The small number to the left of each diagram represents the fret number, telling you where the chord is to be played. I always indicate the lowest fret in the diagram, but it is NOT necessarily the lowest-sounding note in the chord!!! It may or may not be the bass note of the chord, and it may or may not be the root of the chord. Simply find the lowest fretted note in the grip itself.

Each diagram represents a measure. If the time signature is 4/4, then each chord will last for 4 counts. If we are in 3/4, then each chord will last for 3 counts, etc.

Slashes above the diagrams indicate the number of beats each chord is to be played for. One slash = 1 beat, 2 slashes = 2 beats, etc. If confused, you can always go back to the lead sheet of the tune and check that the added number of beats amount to complete measures on the chart.

Since no rhythm is indicated, you may play anything you want, as long as it is within the indicated duration of each chord.

Always play the basic chord first, with all of the dots. Then, if applicable, you may play the added notes:

an X means the note is played AFTER the rest of the chord, preferably when the chord is still ringing.

a SQUARE means the note is played after an X. If a dot is inside a square, play the dot first, then the X, then go back to the note in the square.

a TRIANGLE means the note is played after a SQUARE.

a TIE means a note is to be held from one diagram to the next, without lifting the finger.

a CIRCLE is basically an optional note. I think of it as "and/or": I can either play the circled note AFTER the chord (creating a melodic line within the chord) or have the circled note REPLACE the one that is on the same string.

an O above a string refers to an open string. Use your personal preference as to how necessary the open string is to the chord.

to summarize:

DOT = 1st

X = 2nd

SQUARE = 3rd


(this system was basically developed by Ted Greene)

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