How to Read Horizontal Chord Lines on a Guitar

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Horizontal lines on chord diagrams for the guitar are designed to be read in a very specific way. Find out how you can read horizontal chord lines on a guitar with help from a Los Angeles-based guitar player in this free video clip.

Part of the Video Series: How to Be a Versatile Guitarist
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Video Transcript

I'm Marcus Gerakos. I'm a guitarist based here in LA. I do a lot of film and television work here. And today I'm going to talk about how to read Horizontal lines on chord diagrams for the guitar. First of all you've probably, you've all seen these. Basically there are diagrams where you have the guitar represented vertically, right. If you see a thick line at the top of the diagram, that stands for the nut, that's this part, the next horizontal line would be fret one, feet two, fret three. Usually these might be, might encapsulate three or four frets at the most, maybe five if you're doing something let's say like a scale shape or a chord shape that spans that far. But just remember that the strings are represented vertically. Here is E6 to your left, and then A5 to the right of that, D4, G3, B2, E1. You'll find E6 at the left of your diagram and E1 to the right. All right. Horizontally, these are for the frets, fret one, fret two, fret three, in this case if you're playing in an open position. OK. Let's say you were isolating something in the seventh position. You would see a number 7 to the side of the diagram telling you where it is. That means the next horizontal line would be fret 8, for example, fret 9, fret 10, fret 11, however far the chord diagram spans. So, basically there's two variations on this. You either have a thick line here at the top which, which means that this is the nut, you're in open position, or you'll have a number, number 7, number 9 which tells you where the chart begins. So once again, horizontal lines are frets and the vertical lines are the strings going from E6 to E1. I'm Marcus Gerakos. This has been interpreting the horizontal lines on a chord diagram.

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