Vital major chords

Animated Vital major chords tab by ActionTab on guitar. So easy you'll be playing in minutes.

This is from the Theory section on Chords. These are the most common and important major chords to know.

We start with the E major chord and work our way up through the others. There are some popular variations of certain chords which we also play here for you to learn.

Notice that some chords involve muting or omitting strings. When strumming it is often easier to mute unwanted strings using the thumb from the other side of the neck (cyan dot with M in it). This means that if you overstrum, the string is muted and won't affect your chord. This is easier than trying to skip the unwanted strings with your strumming hand, particularly when strumming quickly.

1st chord is E major (triad: E, G#, B)
Strum (lowest to highest): Low E - B - E - G# - B - E

2nd chord is G major (triad: G, B, D)
Strum (lowest to highest): G - B - D - G - B - G

3rd chord is a popular G major alternative (triad: G, B, D)
Strum (lowest to highest): G - B - D - G - D - G

4th chord is A major (triad: A, C#, E)
Strum (lowest to highest): x - A - E - A - C# - E

5th chord is B major (triad: B, D#, F#)
Strum (lowest to highest): x - B - F# - B - D# - F#

Notice that this chord is just like the previous A major chord - just all the notes are moved up by 2 frets. This is a classic barre chord. Go here learn about barre chords and how they work. (Basically we can use an A major shape, and move it up to play any other chord if we move this B major shape up by 1 more fret we will get C major, up by 2 frets to get D major and so on. This works because the 1st finger acts like the nut of the guitar, or like a capo).

6th chord is C major (triad: C, E, G)
Strum (lowest to highest): x - C - E - G - C - E

7th chord is a popular C major alternative (triad: C, E, G)
Strum (lowest to highest): G - C - E - G - C - E

Here we add a G note by playing it on the bass string. This is a popular way to play the C major chord because the extra bassy G adds a little more depth to the sound.

8th chord is D major (triad: D, F#, A)
Strum (lowest to highest): x - x - D - A - D - F#

notice that here we omit / mute the 2 lower strings.

9th chord is F major (triad: F, A, C)
Strum (lowest to highest): x - x - F - A - C - F

notice that here we also omit / mute the 2 lower strings. Really this chord shape is just a partial E barre chord shape (see below)...

10th chord is a popular F major alternative (triad: F, A, C)
Strum (lowest to highest): F - C - F - A - C - F

Just like the B major we looked at earlier, this is also a barre chord. Look at the first chord in this ActionTab (E major) and then this F chord, and you can see they are exactly the same - EXCEPT for the F, everything is moved up by 1 fret (the 1st finger acts like the nut or a capo). Some chords are best played as barre chords like this, as the finger positions are much easier. B major, F, F# major are good examples of this (to play F# major just move the F shape we play here up by 1 more fret).

Also if you look at the first F major chord again, you can see that it is actually just a partial way of playing the full F major barre chord!

Even if you don't understand all the barre chord stuff, don't worry - those things will make more sense over time as you work through this site. Just make sure that you practice these chords and learn their names. They are ESSENTIAL for guitar playing. If you are new to guitar, they may seem impossible, but stick at them - with practice your fingers will get stronger and quicker!

Oops! You need Flash 9+ and Javascript enabled

In order to view this ActionTab preview you need a web browser with Flash 9 or higher and Javascript. If this is your first time visiting you should be seeing a blue animated fretboard. If you feel your system meets these requirements but it still isn't working get in touch and we'll see if we can help.

Unfortunately Adobe Flash isn't supported on Apple's iPhone and iPad. If you are using a device running on Google Android you will be able to use Flash. Click on the Adobe Flash button below to download it.