Basic Guitar Chords for Beginners

New to playing guitar? Learn these basic guitar chords!

After learning these easy guitar chords for beginners, you’ll be able to play literally thousands of songs because these chords make up the majority of songs out there.

So if you’re looking for beginner guitar chords for your first songs, you’re in the right place – we got you covered.

Here are some quick tips while you’re learning these easy guitar chords:

1. You have to be patient.

Learning guitar is not an overnight thing. It takes weeks. Many quit because they don’t manage their expectations.

Because I want you to succeed, I want you to do this instead:

2. Start with learning one chord at a time.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you try to learn every chord out there. For starters, learn the First Four Chords mentioned below.

3. It’s always better to practice a little everyday than practice for hours once a week.

This is true for learning any musical instrument. Try to set aside 30 minutes to one hour every day to learn these basic guitar chords.

basic guitar chords

Without further ado, let’s learn your first guitar chords!

Basic Guitar Chords: The First Four Chords

These are the first four chords that you should learn because they’re easy and most of all, you can play almost any song with these four chords.

Don’t believe me?

There’s a guy in YouTube who made videos of himself playing up to 318 total songs with just these four chords. He goes by the name of RipTard:

Four chords, many songs screenshot

So if you’re trying to look for easy guitar chords that you can actually play in almost any song out there, learn these four chords:

G Major

Basic Guitar Chord: G Major

Guys, let me introduce you to Jen Trani, one of the best guitar teachers out there (as if you don’t know her yet). Here’s her teaching how to play the G Major chord:

D Major

Basic Guitar Chord: D Major

E Minor

Basic Guitar Chord: E Minor version 1 or Basic Guitar Chord: E Minor version 2

C Major

Basic Guitar Chord: C Major

Luckily for you and me, RipTard also made a video lesson that teaches how to play these four chords:

Those are the first four chords you need to learn. You can conquer the world with these four chords. You’ll be able to impress your friends and get all the ladies (or guys).

Tips While Learning Your First 4 Chords

1. The first thing you need to do is familiarize yourself with which finger presses which string.

You can do so by reading the chord diagrams and watching the videos above.

2. While you’re practicing each chord, it helps to play each string individually, then adjust accordingly.

When a particular string doesn’t sound clear, it’s because you’re not pressing that string hard enough, or another finger is slightly touching that string, therefore muting it.

Figure out which of the two reasons is causing an unclear-sounding string (if it’s happening) and adjust accordingly.

So if you figured that it’s because you’re not pressing hard enough, then press harder. Or if you figured that another finger is muting the string, then get it out of the way.

When all strings sound good, play all of them at once by strumming.

Give yourself a couple of days to a week to just learning how to play these four chords.

3. After you’ve gotten a hang of playing the individual chords, the next step is to transition between all four chords.

Try to transition between two chords first. After you’ve gotten a hang of two chords, try three, until you can play all four chords in any order.

4. Expect to struggle, but everybody goes through that phase.

When you’re a total beginner, trying to play even the basic guitar chords is going to be hard.

The last thing you should do is be frustrated with yourself.

basic guitar chords frustration

(Excuse the use of ancient memes, but they’re still the best :P)

What to Do When You Get Frustrated:

If you do end up being frustrated, try to take a break and come back when you’ve let your frustrations out.

This might sound too dramatic if you’re reading this and never tried learning yet, but those who’ve started know and can relate – learning guitar (or actually any instrument) can get frustrating.

Just practice frequently and aim to improve a little every day, instead of trying to improve a lot once in a while.

Just think about this – given that you practice everyday… In a month or two from now, you’re going to look back to this newbie stage and wonder why you thought it was hard.

Like I said, it’s going to be hard when you’re just starting out, but once you can play these basic guitar chords, you can easily learn the rest of the chords. So just focus on learning these four chords first. Bookmark this page and keep practicing.

If you want to step up your game, let’s move on to the other basic guitar chords.

Basic Guitar Chords Batch 2:

You can play the first four chords? Congratulations! You’re basically a guitar player now.

celebrate basic guitar chords

But playing the same four chords over and over can get boring after some time. Maybe that’s why you’re here.

Don’t fret (pun intended), we got you covered.

Here are more easy guitar chords for beginners:

A Major

Basic Guitar Chord: A Major

E Major

Basic Guitar Chords: E Major

F Major

Oh the dreaded F chord.

Many aspiring guitar players give up because of the F chord. Some beginners skip learning a song if they see that it uses an F chord, which is sad because lots of songs use the F chord.

I want you to know that there’s an easy way to play the F chord.

If barre chords are too hard for you right now, it’s okay. Here’s how to play the F chord the easy way:

Basic Guitar Chords - F Major

A Minor

Basic Guitar Chord: A Minor

D Minor

Basic Guitar Chord: D Minor

Moving forward…

Your First Barre Chords

It’s time to learn your barre chords. If you want to play any song you want or be an advanced guitarist, you have no choice. You can’t avoid barre chords forever.

