I like to play guitar and I'm quite good playing tabs. However, I don't know the chords and I would like to learn them and to play them easily. Any tips on where to learn them on internet or tips to play them?


7 Answers 7


The basic chords that todd suggested are very good as a basic for barre chord:

Example E major - note that the B chord is basically A using barre at 2nd fret.

E  A  B 

Note: If you have problems with barre, you can often cheat with the B and use B7 instead without sounding too wrong (see below in the septim section)

Another set of chords that is easy to use as a beginner are these:


Another chord you will need for most songs in C major is F. This is most used as barre (see first chord below), but if you have problems with barre (which is normal for beginners), you can skip the two lowest strings (see second chord below):

 F %X/X.X/X.3/3.2/2.1/1.1/1

Some minor chords:

Am Dm Em

Some septim chords

A7 B7 D7 F7

And some that looks pretty advanced in writing, but are really easy on the guitar, and they sound cool:

Asus4 Dsus4 Cmaj7 Emaj7

And at last some dim chords:

D#dim F#dim 

Hey! Wait a minute - Those two looks the same!
You're right. Dim chords are quite funny that way, because they have 3 half steps between all 4 notes all round - so basically all 4 notes can act as the ground for the chord, if you are not picky about the ground note should be in the low bass. This means that this chord will also work for Adim and Cdim !

  • The barred F chord seems rather awkward for a beginner, and if one is going to use a barred chord one may as well teach that it can be used as a movable chord. Also, it's worth noting that a normal diminished chord is a triad, so it only has three of the four possible notes, and only a full diminished 7th chord as the four equally-spaced notes.
    – supercat
    Feb 4, 2013 at 23:47
  • @supercat: That's why I gave an alternative F chord on the next line with a comment on being easier if you have problems with barre. Do you have a better / easier alternative for F? I will happily improve my answer if you have a better solution.
    – awe
    Feb 6, 2013 at 9:25
  • Add another sharp to the key signature of whatever you're playing and add an E chord to the repertoire, perhaps, to stay consistent with using open chords, and once one is going to suggest a 4-string barre chord, offer up two of them some distance apart, even if one has to be an inverted form, and suggest that they can be used to play any chord for which a better form is unavailable.
    – supercat
    Feb 6, 2013 at 14:06
  • Using a custom tuning, I taught myself to play four-string chords in all inversions, and got a lot of enjoyment from being able to do that before I figured out how to go beyond four strings. I would think a similar approach might be useful with standard tuning: get to be able to play any chord in at least some form (possibly inverted), and then augment one's repertoire with better forms. Four-string playing with inverted chords gave me a sense of how notes move in some progressions which I hadn't noticed in decades of playing them on the keyboard.
    – supercat
    Feb 6, 2013 at 16:12

learn the E Em E7 and A Am A7 in the Open Position, and then how to Barre those same chords up and down the fretboard.

Simple, but a good place to start.

  • 1
    Basing everything on the A and E barre chords is conceptually simple and intuitive (to play a chord, find the note on the 5th or 6th string and then pick a chord shape based upon which string you used) but those chords are rather difficult to play. Do you know any people who actually started with them? I invented a tuning which offers two barre chords a fourth apart (D and G), but with really easy fingerings for major, minor, 7th versions of both. The fingering for a first-inversion chord is also easy, so for a D chord I use a first-inversion chord plus an open low D string.
    – supercat
    Feb 4, 2013 at 23:49

Open chords are usually the first thing a beginning guitar player learns. There are five open chords; the E chord, the A chord, the C chord, and the G chord. Open chords are called this way because they contain at least one open string (strings that you play without fingering them). The best way to learn how to play the basic guitar chords is by learning songs.

The most common problems for the beginner are firstly playing the chords cleanly and without fret buzz, and secondly changing between the chords. If you can master these you will get great musical mileage as there are thousands of one, two and three chord songs. No additional knowledge is required to accompany singers, play in bands and jam.

For more guitar chords and tips for them with pictures, see the article here.

  • 1
    Good answer. "There are five open chords." Well, there are the five open major chords you mentioned. There are a lot of other open chords. :-)
    – Anonymous
    Feb 13, 2011 at 9:36

While it's easy to find exhaustive lists of chords, online or in books, it's not so easy to know what order to learn and practice them in.

I would suggest buying a songbook in "fakebook" format - that is, melodies are written on a score, with chord names above. Sometimes there are chord diagrams on the page. Sometimes there is a chord dictionary at the back.

Two good options for beginners are:

  • songbooks aimed at children -- these tend to have easy chords. It's not "cool" but it's great for learning the basics
  • The Beatles Complete -- "easy guitar" or "easy organ" editions. The songs in here vary in complexity, but you can dip in find the ones that work for you. If one's too difficult, shelve it and come back to it later.

Just sing the songs and strum to them. Also experiment with inversions. But also try to notice things about the notes in the chords, how they sound, and the relationships between the chords in a song.

By doing this:

  • you will learn the chord shapes
  • you will learn functional sets of chords. For example you'll notice that you often see C,F,G in the same song; or E, A, B.
  • you will learn the relationships between chords. F is to C, as A is to E -- because both are a 4th interval.

http://www.chordbook.com/guitarchords.php is also a good source, displaying every chord with possible inversions and audio play support.


Learning shapes are a good place to start, but learning the theory behind chords is really rewarding, and lets you understand which tones in a chord are the important ones. This is something a lot of guitarists (me included) often skip over, whereas a piano player is taught this from the start.

A starting point could be: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Major_chord


Chord is three or more notes played together. When you play a chord on a guitar, you have to hold down a few or more strings. Each chord has it's own fingering, which you have to remember and practice.

There are lots and lots of chords out there. You should probably start with open position chords - chords that have some of the strings open.

You can find chord diagrams on the net. For example, here: http://justinguitar.com/en/CH-000-Chords.php

enter image description here

Notice the numbers below each circle - these are fingers that should hold the given string. Just try the fingering and play all strings one by one - they should all sound clear. Then, go to the next chord. Eventually, you should aim to change the chords very swiftly.

Here is a video lesson on basic chords, for beginners: http://justinguitar.com/en/BC-111-D-chord.php

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