How Many Guitar Chords Are There?

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Trying to provide an answer to the question, “how many guitar chords are there” isn’t easy, to say the least.? If I attempt to answer this question I will provide an incomplete and inaccurate answer that will misguide many people trying to learn to play the guitar. My answer will be totally wrong or inaccurate because it depends on several variables such as:

  • The position of each chord on my guitar
  • The number of chords to count when using standard tuning

Besides, you might want to consider what is relevant when learning, the different types of guitar chords available, what they are, and how to use them properly. This is what I will explore in this article to enable you to understand the number of guitar chords available.

What Is a Chord?

I understand that if you are new to playing guitar, you might want to know what a chord is. In short, I usually define a chord as a group of notes that creates harmony whenever played together. I use two different ways to play a note on my guitar. Firstly, I hold the guitar string down at a specific fret on my guitar’s fingerboard. Alternatively, I play the string open without holding the frets down.

If you are using a basic guitar chord like mine, you would observe that some strings must be fretted, whereas others can be played open. The open chords are called “open chords,” I will explore some other chords in this write-up.

Types of Guitar Chords

Therefore, if you are ready, it’s time for me to show you the different types of guitar chords you should know. Instead of thinking about how many guitar chords are there, it is vital to know the types of chords.

  • Open vs. Barre Chords: Normally, this doesn’t refer to the different types of guitar chords but the process of playing the same chord. In playing an open chord, only one string is played. However, when using barre chords, all the fret strings are pressed using the index fingers.
  • Same Type Chord: This particular guitar chord has different chords but of the same type, like minor or major chords. For instance, E minor and A minor are different chords but are both minor chords.
  • Power Chords: Normally, a chord represent two or more notes with simultaneous sound. However, power chords are dyads (two notes).
  • Triads: This particular chord represents three notes that are stacked in intervals of thirds. There are four triads, including augmented, minor, major, and diminished.
  • Seventh chords: To create a 7th chord, you need to add a 7th interval to an existing triad. There are three common 7th chords – the dominant 7th, the minor 7th, and the major 7th.
  • Extended Chords: I usually use this chord when I want to play jazz. It’s a popular jazz chord you will find when playing your guitar. You need more thirds stacked above the seventh to create an extended chord.
  • Add chords: Another type of chord I want you to know is the add chords. It adds a new note, whereas the third isn’t removed.
  • Suspended chords: This particular chord occurs once a second interval is stacked rather than a third. In this case, the third note is either replaced by the fourth or second of the scale.
  • Slash chords: I like to call it the compound chord as it has a slash symbol with a bass note latter that paces through the root note letter. It symbolizes inversion or bass note. The lowest played note is known as the root note.
  • Altered chords: You will find these particular chords in jazz music. These chords usually have lowered or raised 5th or 9th At times, it can be both notes.
  • Equivalents: Similar to Amin7 and C6, I discovered some chords are made from the same notes. While you can interchangeably use them, the chords have different roles within the music industry.


Knowing how many guitar chords are there is not as important as knowing the different types of chords available. Beginners can feel overwhelmed learning the different chords available.

While learning many chords can be a daunting task, I believe the more you learn, the more confidence you gain. However, I recommend you focus on the popular chords and master them instead of worrying about the thousands of chords available.

Jim Henneberry

Jim Henneberry

I love playing my guitar, and my kids got hooked along with me.
This is a family thing now - why don't you join the family fun? :)