Chord diagrams are a useful way of representing chord shapes and their fingerings. To get the most from Fender Songs you will need to be able to understand them.
Here's an example of a C major chord diagram:
Before we start converting lines and dots into shapes and fingerings though, we first need to orientate ourselves. Let’s take a look at a blank diagram and build from there:
The thick line at the top represents the guitar’s nut. The nut is the creamy white bar on your guitar where the headstock meets the fretboard. The horizontal lines below the nut in the diagram represent the metal frets on your fretboard. The vertical lines running down the diagram represent the six strings on your guitar. The leftmost vertical line represents the 6th string, the thickest one that's closest to your head. (low E)
Now that we have orientated ourselves, let’s go back to that C Major diagram!
The orange dots on the diagram show you where to place your fingers on the fretboard and the numbers above the nut indicate which fingers should be used. The numbering starts with your index finger (1) and ends with your pinky (4). On rare occasions you might see a 't' indicating that you should use your thumb.
Displaying fingerings can be toggled on and off in settings.
1) Access settings by clicking the following icon.
2) Scroll down to 'Show Fingering' and toggle it on. (green is on)
So, using the C major diagram above we know that our 3rd finger should be placed on the 3rd fret of the 5th string, (the A string) our 2nd finger should be placed on the 2nd fret of the 4th string (the D string) and our index finger should be placed on the 1st fret of the 2nd string (the B string).
But what about the the 6th, 3rd and 1st strings that aren't being 'fretted'? Whenever we see an 'O' it's telling us that that string should be left open to ring out. 'X's indicate that the string should not be sounded, so we can either mute it or avoid playing it at all.
So far we've worked within the first four frets of the guitar. What happens when we want to learn a chord that's 'fretted' further down the neck of the guitar though? There are only 4 frets in the diagram.. Well, that's where fret numbering comes in handy! Fret markers are used to identify what area of the neck is being represented in the chord diagram.
Let's take a look at a C major barre chord for example:
Notice the '8' to the left of the 1st fret in the diagram. This 8 indicates that the 1st fret in the diagram is actually representing the 8th fret on your guitar.
The fret closest to the nut on your guitar is fret 1. As you move further down the guitar, the numbering increases. So, in order to play this C Major barre chord on your guitar you will need to 'fret' the shape shown in the chord diagram at the 8th fret.