Open chords refer to chords that have at least one played string free of fingers, in other words an open string. Hence the term open chords. Most of the open chords produce vibrant sounds with extended sustain. By the end of this lesson you should be able to play and recognize chords in the keys of A, C, D, E, and G.
The Open A Chord
We will start by describing the A chord. Notice how you are using the first three fingers of your left hand. Guitar players with relatively big hands might find this particular variation of the chord challenging because of the tight fit. We will discuss other inversions and voicings that will be more suitable for quitarists with big hands; but this variation is important to cover for the purpose of this lesson.
The "E", "A" and "e" strings do not have fingers assigned to them; however, the guitarist should only play five of the six strings. The "E" strings has an "X" assigned at the nut; which means that this particular string is mutted or silenced. Contrary to the "A" and "e" strings which have an "0" assigned to them at the nut, which means that this string needs to be strummed. Of course, all strings that have a finger assigned to them must be strummed.
The Open C Chord
The C chord is quite a stretch. I encourage you try this chord as it is very fun and it's variations are relatively simple to accomplish from this inversion.
Make sure not to play the "E" string when strumming.
The Open D Chord
The D chord is perhaps one of the easiest chords to play. You'll find it relatively easy to remember, just make sure not to play.
The Open E Chord
Notice that there are no mutted strings with the E chord. We will discuss further this chord in other lessons. The E chord is the deepest sounding chord in a normal tunned guitar. We will discuss alternate tunning on the advanced section of this site.
The Open G Chord
As we already saw in the C chord, the G chord is also a stretch.