In this Guitar Lesson I set out to show you how to learn basic guitar chords. This is a free Tutorial on some open guitar chords. This is just one of a series of 4 lessons. In this series learn basic Guitar chords we will cover:
- How to Learn Basic Guitar Chords.
- Next is the finger position of all the most used open Chords
- Guitar tips on how to play them the easy way.
- A close up look at the finger positions of the Chords
- 4 Bonus videos
The first chord we are going to learn is the E Major chord. When shown like this “E”, it means that it is a “Major” chord. This is how to play the E chord. Start out with your first finger on the first fret of the third string. Second finger of the fifth string second fret, and the third finger will be on the fourth string second fret.
You start picking or strumming with the low E. Which is the sixth string. When playing the E chord, you can strum all the strings.
I would recommend after your fingers are in position to strum through the chord slowly one time. To see if all the notes are going to ring out properly. To make sure there is no buzzing or muted notes.
The E chord is one of the easier chords to play. Your fingers usually don’t get in the way of the other strings.
Some more Easy Guitar Chords for Beginners
Now take a look at the Em chord. Spelled E minor. If your fingers are in the same position as the E chord. Which was just covered. Basically you just remove your first finger off of the third string. Take a look at the Em chord diagram below.
Now you are just playing your second, and third fingers at the second fret. On strings five and four. Your middle finger is on the fifth string at the second fret. Which leaves your third finger on the second fret and fourth string. Start the strum with the low E string. Strum all the strings.
E7 is the next chord we are going to learn. The E7 you also start the strum from the low E string. The finger position for the E7 is: First finger is on the third string at the first fret. Then your second finger is on the fifth string at the second fret.
Now we have covered the three easy chords. The E, Em and E7, practice playing those chords.
Practice Using Fretting Hand Techniques
When playing any of these chords or chords in general. You need to be consistent with some Fretting hand Techniques. Until it becomes second nature for you. Then you won’t have to think about it.
Here is a list of things you will want to be mindful of doing. When you make a chord. That is first off once you have your fingers in position for the chord that you are making. For an example lets say your making the E chord.
- When you have your fingers in place. You will want to look at your hand closely.
- Make sure your playing on the tips of your fingers.
- Play as close to the fret as possible.
- Keep your thumb to the middle of the back of the guitar neck.
- Keep your elbow in close to your body.
- Make sure there is room between the guitar and your palm.
Playing on the tips of your finger you will be less likely that your finger will be touching other strings. That you do not want to touch. You will also be able to press the strings down enough to play the note.
You want to be directly behind the fret. Make sure your not touching it though. If you examine the chord that you made, and it looks good. You will want to take one string at a time and pick it.
When you pick the chord you are listening to make sure it is ringing out, and has a nice sound. If there is buzzing or a muted kind of sound. Take a look at that string, and see what the problem is.
Maybe your not close enough to the fret. Maybe another finger is touching that string, and not allowing it to ring out. What ever the issue is fix it. Then pick the next string listen how it sounds.
If when you get to the first string, and they all sound good. Then try strumming the chord. If you want to learn more about chords how to switch between them smoothly check out the Ultimate Guide how to learn guitar chords.
Thumb position is a Big part of playing the chord. If your thumb is not low on the neck your hand will be gripping the guitar. You don’t want to grip the guitar neck. There is no way to play a chord when you are holding the guitar like a shovel. Your hand should be loose around the neck. When your thumb is in the proper position you will have room between your hand and the guitar.
Playing the Chord
Keep your elbow in on your fretting hand. This puts your hand automatically in the correct position to play the chord. For example the C chord. Try to play the C chord with your elbow out. It’s all mechanics and your hand will not bend that way. So remember to play with that elbow in.
This was mentioned earlier, but just a reminder to keep your hand in a position so that there is room between the guitar and the inside of your hand. Keeping your wrist bent just at the proper angle will help accomplish this. Not to much, just enough so that it’s comfortable.
So if you implement these techniques playing the chords will be easier. Don’t get me wrong in the beginning remembering everything, and putting it into action is a lot to do. But once you know the basics of making a chord, and practice doing them every time. Then you will just automatically make the chord. Your hand will gain muscle memory, and you won’t have to think about it.
The Tricky F Chord
Here is a more “tricky” chord. The F Major chord. To play the F chord you bar the first, and second strings. Use your first finger, and lay it across the first and second string, on the first fret.
Your finger is not flat on the string is pointing towards you. When you press on the strings there should be more pressure towards the outside of your first finger. When I say pressure. I mean just enough to hold the strings down to make the strings ring out.
Then your second finger will go on the third string at the second fret. Next the third finger will be on the fourth string third fret.
