Basic Guitar Chords for Beginners (COMPLETE GUIDE)

Looking for a one-stop comprehensive guide on guitar chords? Then, this is the exact thing you are looking for. In this post, you will learn

  1. Easy and Basic Guitar Chords for Beginners
  2. Learning how to play guitar chords
  3. Bass Guitar Chords
  4. Acoustic Guitar Chords
  5. Beginner Guitar Chords
  6. Electric Guitar Chords
  7. Blues Guitar Chords

If you’ve ever wondered what drives the long guttural riffs of a Van Halen song or the slow sensual guitar solo at the beginning of Rihanna’s kiss it better.

Or maybe watched a master guitarist seemingly move from fret to fret without pause then you’ve probably been hearing and watching a bunch of chords.

What are Guitar Chords?

basic guitar chords beginners

A chord is simply a group of three or more different musical notes played at the same time.

Chords are the backbone of your music piece as they provide the harmony to your song, your strumming ability gives a piece its rhythm while the singer delivers the melody.

This is why you the budding guitarist needs to learn and perfect various chords.

The Basic Guitar Chords for Beginners

There is an amazing number of chords with fancy names but here are 8 basic guitar chords that every guitarist needs to know.

They are C-A-G-E-D major chords and Am-Em-D minor chords.

major guitar chords

Major Guitar Chords

 

minor guitar chords

Minor Guitar Chords

Most of the basic chords we would be focusing on at the beginner stage are chords arranged in triads.

What is a Triad?

Triads are three notes with an interval of one note in between and specific semitones depending on if they are major or minors (this is quite honestly a whole other topic on its own!).

These chords are used in a whole lot of popular songs and form the background of a lot of our radio hits.

Tips on How to Play Guitar Chords

Now I’m sure we are all eager to jump into learning these chords and unleashing our inner Slash but before we do so let’s take a look at some important tips

About the Guitar Chord Chart

Let’s have a look at the basic guitar chords again.

Acoustic Guitar and Electric Guitar Chords

If you’re just picking up the guitar for the first or even the tenth time in your lifetime then it may seem daunting trying to understand how this bunch of wood and strings produces its sweet melodies.

Learning these chords can help you make sense of it all.

C Major

The notes that make up the C major tonic triad are C, E, and G.

To play this chord first place your index finger on the C note on the B string, your middle finger on the E note of the D string and your middle finger on the C note on the A string and strum as above.

G Major

The G major tonic triad consists of notes G, B and D.

Place your index finger on the B note of string A, the middle finger on the G note of low string E and your third finger on the G note of the high string E and strum all six strings.

D Major

As usual the tonic triad of D major consists of notes D, F# and A.

To play this chord place your index finger on the A note of string G, your middle finger on the F# note of the high E string and your middle finger on the D note of the B string.

Ensure your fingers are properly placed and not touching any other notes and strum the last four strings.

E Major

For E major we have the E note, G# and B notes.

To play this chord place your index finger on the G# note of the G string, your middle finger on the B fret of the A string and your ring finger E note on the D string, strum all six strings to get the sound.

Minor Chords

To play these chords first go back to the fret diagram above and take note of the finger placements.

If you notice the notes being played for A minor are A, C and E, this is because these are the notes that make up A minor triad.

Place your index finger on the C note on the B string, your middle finger on the E fret on the D string and your ring finger on the A fret of the G string and begin to strum leaving the low E string out.

Have a look at how E minor is played.

 

Playing the other chords pretty much follow the same patterns, the most important thing to note is your fingering, if your fingering is off the sounds comes out as off too. Major ways to get past this are:

If the sound is still muted and discordant, pause and consider a few things:

A great way to always remember chord shapes is to make the shape, take off your fingers, shake it off and make the shape again.

It’s a repetitive motion sure but it serves the greater purpose of improving muscle memory.

You might have noticed some notes are missing from the triad while learning your finger placement.

Not to worry as they are right there on your guitar but as your open strings.

Like the C major chord for instance, the G note already exists as the open string G and so doesn’t need to be found on the fretboard, the note is brought into play when strumming.

That is why it is very important you also practice your strumming techniques while also learning chords.

