Crash Course Chords 


You will have come across the term 'root position' and the word 'major' in the same sentence quite a bit when playing chords, but do you really understand what it all means and how it works on the fretboard?

Here is a simple guide to everything you need to know about root position major chords...

What is a chord?

Let's start at the top! By definition, a chord is two or more notes played simultaneously. As you will notice, all of the root position chords noted below are comprised of three or more notes using 3-4 fingers, this is because we are playing Triads. A triad is three notes that when played together give the chord its qualities that we hear in pretty much all music and the type of chords our ears will relate to easily when we hear them played.

A root position chord simply means the first version of a chord. We can play chords in different positions along the neck and we can play altered versions of the same chords, but the first versions of the major chords are played using frets 1-4.

These type of chords are reffered to are root position triads, meaning that they are the purest type of major chords.

Below are visual diagrams on how to play these root position major chords.

What is Root Position?
The Major Chords...

Refer to The Essentials tutorial for a step by step guide on how to read chord charts:

Fretted notes:

3rd finger: A string

2nd finger: D string

!st finger: B string

Fretted notes:

3rd finger: B string

2nd finger: G string

!st finger: D string

Fretted notes:

3rd finger: D string

2nd finger: A string

!st finger: G string

Fretted notes:

3rd finger: B string

2nd finger:Top E string

!st finger: D string

Fretted notes:

3rd finger: D string

2nd finger: G string

!st finger: B string

*Become familiar with the pictured version, and over time begin to barre with your first finger like it is notated

Fretted notes:

4th finger: Top E string

3rd finger: B string

2nd finger: Bottom E string

!st finger: A string

The Theory Explained...

From a theory point of view, the key note in a major chord is the major third. Think of chords as different types of sandwiches:

  • The bread is your root (the part of the chord that gives it's name i.e. C,E,A...)

  • The filling is your third (the part of the chord that tells you if its major or minor)

  • The sauce is the dominant/fifth (the part of the chord that gives the texture or the "umph!", as i like to say)



*TOP TIP: Whenever you hear the word MAJOR in music think of bright, happy and cheerful sounds.

Crash Course Chords (minor) soon to follow!


Dominant/ Fifth 

Major third