Playing this chord your thumb needs to be towards the middle of the neck of the guitar. Keeping your thumb down low allows you enough force to hold the strings down on the fret when playing. So that the strings will all ring out. Get an inside look at the F chord link here.
3 G’s Easy Guitar Chords for Beginners
The G chord is the next chord to learn. There are several ways to play the G chord here are a couple. First start by placing your third finger on the third fret of the sixth string. Second finger on the fifth string, at the second fret. Then the pinkie is on the first string, at the third fret. Play all the strings when playing the G chord.
That’s how I play the G chord. It is comfortable, but let me show you how some people play the G chord.
Place your first finger on the second fret fifth string. Second finger is at the third fret of the sixth string, and pinkie is on the third fret of the first string. See you are covering the same notes, it’s just what fingers you feel more comfortable using. Try them both and you decide.
You could also play a G that makes a bigger sound. This way of playing the G is similar to the second choice above. Here is the finger position for that G chord.
Your first finger is on the second fret fifth string. Then your second finger is at the third fret of the sixth string. Next place your third finger on the second string at the third fret. Lastly place your pinkie on the first string of the third fret.
See how they are similar, but on this fingering of the G chord it has more of a full sound. Try this one after you get used to playing the G chord.
Here’s a tip: Remember to stay on the tips of your fingers. This will help prevent your fingers from being flat, and causing them to touch another string. Impeding the string from Ringing out.
G7 a Basic Guitar Chord
Another G is the G7. Basically your removing your pinkie off of the first fret. Then placing your first finger at the first string of the first fret. Strum all the strings when making the G7 chord.
Place your third finger on the sixth string, at the third fret. The second finger is on the fifth string, second fret. Like I said before, your first finger is on the first string, at the first fret.
Start out playing one chord at a time. Practice knowing where to place your fingers. What you want to do starting out is memorize the chord. The best way is with a chord Chart. Click this link to get a Downloadable chord chart.
Look at the chord chart to see where to place your fingers. Practice making the chord. After you have your fingers in place. Take a close look at all your fingers on your fretting hand. Really look at them, thinking about what string they are on and what fret. Then practice making the same chord without the chart. This is very rudiment, and sometimes frustrating making chords. But we all start out the same way. Having to learn chords.
Click this link If you need help how to read a chords chart.
After you learn the chords you will want to know how to change from one chord to the next. Once you practice doing that. Which again takes time, and I have to say can be frustrating too. But just stick with it, and one day you will be playing chords. Then you will need to learn the technique of Strumming.
Some people like to read, and others might like to watch a video. So I created this video to go along with this lesson. A video tutorial how to make these open chords. I hope you enjoy the video, and can learn some basic guitar chords.
Basic Guitar Chords Finger Placement
Today let’s learn the A, A7, and the A minor chord. Better known as Am.
The A Major chord starts on the 5th string. It is played open. All your fingers are located on the second fret. First finger is on the fourth string, at the second fret. Second finger is on the third string, at the second fret. Then your third finger is on the second string. Also at the second fret.
When playing the A chord you do not want to play the sixth string.
When you first start playing chords. Go slow and pick one string at a time. You may have some unwanted noises. Make sure your pressing the strings all the way down. Be sure you are playing on the tips of your fingers. This should help keep your fingers in the correct position so that they are not touching other strings.
The Next basic beginner chord is the A7. When playing the A7 chord you start with the open A string. Which is the fifth string. Then both fingers are at the second fret. The second finger is on the fourth string. You skip the third string, and place your third finger on the second string.
Remember don’t play the sixth string!
Related Article: The Blues Man Guitar Lesson (How to Play)
Basic Guitar Chords Finger Position for the Am
Notice a pattern with the A chords? The chord begins with the A string. On the guitar the fifth string is the A string.
On the A minor chord it is no different. It starts with the A string. Then your first finger is on the first fret of second string. The second finger is on the fourth string, at the second fret. Your third finger is on the third string at the second fret.
As you can see by the chord diagram there is an X over the E string. Which indicates do not play the sixth string. The dots above the A string, and high E string means they are played open.
Strum from the A string down. Making sure you do not hit the sixth string. Here is a video that shows you the A Chords.
How to play Beginner Guitar Chords
Am7 is spelled out A minor 7. Look how it is played. The first finger is on the second string at the first fret. Then your second finger is on the fourth string at the second fret. The strum starts at the A string. Remember the fifth string is the A string. Also remember not to play the sixth string.
Even though you are just playing two strings. The other strings need to be free from fingers. It is easy to touch other strings. Then your chord will not sound nice. Be sure to play on the tips of your fingers.
Bb Major Chord finger Position
Moving past the A chords to the Bb. Which is a B flat. In music that (b) is the sign for flat. There is also a sign for a sharp which is #. One is to lower the pitch by half a step. The other (#) is to raise the Pitch by a half step. Click this link to learn 11 tips for learning the guitar notes.