To properly memorize these chords forget you’re trying to memorize and just play with your guitar.

Go back and forth, switch up the chords, practice each chord for five minutes every day as all of these serve to build up your muscle memory and finger dexterity.

Bass Guitar Chords

bass guitar chords

For the bassist strumming those low notes in unison can sometimes create a muddy, unprofessional sound instead of amazing music.

This is why most bassists play individual notes rather than chords.

You hopefully know by now that the bass has the same four strings as the acoustic guitar (E, A, D, G) but at an octave lower.

This means that the bass guitarist takes care of the rhythm of the music and serves to round up the entire sound of the song.

So to understand this, let’s say your lead guitarist plays a chord sequence of one bar G, one bar Am and one bar D major, your job as the bassist is to pick out the root notes and play.

This means you’re going to play note G on the E string, A on the open string and note D on the A string.

Where the bass guitarist really shines is in the implementation of arpeggios which are simply broken chords.

All you need do is pull apart a chord and play the notes one after the other ending with the first note basically playing four times but the same 3 notes.

This gives a beautiful effect to the song and serves to “complete” the sound effect.

Remember as the resident bassist your job is to provide rhythm so always remember to keep time.

You can also practice chords on your bass guitar to open up your ears to what the other guitarists are playing.

You very well can’t compliment if you don’t even know what’s being played, can you? So to help with this here is a chart on chord progressions for your bass baby.

acoustic bass guitar chords

acoustic electric guitar chords

Blues Guitar Chords

Playing the blues guitar usually relies upon following the 12 bar progression and the minor pentatonic scale.

The most common chords used in blues music is the dominant 7th chord this is basically made by adding a lowered seventh scale degree to a major chord.

I know quite a few of us might turn on google translate in confusion to help with the Aramaic above so let’s drop the terminology and jump into learning to play.

E7 Chord

To play the dominant seven E chord simply place your index finger on G# of the G string and your middle finger on the B note of the A string and strum all six strings.

Blues Guitar Chords

A7 Chord

To get this one, place your index finger on E of the D string and your ring finger on A of the G string and strum the 5 strings ignoring the low E string.

Blues Guitar Chords

B7 Chord

This one’s a bit tricky as it involves barring the strings.

Use your index finger to bar the  last 5 strings but place your ring finger on F# of string D and use your pinky finger on E note of string B like so and strum the last 5 strings.

Blues Guitar Chords

Learning these chords would help you move really fast in your blues guitar playing style, the blues form the bedrock of most rock music and learning to play can really infuse style and personality in your guitar playing.

And remember the blues guitars tonality lies somewhere between the major and minor tonality and that’s what really gives that soul and spirit it exudes.

Every master guitarist you see today was once a learner like you as i am pretty sure nobody was born with a guitar in their hands.

All it takes is constant and regular practice on your guitar, preferably every day to really get the essence of playing.

Some important notes to take down

Some Points to Clarify about Guitar Chords

Chords are not two notes played at the same time or even three of the same notes played at once.

To put this into perspective, if you play notes D and A at the same time you have only succeeded in playing an interval not a chord, and if you strike D three times it really only means you hit D three times.

But if you play D, F# and A at the same time then you have successfully played a D major chord.

These notes can also be broken up for a choppy effect called an arpeggio but the notes must be three or more and follow a progression to earn the name of “chord”.

Final Words

To summarize, I assume that this post gave you an insight into the following topics:

  1. Easy and Basic Guitar Chords for Beginners
  2. Learning how to play guitar chords
  3. Bass Guitar Chords
  4. Acoustic Guitar Chords
  5. Beginner Guitar Chords
  6. Electric Guitar Chords
  7. Blues Guitar Chords

HAPPY STRUMMING!

REFERENCES

https://www.guitarlessons.com/guitar-lessons/blues-guitar-quick-start-series/dominant-seventh-blues-chords

https://nationalguitaracademy.com/how-to-play-bass-guitar/

https://www.bassbooks.com/shopping/blogs/bass-guitar-chords/

https://www.guitarlessons.com/guitar-lessons/guitar-lessons-for-beginners/8-guitar-chords-you-must-know


Tags: , ,

Categorised in:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge