You’ve come to the perfect place if you’re a beginner looking to learn how to play guitar chords!
When you start playing the guitar, one of the first things you should do is learn a few simple chords.
It’s pretty amazing how many songs you can play with just these few basic guitar chords. And learning new songs is a terrific way to stay motivated. Particularly your favorites, as doing so will inspire you to practice.
This is one of the best ways to spend your time as a beginner. You will learn the basic but most fundamental guitar chords. There will also be a chart for each one to assist you. When playing them, you will see exactly how the fretting hand should be positioned.
Easy Guitar Chords for Beginners
If you are ready to get started, grab your guitar and let’s learn a few chords. Keep in mind that the numbered dots on the chord diagrams indicate which finger should be used. Here is the key:
- Index Finger
The easiest chords a beginner can learn are C, D, G, and E minor. These are the most basic chords that will help you get your fingers strengthened. I recommend that you work on them for 3 to 4 weeks before moving on to any others.
Put your index finger on the first fret of the second string to play the C Major chord. Your middle finger should be used to press the second fret on the fourth string. Additionally, apply pressure with your ring finger to the third fret of the fifth string.
The hardest thing about this chord is making sure that your fingers get up and over the strings. This is so that when you strum, none of them will be muted.
To progress to the entire chord, try playing each finger on its respective fret by itself. Then two fingers at a time, now all three. If you are not familiar with chord diagrams, you may have noticed the O over some of the strings. This means you play the string open when you strum. And any that have an X over them are not to be played.
The D major chord is one of the most commonly used chords in guitar playing. It’s a great foundational skill for any aspiring guitarist. Playing the D major chord requires placing three fingers in specific locations on the fretboard. With each finger playing a particular note.
To play D Major, position your fingers like this:
- Index finger on the 2nd fret of the third string.
- The middle finger on the 3rd fret of the second string.
- The ring finger on the 2nd fret of the first string.
Here we are not playing the fifth or sixth strings with this fingering. But make sure to strum the fourth string along with the lower three.
To get the right chord shape for G Major, place your fingers like this:
- Use your Index finger on the 2nd fret of the fifth string.
- Place your Middle finger on the 3rd fret of the sixth string.
- The Ring finger goes on the 3rd fret of the first string.
The simplest way to finger G Major is as shown here. I’ve demonstrated how to fret the G on the high E string using my third finger. But you can also use your pinky if it feels more natural to you. Don’t forget that the O indicates that the strings are being played open. This implies that for this chord, all strings will be strummed.
G major is a very important and popular chord. For beginners, you can use it in some simple songs like happy birthday.
Alternate G Major Chord Shape
This is an alternate shape for G Major with a finger on the third fret of the B string instead of open. Use your third finger on the B string and your pinky on the high E.
There is yet another variation, which is rock or country guitar fingering. Here, you don’t play the B on the second fret of the A string. Instead, mute that string with your second finger. This produces a powerful-sounding G chord, which is neither major nor minor.
This is one of the easiest chords to fret because you only need two fingers. I’ve shown the configuration using the first and second fingers. Some players like to use their second and third fingers instead.
As you get better, you may end up fretting this differently. This depends on which chords come before and after it. This can also be played with the index finger only and used as a power chord.
Songs to Play Using Easy Chords
Once you have a good grasp on these first 4 chords, there are many songs you can try to play to help change between them. These are a few of the songs we suggest you try and play to stay motivated and inspired.
- Eleanor Rigby by The Beatles
- Zombie by The Cranberries
- Sweet Home Alabama by Lynyrd Skynyrd
- All I Want Is You by U2
Additional Beginner Chords
Once you know the easier chords we mentioned above, there are a few more that are also great for beginners. But we suggest that you only begin working on these once you can play the first few we mentioned above.
This is one of the many ways to fret the A major chord. You can also use your index finger to bar all three-second fret notes if that feels more comfortable. But I suggest you practice it the way you see it on the guitar chord charts.
By using all 3 fingers crammed onto the second fret of each string, you will find it’s an easy chord to play. It’s also very popular to play, as you will see, it’s used in a lot of songs.
Asus2: An Alternative
While A Major is a very important chord to learn, it can be tough at first. Squeezing all 3 fingers in there onto one fret takes practice and accuracy. The Asus2 chord, like in the picture chart above, is an easy alternative that you can start with. This one only requires 2 fingers.
As you gain finger strength and accuracy, you can then work at mastering the A Major chord. But to start, I encourage you to work with the Asus2.
You can see that all strings except for the low E are open. So the challenge will be to prevent striking the low E with your pick. But don’t worry too much if you do, the focus is getting more comfortable with chords and finger placement.
The F Major chord can be a bit difficult because you need to bar the first and second strings at fret one. Then use your middle finger and press the 2nd fret of the third string. The ring finger will need to be placed on the third fret of the fourth string to complete the chord.
Last among the major chords that we’ll learn in this lesson is E. This is another simple 3 finger chord shape that plays all the strings.
To play E Major, put your index finger on the first fret of the third string. The middle finger will press the second fret of the fifth string. And finally, the ring finger will press the second fret of the fourth string.
A minor is another relatively easy chord to play. It should also be evident that this chord resembles the C Major that we looked at earlier in this article. These 2 chords are so similar that changing between them is easy. They should be practiced for finger strength exercises.
A Minor 7: An Easy Alternative
A minor can be a tough chord for a beginner because of the 3 finger placement. It’s easy to trip up the positioning initially. The difficulty here is on the high side.
An easier version is the A minor 7. This is an excellent way to get started with an A minor. And because it’s so similar to a C major, switching between them will be easier as well. With A Minor 7, you will strum all strings except for the 6th.
The last of our minor chords for this lesson is D. This one utilizes your three primary fingers, like the D major. However, the minor requires a different placement.
We are striking the same strings and muting the Low E and A like the major. But as you can see, the chord shape is different. If you are taking advantage of the D major power chord positioning, it’s easy to switch between the two. You would simply use your first finger to move between the major and minor.
This can also be great practice. It’s a good indicator that the fingers you use in certain places on the fretboard matter. Make sure to use your fret markers for accuracy!
When you begin to practice the chords, there are a couple of ways to start. First, position your fingers on the strings according to the diagrams. Then, pluck each string one at a time. Here you are checking that each one rings out as it should. If one of the notes does not sound, it might be muted by another finger. Adjust them accordingly until they all sound.
Next, attempt to switch between some of the very easy ones. Keep a certain beat or tempo as you do, but pace yourself correctly. Use a metronome if you have one. This will help you to memorize the chords and strengthen your fingers at the same time.
Working on these chords with a great learning plan will train your fingers and muscle memory. They are very easy, and after a few months should be simple to perform by memory.
And because they are part of many easy guitar songs, they are a great inspiration to keep pushing forward. This is a journey, so patience and a solid plan are key. We will do our best to help you with guides, guitar chord charts, and practice tips!
More learning: How many guitar chords are there?