How many open chords do you know right now?

From time to time it’s always worth checking your current level of knowledge related to guitar. Knowing how much (or how little) you know about a certain area helps you identify any strengths or weaknesses you can work on. So take five minutes now to work out how many chords you really¬†know. Not how many you think you know, but how many you have memorized.

To do this properly you need to take a piece of paper (or open a program to type notes) and pick up your guitar.

  1. Without looking at any reference material start on A and play all the chords based on A you can think of.
  2. Once you play a chord, write down the chord name. If you don’t know the proper chord name, then you can’t write it down. Alternatively, if you know the chord name but can’t remember the finger positions, you can’t write it down because you haven’t properly memorized it.
  3. Once you have played all the chords you can think of based on A, move on to B.
  4. Continue this pattern all the way from A to G (don’t worry about any chords such as D# or F# as we are just focusing on standard open chords)

Once you have your list of chords, count the total for each note grouping. Add up the total open chords.

To give you an idea of the number of basic chords to compare your memory to, below is the total number of chords in the 50 Essential Chords Pack by note name.

Chords based on A: 8

Chords based on B: 4

Chords based on C: 7

Chords based on D: 9

Chords based on E: 9

Chords based on F: 5

Chords based on G: 8

Keep in mind that there are of course more possible chords than what is listed above. This will just give you an idea what areas you know well and which areas you need to work on.

For example: say you can think up of only 5 chords based on E and you know 6 chords based on B. Now you know you need to learn a few more chords on E and you also know you have a good understanding of chords based on B.

After you compare your results to the list above, make a note to learn a few more chords in the areas you fall short in.

Take five minutes to complete the steps above and you will gain insight to your current understanding of open chords. Repeat this simple test in a month and compare your results again.

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