These 6 guitar chords are great for classic rock – and more besides

UNITED STATES - JUNE 01: Photo of LED ZEPPELIN; Jimmy Page performing live onstage, playing Gibson Les Paul guitar
(Image credit: Robert Knight Archive/Redferns/Getty Images)

While these six chords are great choices for classic rock styles, the truth is they're useful for all kinds of players to learn. 

Note the slash chords’ alternative bass notes here (notes shown after the / mark), giving a subtly different feel to basic major chords. For example, D5 and A/C# is the kind of move you’ll hear in Queen’s One Vision. 

Use two-, three- or four-note shapes and pick firmly for a tight, focused rock-style delivery. Alternatively, make use of the open sixth string in the E and D/E chords for a weightier impact, the way Jimmy Page does in Led Zeppelin’s roof-raising classic Whole Lotta Love.


(Image credit: Future)


(Image credit: Future)

Tone tips: Aim for the mid-rich overdrive tones of '70s rock here - that’s before the high-gain madness of the '80s and '90s really kicked in, so keep the drive at a medium level for authenticity. 

Classic rock track 

This '70s rock-style example is a cross between the Rolling Stones and Aerosmith, but also in the territory of Paul Kossoff of Free. 

A slash chord puts an alternative bass note at the bottom of a chord, giving it a slightly different feel. This is great for creating riffs, as you will hear!

Click on the top right of the tab to enlarge it 

(Image credit: Future)

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