“I think by drawing, so I'll draw or diagram everything from a piece of furniture to a stage gesture. I understand things best when they're in graphics, not words.”
- Robert Wilson
Chord diagrams are a very effective way of determining how to play chords. It’s that simple.
What we’ll use is a diagram that resembles tablature quite closely.
As you can see in the image above, we have a representation of the fretboard in a vertical fashion, with four visible frets. It’s possible to show as many frets as needed, though you’ll rarely see more than four.
You’ll also notice that the fretboard is displayed with the strings as would be in a right-handed guitar, but it’s also possible to flip it horizontally so as to reflect a left-handed guitar.
Let’s see how we represent a chord in this diagram.
The roman numbers on the left mark the fret number, which you can use to show a chord higher on the fretboard.
The 0’s on the top of the middle strings mean that they have to be played open (zero fret).
The circles over the strings show on which fret you need to press the string with your fingers, and the numbers inside show which finger has to be used (you can always change your fingering if you like, however).
Take a look at the next diagram.
If you take a look at the top of the 6th and 5th strings, there are X's. This means that those strings are not to be played.
And that’s it! That’s all to it.