Moveable Major Chords

Moveable major chords can be played all over the fretboard. They include open chords and barre chords and are available in different configurations depending on where you want to play the root notes and 5th notes... catering to all guitarists including left-handers.

The root note is the most important note of any chord or scale as it gives the chord its tonal characteristics. The 2nd most important note in a chord is the 5th or dominant note. That is why power chords have such strong characteristics, as they are based on the root (1) and 5th (5) notes of any given scale.

Many of the chords listed here utilize the CAGED system - 5 shapes or forms originating from each major open chord, namely C, A, G, E, D, hence the name.

All of the chords listed here enable us to play the same chord in a variety of positions with different voicings ...the entire fretboard is now open for business!

We include major chords with the root note on the 4th, 5th and 6th strings, as well as fifth notes on the 5th and 6th strings. It depends on your preference as well as where you are situated on the fretboard at any given time.

If you want to play a G Major chord with the root note on the 6th string, you need to locate the note 'G' on the 6th string (fret 3) and place your fingers accordingly as the charts suggest. If you want to play the same chord, but this time with a root note on the 5th string, you need to locate 'G' on the 5th string (fret 10), and follow the charts... the same applies if you want to play the root note on the 4th string (fret 5).

If you are playing high up on the fretboard and you need to play a chord which is normally some distance away, you can locate a closer chord by knowing the shape and location of the root note. This requires knowledge of the guitar notes, especially on the 4th, 5th, and 6th strings.

Legend: Numbers in the circles show fingers used to play each note.

Major Moveable Chords - Index

Moveable Major Chords

Root note on the 6th string

Right Handers
Major Moveable Chords - R6


Left Handers
Major Moveable Chords - R6- Lefties


  • If the root note is an E, the chord will be E major...
  • The most common chord here is the middle one - also the standard 'E' form or E-shape chord.
  • If you play the 1st and 3rd example make sure you omit the 'x'marked strings.
  • You would tend to use the first example with finger-picking techniques, as it is hard to strum a chord without hitting either the 1st or 5th strings.
  • In the 3rd example, you may find it easier to barre the first 4 strings. It really makes no difference as long as you don't play the first string... unless you play the first string mirroring the 4th finger - a standard G-shape chord. You will need to alter your finger positions so that your 4th finger will now be on the first string. This alternative is quite hard to play as it requires a fair stretch... much easier if you omit the 1st string as the chart suggests.
  • Remember, to use moveable chords you must know the notes on each fret. If you are using the chord charts above with the root note on the 6th string, you need to know the notes on each fret of the 6th string. The same applies to strings 4 and 5 with root notes on strings 4 and 5.

Moveable Major Chords

Moveable Major Chords for Left-Handers

Root note on the 5th string

Right Handers
Major Moveable Chords - R5


Left Handers
Major Moveable Chords - R5- Lefties


  • The most common chord here is the 1st chord - the standard A-shape chord.
  • If you decide not to use the optional notes, make sure you don't play the string.
  • The second example is a standard C-shape chord with the extra optional note which can also be played with the open C chord. It may be a little easier for some of you to play this chord with a full barre... it makes no difference because if you play the optional note, all strings are covered. If you do play a full barre, and don't play the optional note, don't play string 6... the same applies if you play the chord from the chart without the optional note.
  • The 3rd example is not commonly used, and a little awkward to play, but it can prove extremely useful in certain situations.
Root note on the 4th string

Right Handers
Major Moveable Chords - R5


Left Handers
Major Moveable Chords - R4- Lefties


  • The most common chord here is the 1st chord - the standard 'F' shape with an added optional note. This is a great chord to know, and a very popular movable chord - you will find yourself using it all the time.
  • The second chord is a standard D-shape chord. When used in other positions, the chord is played with fingers 2, 3 & 4 with the first finger pressing down on strings 4 & 5. You may find it more comfortable to barre the first 5 strings and avoid playing the 6th string.
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