Learning guitar chords is the fastest and simplest way to start making music. Chords are combinations of notes grouped together, sounding the same on all guitars that use standard tuning.
Chord diagrams demonstrate where to place your fingers on the fretboard and which strings are being played. An ‘X’ indicates a muted (not played) string while an “O” signifies open strumming for that string.
A major chord is one of the fundamental building blocks in guitar music, consisting of your basic C and E notes in delicate combinations. Your fingers must align along an irregular path for this chord to work; initially this may prove challenging but your hands will adapt over time.
Be sure to explore our series on music theory to gain more insight into how chord voicings interact with other chords on the fretboard – this will make playing progressions much simpler with less finger movement!
Beginners often find the B minor chord to be challenging. It requires using one index finger to fret multiple strings simultaneously while muting the lower string. This may lead to buzzing within the chord; this problem can be overcome through practice and increased finger strength.
To play a B minor guitar chord, place your index finger along the second fret of A’s fifth string (and third fret of B). Place your middle finger along third fret of B second string.
Beginner guitarists tend to master this basic chord fairly quickly. To play it, position your index finger across all strings at fret 8.
Once your hands are in an E shape barre chord (fretting second and third fingers on string G), place them into an E shape barre chord with regular E strings, making sure each string chimes cleanly as you strumming all five strings.
D major is a popular chord shape on electric guitar, as its moveable chord shape eliminates open strings jangling against each other and can be muted and staccato’d effectively.
Utilize your 2nd finger to bar the 2nd fret from string 1 to string 2, before stretching your 4th finger over to mutes strings 5 and 6. This technique requires more stretching than previous versions but sounds amazing!
Cowboy chords, also known as open chords, require your index finger, middle finger and ring finger to press down on four strings and leave one string open – the bottom string being unplugged or unstruck.
E major is a standard chord in most songs and one of the first to learn by guitarists. Here it appears as a barre chord with first finger on G fret 1 and second finger on A fret 2.
Be mindful not to press too hard when playing barre chords as this will alter the sound and wear down your fingertips, leading to possible injury to your fingers. Strum each string one at a time until they all sound clear and unblemished.
F Major is often one of the first barre chords beginner’s struggle with due to its complex structure that requires them to use all six fingers on one fret at once to form this chord.
There are multiple easy ways to play this chord. The simplest version can be seen in Figure 5, using just fingers two, three and four; this voicing mutes the first string to make playing easier while losing some richness of sound.
G Major chords can be a tricky challenge for beginners. One of the most frequently used power chords, this shape requires excellent strumming technique so as to achieve clean sounds without any clanking notes or misfires.
An alternative solution is a thicker G major power chord that features an additional octave G note above the root G note on the third fret, creating a jazzier sound which will enhance covers from Ed Sheeran, Bruno Mars or AC/DC more effectively.
A Minor 7
As a beginner, you should start off learning standard shapes for minor 7 chords before progressing onto more complex ones like A minor blues scale or Phrygian mode chords. Once comfortable playing them, adding these types of chords will bring additional spice and creativity to songs using them.
Practice chords by playing them for four beats on, then off for one beat before quickly placing them back again – this will help develop finger dexterity. Although repetition can be tedious, this practice pays dividends!