Guitar Cheat Sheet

Whether you’re practicing scales, writing a song, or brushing up on some musical theory, every guitarist could benefit from having an easy-to-reference cheat sheet nearby. As for myself, I keep one pinned to the wall.

This page is designed to be the ultimate online guitar cheat sheet for quick reference. You can bookmark it in your browser and refer to it anytime. This page will include the Circle of Fifths, scale degrees, common chord progressions, chord diagrams, fretboard notes and scale diagrams.

More detailed cheat guides for guitar and music theory are available for free download as well. Enjoy!

(Click Here to download Guitar Goblin’s more extensive PDF Cheat Sheet for Guitar)

The Circle of Fifths

Circle of Fifths Cheat Sheet
The Circle of Fifths is an excellent tool that quickly illustrates the relationship between each of the 12 tones in the chromatic scale, separated by perfect fifths (moving clockwise) and perfect fourths (moving counterclockwise). The inner circle represents minor keys. It’s often used for transposing music, identifying chord progressions and improvising. We’ve highlighted the key of C in this example. You can compare it to the Scale Degree Chart below for help in understanding.

Scale Degree Chart

KeyI
(Major)
ii
(Minor)
iii
(Minor)
IV
(Major)
V
(Major)
vi
(Minor)
vii°
(Diminished)
AABC#DEF#G#
A#A#CDD#FGA
BBC#D#EF#G#A#
CCDEFGAB
C#C#D#FF#G#A#C
DDEF#GABC#
D#D#FGG#A#CD
EEF#G#ABC#D#
FFGABbCDE
F#F#G#A#BC#D#F
GGABCDEF#
G#G#A#CC#D#FG
This chart represents the notes and chords within each major key, their scale degrees represented in Roman Numerals, and whether the Chord is a Major or Minor. For instance, the A Major Scale has the notes A, B, C#, D, E, F#, and G#. To play a I, IV, V chord progression in the key of A, you would play the Chords A Major, D Major and E Major. In terms of chord structure, knowing that a major chord is composed of the 1st (Root), 3rd and 5th notes of the major scale, an A Major Chord would use the notes A, C# and E.

Popular Chord Progressions

Chord Progression
(Roman Numerals)
Nashville (Numbers)Song ExampleSong Part Featuring Progression
I-IV-V1-4-5Johnny B. Goode” by Chuck BerryMain Riff/Chorus
I-V-vi-IV1-5-6-4Let It Be” by The BeatlesVerse
ii-V-I2-5-1Black Magic Woman” by SantanaChorus
I-IV-vi-V1-4-6-5Don’t Stop Believin‘” by JourneyChorus
I-vi-IV-V1-6-4-5Every Breath You Take” by The PoliceVerse
vi-IV-I-V6-4-1-5Under the Bridge” by Red Hot Chili PeppersChorus
I-V-IV1-5-4La Bamba” by Ritchie ValensMain Riff/Chorus
I-III-IV-V1-3-4-5Summer of ’69” by Bryan AdamsChorus
I-IV-ii-V1-4-2-5Sweet Child o’ Mine” by Guns N’ RosesBridge
vi-ii-V-I6-2-5-1Wonderwall” by OasisPre-Chorus
I-VI-II-V1-6-2-5Hotel California” by The EaglesVerse
This chart lists some of the most popular and catchy chord progressions and a song example for each. This can help you when trying to find the right chord change to reflect the mood of a song you’re writing. Or it could spark an idea for a new song altogether!

Also, check out this article on 1-4-5 Chord Progressions.

Guitar Fretboard

Guitar Fretboard with all notes from frets 1-15.
This diagram lists all your notes in standard tuning from the 1st fret to the 15th fret. Remember that the notes just repeat themselves up the fretboard starting on the 12th fret.

Basic Chords

A Major

A Major Chord with finger labels

A Minor

A Minor Chord

B Major

B Major Chord with Finger Numbering

B Minor

B Minor Chord Fingering

C Major

C Major Chord Diagram

C Minor

C Minor Chord diagram

D Major

D Major Chord Diagram

D Minor

D Minor Guitar Diagram

E Major

E Major Chord Diagram

E Minor

E Minor Chord

F Major

F Major Fingers

F Minor

F Minor chord

G Major

G Major Chord

G Minor

G Minor Chord

Major and Minor Barre Chords

E Shaped Major

E Shaped Major Barre Chord

E Shaped Minor

E Shaped Minor Barre Chord

A Shaped Major

A Shaped Major Barre Chord

A Shaped Minor

A Shaped Minor Barre Chord

Popular Scales

Major Scale (Ionian Mode)

The G Major Scale
This scale illustration is in the key of G Major, which is a diatonic scale (7 notes). The major scale is also known as the Ionian Mode.

Major Pentatonic Scale

Major Pentatonic Scale
This scale illustration is in the key of G Major Pentatonic. The Major Pentatonic removes the 4th and 7th degrees from the Major Scale, producing a 5-note scale (penta= Five).

Also, check out “Tackling The Major Pentatonic Scale – Everything You Need to Know“.

Natural Minor Scale (Aeolian Mode)

Natural Minor Scale Diagram
This scale illustration is in the key of G minor, which is also the Aeolian Mode. The Natural Minor Scale flattens the 3rd, 6th and 7th degrees of the Major Scale.

Minor Pentatonic Scale

Minor Pentatonic Scale
This scale illustration is in the key of G Minor Pentatonic. This scale removes the 2nd and b7th of the Natural Minor (or Aeolian) scale.

Also, check out this article series on “Learning the Minor Pentatonic Scale“.

Conclusion

This Guitar Cheat Sheet should provide you with just about anything you need as a quick reference during practice or songwriting. For more detailed cheat sheets that include other chord types, scales and individual scale patterns you are welcome to one of our free downloadable resources.

Don’t forget to bookmark and check back for future updates!

The fretboard diagrams in this article were made using Guitar Scientist.

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