If you’re beginning your guitar journey, you probably feel a little intimidated by chords. Just looking at a guitarist position their fingers in such ways just looks plain unnatural.
And, when you first try these chords, you will feel uncomfortable. But, with time and practice, you will be able to play chords with absolute ease.
Chords are key to music. Whether you’re playing piano or guitar, chords make up every song in existence.
That is why it’s fundamentally important to learn chords when you pick up the guitar. With countless different chords and variations out there, it can blow your mind when trying to tackle some.
That is why you should start with beginner chords. While these are not easy at first, you will soon discover that you can play each chord with a committed practice routine.
Guitar chords require specific finger placements and a certain strength to hold the notes. Yes, it will feel uncomfortable at first but every guitarist has been there from Jimi Hendrix to Ed Sheeran.
In today’s blog, we will be guiding you through the 10 chords every new guitarist should learn. Think of these chords as a springboard into the more intricate world of guitar playing.
Once you learn the chords below, you will be set and able to play along with most of your favorite tracks.
First, What Exactly Is A Guitar Chord?
Before we delve into the mysterious world of guitar chords, we should probably find out what a chord is. In simple terms, a basic guitar chord is a set of notes that are played at the same time or simultaneously.
There are always at least two basic guitar notes in a chord. One is the root note. This is the lowest note and foundation to every chord and is responsible for the key of the chord.
For instance, a G major chord will have a G root note and a C major will have a C root note. The chord is built upon the G or C note resulting in the G or C chord.
Think of the building blocks of a home. Without these, the whole structure would just fall down.
Well, chords are the building blocks for music. They are the foundation of every song and help to structure music.
When you think of a chord, you may think of one strum over all of the strings at once. While this is technically true, some strings are not always used in certain chords. Instead, they are muted.
This is when you do not want that string or note to make a noise so you mute it with either your fingers or where you place your pick.
A common mistake many beginning guitarists make is to jump into the deep end of guitar solos. They want to emulate their guitar heroes like Van Halen who shred the guitar like there is no tomorrow.
While solos look and sound awesome, you shouldn’t tackle these until you have learned some basic guitar chords and progressions.
Chords are hugely important in most aspects of music. Solos are not. Chords help to maintain a rhythm to a song and form the basis of an entire track.
This is why it is critical for beginners to not only learn what the chords are but to memorize them including where their fingers should be positioned each time.
This is why you must learn where the different notes are on a guitar’s fretboard before plunging into chords. Once you know the notes, you can then practice chords.
Quick tip – The 6 strings of a guitar are E-A-D-G-B-E. The notes run in the same sequence as any musical instrument – A-A#-B-C-C#-D-D#-E-F-F#-G-G#. So, on the lowest E string (the thickest), the notes from fret one will be F-F#-G-G#-A-A#-B-C-C#, etc.
You can learn the chords on your own or with the help of online videos.
However, we highly recommend using a guitar teacher as an experienced guitarist will be able to show you, one-to-one, each chord in detail.
Basic Guitar Chords For Beginners
Remember, you must know the names of each string of the guitar before you tackle chords.
This will help you understand the harmonics between each string so you can strum a full chord.
The strings are:
- 6th string – Low E (thickest string and regarded as the top string)
- 5th string – A
- 4th string – D
- 3rd string – G
- 2nd string – B
- 1st string – High E (thinnest string and regarded as the bottom string)
If you’re struggling to remember the names of each string, you can use a word game. One helpful way to remember is to say “Every Animal Does Good Before Eating.”
Or, you can use something that sticks in your mind better.
Now you know the strings, it’s time to learn some of the most important guitar chords. These are:
- A Major
- A Minor
- B Major
- B Minor
- C Major
- D Major
- E Major
- E Minor
- F Major
- G Major
A Major – Place your index finger on the 2nd fret of the D (4th) string, middle finger on the 2nd fret of the G (3rd) string, and ring finger on the 2nd fret of the B (2nd) string.
A Minor – Index finger on 1st fret of the B string, middle finger on 2nd fret of the D string, and ring finger on the 2nd fret of the G string.
B Major – Index finger over fret 2 of A, D, G, B strings with the ring finger on 4th fret of D, G, and B strings. You can also use your pinky on the 4th fret for extra comfort and support.
B Minor – Barre the 2nd fret of A, D, G, B strings with index finger with the middle finger on the 3rd fret of the B string. Your ring finger should be on the 4th fret of the D string while your pinky should be on the 4th fret of the G string.
C Major – Index finger on the 1st fret of the B string, middle finger on the 2nd fret of the D string, and your ring finger on the 3rd fret of the A string.
D Major – Index finger on the 2nd fret of the G string, ring finger on the 3rd fret of the B string while your middle finger is on the 2nd fret of the highest E (1st) string.
E Major – Index finger on the 1st fret of the G string, Middle finger on the 2nd fret of the A string, and ring finger on the 2nd fret of the D string.
E Minor – Middle finger on the 2nd fret of the A string and your ring finger is on the 2nd fret of the D string. One of the easiest!
F Major – Index finger on the first fret of all strings (this takes practice). Place your ring finger on the 3rd fret of the A string, pinky on the 3rd fret of the D string, and your middle finger on the 2nd fret of the G string.
G Major – Middle finger on the 3rd fret of the low E string, index finger on the 2nd fret of the A string, and your ring or pinky finger on the 3rd fret of the high E string.
And those are some chords to get you started. Once you learn these, or just a few, you are ready to write a number one single!
It’ll take time, practice, and sore fingers but it will be worth it when you’re strumming along to your favorite songs!