Beginner Guitar Chords to Learn

Beginners guitarists must begin with basic chords – known as triads – which can be formed by selecting three alternate notes from your scale.

C to D is an easily played triad, making it accessible even to novice players. This chord has a playful sound and can often be found in popular songs.


Triads are among the easiest chords to learn on the fretboard and should be one of your first shapes to learn. Triads consist of three separate notes and can easily be identified despite octave doublings or open spacing (Example 12).

Once you’ve memorized these basic triad shapes, experiment by substituting triads for full chords to see how they sound. With your newfound knowledge of triads you can also start dissecting and understanding chords; for instance you could take any major chord and use triad formulas to locate its root, major third and perfect fifth components; this approach will enable more fluid chord progressions while creating cool new sounds!

Major Chords

Major chords provide a great place for beginners to begin learning music. Their easy to grasp structures make them accessible in many songs!

G major, C major and D major are all excellent beginning chords that can be found in most songs, making them easy to play using an undulating down-up-down strumming pattern.

Practice correct finger placement for each chord to achieve clear sounding chords and avoid buzzing or dead/muted strings. If there is buzzing or dead/muted strings, adjust finger positions accordingly and try again.

Learning chord diagrams will also prove helpful when transposing into different keys! Being able to recognize which fret and string each chord uses will allow for faster transposition!

Minor Chords

Minor chords possess a melancholic quality that often serves to heighten contrast and create tension within songs or chord progressions. Minor 6 and minor major 7 chords are two very commonly-found minor chords found throughout popular songs.

An effective way of learning chords is through the use of a chord chart or sheet. A chart will outline all the strings and frets where your fingers should press down with each finger, as well as telling you which finger should be on each fret.

First timers may find it challenging to differentiate between Major and Minor chords, but with practice you will soon become adept at quickly landing on the appropriate strings and frets, speeding up your process of chord creation.

Major Scales

No matter your genre or musical goals, learning major scales is integral to understanding the fretboard and playing chords. Think of scales as being made up of “positions” containing different patterns and root notes that can be moved around to fit various keys on the neck.

Position 1 includes three root note patterns forming a triangle shape on the fretboard and connecting with positions above and below it through shared notes. Practice shifting between box patterns while playing them at an octave higher volume to get familiar with moving these shapes up and down the fretboard.

By understanding movable scale shapes, you can begin navigating the fretboard confidently and understanding chord construction from a scale perspective – this will provide a solid base upon which to build your guitar playing improvisational abilities.

Minor Scales

Minor scales are essential to serious improvisational music. Repetition is the best way to imbed them into memory; practice each shape multiple times before switching gears and moving onto another one.

Positions 3 and 5 contain multiple root notes on multiple strings, so these shapes may take more practice to master than others. Start slowly, beginning by playing them ascending or descending before progressing further.

Every major key has an equivalent in the minors. To locate it, start at the tonic of a major scale in question and count down one minor third (three half steps). This method works equally well for minor pentatonic as well as melodic minor scales.