Bb chord is played like this: First finger is on the first fret of the fifth string. Using your third finger like a bar. Place it over strings 4, 3, 2.
A chord that is similar in that it is the same finger position is the B chord. Take the same finger position of the Bb and move down a fret. So now your first finger is on the second fret. Still on the fifth string. Your third finger is barring the fourth, third, and second strings. Now the bar is at the fourth fret. When playing the B Major chord don’t hit the 6th string.
With the B chord you can actually use your first finger and gently touch the sixth string. This will mute the sixth string so if you accidentally play it. It will not ring out, and your B chord will still sound great. Here is the Video Tutorial to learn basic chords.
With the B chord you can actually use your first finger and gently touch the sixth string. This will mute the sixth string so if you accidentally play it. It will not ring out, and your B chord will still sound great.
B7 Guitar Finger Position
B7 is a Chord that you see quite a bit in the blues. Here is how to play the B7 guitar chord:
In order to play the B7 your first finger has to be on the fourth string, at the first fret. Your second finger is on the 5th string second fret. Then your third finger is on the third string, at the second fret. You can play with your pinkie on the first string, at the second fret.
If this is difficult for you to play. Don’t worry it is a hard chord to master. You can opt to just play without your pinkie in position. Be sure not to play the high E string. The first string. Start the strum from the fifth string.
Let’s learn the C chord. On this basic chord your first finger is on the second string, at the first fret. Second finger is on the fourth string, at the second fret. Then your third finger is on the fifth string, at the third fret. The Video Tutorial to learn basic chords.
Tips for Playing the C Major Chord
This chord you will definitely have to make sure your playing on the tips of your fingers. This chord is one that is easy to accidentally touch other strings with your fingers. So beware when you set up the chord to look for string that may be muted in this way.
Keep your elbow on your fretting arm in close to your body. This will put your hand in the proper position. It will make it easier to play the C chord.
Don’t forget to play close to the back of the fret. This will be a stretch for you. But the more you play and practice the chords. The stronger and more flexible your fingers will become.
The C7 is basically the C chord shape with an added 7. Which is the Pinkie on the third string at the third fret. So what you have is your first finger at the first fret of the second string. Second finger on the fourth string at the second fret. Then your third finger on the fifth string at the third fret. The pinkie is on the third string, of the third fret.
You will find the C7 in a lot of blues songs. If you want to learn the blues. Don’t miss out on the blues a beginners guitar lesson.
How to Play Basic D Guitar Chords
When your making the D Major Chord you place your first finger on the third string, at the second fret. Next your second finger is on the first string, at the second fret. Then your third finger is on the second string at the, third fret. On the D chord you start the strum from the D string. Which is the fourth string. Don’t play the fifth or the sixth strings.
So that’s the D chord, now let’s go onto the Dm chord. As it is spelled out D minor. Our First finger first string first fret. The second finger is on the third string at the second fret. Then the third finger is on the second string, at the second fret.
The Dm chord may be a little hard in the beginning. Due to the stretch and position of your fingers. But the more you practice this chord. The easier it will become to play.
The Dm chord and the D chord have a distinct sound. The Dm chord has a sad sound to it. Like most minor chords. When you hear a Major chord like the D chord it is more of an upbeat sounding chord. If you want to know the differences in the D minor and Major chord click the link.
Dm7 Guitar Chord
Here is the finger position for the Dm7 chord: Use your first finger to bar the first and second string at the first fret. Then your second finger is on the third string at the second fret. Strum from the fourth string down.
DMaj7 Chord is played on the second fret. Using your first finger bar strings. One, Two, and Three. Strum from the fourth string.
While we are learning D chords lets learn the D7 chord. Start by placing your first finger on the first fret of the second string. Next place your second finger on the third string at the second fret. Third finger is on the first string, at the second fret. Stum from the fourth string. The D string.
Related Article: 10 Tips for Learning Guitar Chords.
Words of Encouragement
When your playing these chords it is going to take some time to get them under your belt. If I were to start today, and try to play the guitar with my left hand. It would be almost impossible, and extremely difficult. But if everyday I practiced playing with my left hand. Then it would get a little better each day.
This is probably how you are feeling learning these chords. Just keep practicing one chord at a time. Using the guitar tips that I have brought to your attention. If you keep practicing the next thing you know; You will be able to play a chord. Then go to the next chord, and practice.
Don’t give up because I remember how difficult learning chords can be. Really not that difficult its more a feeling of frustration. But just keep practicing, and when you get to the “part” that is giving you trouble. Slow it down find out what the problem is. Correct it and continue with making that chord.
Before you know it you will be playing more chords than before.
If You liked learning these chords have a look at first position Chords. Where there are more chords to learn.