Guitar Chords For Beginners

If you want to learn how to play guitar chords for beginners you’ve come to the right place! One of the best things to do when you’re first learning how to play the guitar is learn a few chords. It’s pretty amazing how many songs you can play with just these few basic chords, so this is a high value way to spend your time as a beginner. This lesson will teach you the easiest and most basic guitar chords for beginners. Each chord will have a corresponding chord chart and a picture so you can see what my fretting hand looks like when I’m fretting the chord.

The chords that we’re going to learn in this lesson are C Major, G Major, D Major, A Major, E Major, A minor and E minor.

C Major Chord Chart and Fingering

C Major Guitar Chord Fingering C Major Guitar Chord Chart

Note that we’re not playing the low E string when we play a C Major chord. Try playing the low E and you’ll see why it doesn’t work that well. The low E booms over the rest of the chord and makes it sound muddy.

The hardest thing about this chord (an many of the other chords, for that matter) is making sure that your fingers get up and over the strings so that none of them are muffled when you strum. Try building up to the full chord by playing each finger on its fret by itself, then two fingers at a time, then all three fingers.

G Major Chord Chart and Fingering

G Major Guitar Chord Fingering G Major Guitar Chord Chart

This is the most basic fingering of G Major. I’ve shown it using my third finger to fret the G on the high E string, but you can use your pinky if that feels more comfortable.

G Major (alternate fingering) Chord Chart and Fingering

G Major Guitar Chord Alternate Fingering G Major Alternate Guitar Chord Chart

This is an alternate fingering for G Major with a D on the third fret of the B string instead of an open B. Use your third finger on the B string and your pinky on the high E string. There is yet another variation which is a rock/pop/country guitar fingering where you don’t play the B on the second fret of the A string, but mute that string with your second finger. This produces a powerful sounding G chord which is neither major nor minor.

D Major Chord Chart and Fingering

D Major Guitar Chord Fingering D Major Guitar Chord Chart

Note that we’re not playing the low E or A strings with this fingering. There is an alternate rock guitar fingering for D where we don’t play the F# on the second fret of the high E string. This produces a D “power” chord that is neither major nor minor.

A Major Chord Chart and Fingering

A Major Guitar Chord Fingering A Major Guitar Chord Chart

I’ve shown one of the many ways to fret A major. You can use your index finger to bar all three second fret notes if that feels more comfortable. There’s also a classical guitar fingering where you bar the second fret of the D and G strings with your index finger and use your second finger to fret the C# on the second fret of the B string. This makes it much easier to let the open high E ring out. As with the G and D chords above, there is a “rock and roll” way to play A, and that is to only play the notes on the A, D and G strings (don’t play the low E, B or high E strings). This produces an A “power” chord which is neither major nor minor.

E Major Chord Chart and Fingering

E Major Guitar Chord Fingering E Major Guitar Chord Chart

Last among the major chords that we’ll learn in this lesson (but certainly not least) is E major. This chord can also be turned into a rock and roll “power” chord by only playing notes on the low E, A and D strings.

A Minor Chord Chart and Fingering

A Minor Guitar Chord Fingering A Minor Guitar Chord Chart

This is the first of our two minor chords for this lesson. Notice that while the major chords sound happy and powerful, this minor chord sounds sad. Also notice that this is another chord where we’re not going to play the low E string because it makes the chord sound muddy.

E Minor Chord Chart and Fingering

E Minor Guitar Chord Fingering E Minor Guitar Chord Chart

This is one of the easiest chords to fret because you only need two fingers. I’ve shown the fingering using my first and second fingers, but some players like to use their second and third fingers instead. As you get better you may end up fretting this chord differently depending on which chords come before and after it.

Putting Chords Together

Many popular songs can be played using just the chords in this lesson. You can also experiment with putting some of these chords together on your own. Here are a few popular chord progressions to get you started:

  • C Major – A Minor – G Major
  • D Major – G Major – A Major
  • A Major – D Major – E Major
  • G Major – D Major – E minor – C Major

Going Further:

Already mastered guitar chords for beginners? Then check out these lessons:

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