- Chord diagrams mark which finger to use by using a number. Number 1 indicates the index or pointing finger, number 2 is the middle finger, number 3 is the ring finger and number 4 is the baby or small finger.
- The thumb is not used to play any chords.
- An “x” above the string in a chord diagram means that you don’t play that string. It’s not part of the chord.
- An “o” above the string means that the string is strummed and is to ring with the other strings.
- The 1st string (the thinnest) is actually called the top string because it is the highest sounding string. The 6th string (the thickest) is called the bottom string because it has the lowest sound. This sounds a little confusing but just remember that the reference is strictly referring to how high the notes sound.
It’s very important to remember that the 1st string is the thinnest string. When you break a string (and you will), knowing this will ensure that you’ll get the correct replacement string from the music store.
The Best Position For the Thumb
The normal and best position for your thumb is as in the photo on the back of the guitar neck. Although it looks as if players are gripping the guitar, with your thumb in this position your fingers are are actually squeezing the notes.
Use the recommended finger patterns. The reasons will become apparent as you learn. Press the strings with your fingertips. There are a few exceptions such as the F chord. With the F chord you use the inside of your 1st finger to cover both the 1st and 2nd strings. You then use your fingertips to press the rest of the strings.