 

how to play barre chords

I get it – barre chords are hard to play. They key is to train your fingers to play barre chords properly.

Tips for Learning to Play Barre Chords:

1. Bar the strings with the bony side of your forefinger (index finger).

Barring with a flat index finger requires more effort from you because you’re barring with the more fleshy part of your finger.

barre chords - flat index finger

Flat index finger

barre chords - angled index finger

Angled index finger

2. Always perform a barre chord with your index finger close to the fret.

barre chords - index finger is too far

The index finger is too far

barre chords - angled index finger

This is the ideal index finger position

Holding your index finger far from the fret requires more effort to put enough pressure on the strings.

3. Do this barre chord exercise:

Practice putting a bar with your index finger on the 5th fret. You can help add pressure with your middle finger (or the rest of your fingers). Check if all strings sound clear. Move from the 5th fret to the 6th fret and repeat, until you reach the last fret. Do this everyday.

Here’s a video with an even more beginner-friendly exercise you should go along with:

4. Expect pain for the first few days, but keep going.

Your index finger will hurt for a few days when you start learning how to play barre chords. Expect this, but don’t let it stop you. You’ll develop callouses eventually, which is every guitar player’s battle scar. Be proud of those.

5. Please, please, please… Don’t give up!

Finally, the only way you can play a barre chord is to keep practicing. It sounds cliche’ but it’s very true.

The reason barre chords are hard to play for beginners is because barre chords require certain strength from the arm, hand and fingers, which can only be acquired through consistent and persistent practice.

So my advice is don’t stop practicing every day until you can finally play barre chords, because that’s really all there is to it.

And apply the tips above so you’ll learn how to play barre chords more quickly.

F Major

Ready to play the F chord like the big boys? Here’s the diagram, so practice. You can do it *wink

Basic Guitar Chord: F Major

The good thing about bar chords is that if you can play one barre chord, then you can play every other barre chord out there.

So watch the video above to learn the F Major chord as a barre chord, and apply the principles that you learned to the rest of the barre chords that you’ll come across in your guitar-learning journey, such as:

B Minor

Basic Guitar Chord: B Minor

C# Minor

 

F# Minor

F#m Guitar Chords

 

 

So there you have it – the most common guitar chords at your fingertips.

Conclusion

Learning your first guitar chords is going to be a struggle – but everyone must go through that phase. And it actually gets easier.

All it really takes is persistence and consistent practice. Many aspiring guitarists quit because they think learning guitar is an over night thing. You can increase your chances of learning by just changing your mindset.

The truth is – once you learn these basic guitar chords, you’ll be able to learn the rest easily. Let me elaborate:

The guitar chords that you first learn, regardless of what chords they are, are going to be the hardest ones that you’ll learn.

This is because you haven’t developed strength, flexibility, and dexterity for your hand and fingers that’s required to play the guitar – at least NOT YET.

But once you learn these basic guitar chords, you’ll be way farther than most who give up after their first week/s. And any other chord you decide to learn afterwards will be a breeze.

Like I said, you’ll look back in a month or two and wonder why you thought it was so hard.

You just really have to get over this first (and biggest) hurdle in your guitar learning journey.

I encourage you to also check out the 60 Easy Guitar Songs with Chords and Video Lessons to learn your first songs on guitar.

I’m excited to see you learn how to play the guitar, so…

If you have any questions about learning these chords or learning how to play guitar altogether, shoot me an email by clicking here to use our contact form.

Thanks for reading this guide, and we appreciate your support by sharing it with your friends!


4 Comments

  1. Sean Hays

    December 9, 2017 at 10:58 am

    Wow you guys really mean business. I like your chord diagrams, and I actually bookmarked this page so I can easily get back to the videos whenever I need them. For now I know all the basic chords G, C, Am, Em, D, A. You’re right about the F chord, it’s an evil chord, so thanks for providing the easy version. Is it ok to use it even with songs that use the barre chord?

    Reply
    • Jeff Barkley

      December 10, 2017 at 11:03 am

      Hey Sean, I’m glad you like our chord diagrams 🙂 And thanks for bookmarking! Yes, the F chord is a huge obstacle to students who can’t play barre chords yet, so it’s nice to be able to play the easy version. It’s ok to use them on songs that use the barre version since it’s the same F chord. The difference is there will be lesser bass sound for the easy version. You actually know a lot of the basic chords already, try learning the barre F chord now. Challenge accepted? 🙂

      Reply
      • Sean Hays

        December 11, 2017 at 5:06 pm

        Lol I guess so. Your article motivated me so much, and I’ve been trying out the barre chord exercise you mentioned, thanks!

        Reply
  2. How to Play the 4 Basic Guitar Chords – Guitar Gear Hub

    January 4, 2018 at 5:21 am

    […] Ladies and gents, I present to you… How to Play the Basic Guitar Chords […]

    Reply

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