  fun blues licks  i iv vi chord progression  acoustic guitar exercises  easy guitar lessons for beginners free  beautiful soul guitar tutorial  b natural scale  warm smell of colitas rising up through the air  guitar figure  capo transposition chart  take it to the limit guitar lesson  c major guitar chord chart  guitar chords a minor  c pentatonic minor  guitar chords in a key  what are the names of the strings on a guitar  lefty guitar lessons  bass neck notes chart  all major scales on guitar  what does an e note sound like  circles of fifths  2 become 1 chords  blues in key of a  best scales for soloing  what are chord progressions  guitar lessons in  how to flatpick guitar  online electric guitar lessons  how to do ab chord on guitar  how to play f on guitar easy  notes on a bar  tuning down half step  b note guitar  chart of guitar chords  electric guitar parts names  between the bars guitar chords  guitar riffs lesson  b chord bass  barchord  jazz ending chords  how to read circle of fifths  notes in a c major chord  guitar lesson books free download  learning how to play guitar beginner  b7 chord chart  best guitar chord combinations  c major bar chord  b guitar chords  how to build chords from scales  what are words guitar  pdf guitar book  words for guitar  best instrument cables  learning chords on guitar  guitar note diagram  how to play harmonics on guitar  all around the world guitar chords  power chord blues  alternate picking exercise  hand picking guitar  online acoustic guitar lessons