How many guitar chords are there

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As you learn to play the guitar, it makes sense for you to start off small. First, there are single notes. You learn where they are on the guitar and how you can play them. 

Then come some simple shapes. And when the chords and shapes get more complex, many of us start to wonder — how many different guitar chords are there?

The shortest answer would be too many to bother counting, even if we are talking about standard tuning. But to give you some perspective and actually help your learning process, we will break down the most common types of guitar chords.

How many barre chords are there

Those can’t be really considered as different chords, but just different ways of playing the same chord.

Most of the time barre chords are variations of open chords. Open chords, as the name suggests, contain one or more strings that are played open, while with barre chords you have to use your index finger to cover all the strings on a particular fret. That shape is called barre, giving the name to the chord.

Here you can take a look at the same chord, but played in different manners: on the left, you have an open shape, and on the right, it is a barre chord.

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Even though the shapes are completely different, you are hitting the same notes, so the chords will sound nearly identical. In the case with the Am chord from the picture, those notes are A, C, and E.

The minor difference in sound between an open and a barre chord occurs because you play those notes in different octaves.

Like any other chord, barre chords are named after the root note of a particular chord.

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How many major chords are there in guitar

Major chords are fundamental shapes that aspiring musicians have to learn. Most other chords are usually considered as variations of major or minor chords.

The major chord always consists of three notes or pitches. The chord is named after the root note of the shape, which gives us 7 major chords in total — one for every pitch.

The names of the major chords are written with single letters — so it doesn’t matter if you write the chord as A or AM. In some cases, you may find major chords with the letter “M” written in uppercase, but it makes no difference whatsoever.

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How many minor chords are there on in the guitar

Minor chords can be easily recognized in writing — they’re named with the letter of a root note and a letter “m” in lowercase. For instance, the minor type of A chord is named A minor of Am.

To form a minor chord, start by finding a major chord. To do this, find the 1st, the 3rd, and the 5th note on the scale. From here, move the 3rd note down by a half step, and there you have your minor chord.

How many minor chords are there on in the guitar

As well as with the major chords, there is a minor chord for each pitch. Therefore, there are 7 minor chords in total on the guitar.

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Conclusion

Those are fundamental chord types that you need to know. Most of the songs are written using those shapes, so before learning to play your favorite tune you will need to master those chords and know where they are on the fretboard.

In total, you can play 5 thousand chords on the guitar. The fundamental ones are 7 major and 7 minor chords that every guitar player should definitely know. Most musicians usually rely on a couple of hundreds of chords, which is enough to play almost every song imaginable.

But those are not mandatory to learn. All you have to do is to recognize common shapes, know your way around the fretboard, and understand different types of chords such as major/minor chords, barre chords, power chords, etc. 

This will be enough for you to play a ton of songs and even write your own. As your skill will naturally grow, you will start to master more difficult shapes and variations. Good luck!

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FAQ

How many chords should a song have?

As many or as few as you wish. Some of the pop, punk, or rock songs might have only 3 or 4. But there are also such artists as Elton John or the Beatles who were known to use a lot of chords in their songs.

In what order should I learn guitar chords?

The best way to start is learning basic open chords such as A, C, D, E, G, Am, and Em. Then you can try to master more advanced open chords like B. Then try your best at barre chords.

What are the different types of guitar chords?

The most common types of guitar chords are:
Major chords;
Minor chords;
Open chords;
Barre chords;
Power chords;
7th chords;
Extended chords;
Suspended chords;
Slash chords.

Can you play all guitar chords in an open position?

Technically it is possible, but from the practical point of view some of them might not sound good. Sometimes the voicing can be off, or the overall sound of the chord might not suit your song.

How many chords do you need to know to play the guitar?

Since some of the simple songs might have as few as 2 chords, you don’t have to know a huge number of shapes to have fun playing or learn some tunes. As you learn new songs or try to write your own, you will stumble upon new shapes and learn them gradually.

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