Open-position chords Guitar Lesson – Step 1

Chords Guitar Lesson - S1
In this first step, you'll learn how to play and understand the 10 open position chords. These will form the foundation for everything else you do on the guitar!

Ten Open-Position Chords Hold The Key To Understanding The Fretboard

Using the video lessons in the playlist above, study the open-position chords carefully, they are the starting point and foundation for mapping out the guitar fretboard and understanding music.

You will soon turn these into the CAGED system by creating barre chords, major pentatonic scale shapes, arpeggios, and modes.

These open-position chords literally hold the key to understanding the guitar.

In the beginner acoustic course, we dig deep to fully understand all of them, including possible small variations when fretting as well as where each and every interval actually is located.

Major becomes minor

To create the five open-position minor chords we must find the third interval of each open-position major chord and move it down one fret.

  • E to Em – The third appears on string 3, move it to the open string
  • A to Am – The third appears on string 2, move it to the first fret
  • D to Dm – The third appears on string 1, move it to the first fret
  • G to Gm – This is complicated, see the video lesson for details
  • C to Cm – The third appears on string 4, move it to the first fret. If you can’t reach it, don’t worry about it

Don’t spend valuable time changing between these chords for too long. Instead, learn how to switch between them by playing songs.

When it comes to learning more about chords, the next step is to turn these open-position chords into barre chords.

Chords | Related Pages

Chords | Step-by-step guitar course

This guitar lesson on the open position chords is the first lesson in this mini Guitar Chords Course.

The CAGED system is the best way to organize the guitar fretboard. Starting with the open-position chords, we extend and connect them in this chords course.

Follow the 8 steps of the self-eliminating practice routine to map out the fretboard, it will be the best thing you’ve ever done.


Chordacus can display the 10 open position chords and more.

Spytunes chords, scale, and arpeggio software, Chordacus is a refined version of the so-called CAGED system.

Now available as both a chromatic (original version) and “within a key”, developed with the help of a Spytunes student.

About me

Dan Lundholm wrote this guitar lesson on the open position chords.

This guitar lesson on the open-position chords was written by Dan Lundholm. Discover more about him and how learning guitar with Spytunes has evolved.

Most importantly, find out why you should learn guitar through playing tunes, not practising scales, and studying theory in isolation.

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