Learning to Play Guitar Chords the Easy Way

Updated on June 15, 2015
Acoustic guitar (CC BY 2.0).
Acoustic guitar (CC BY 2.0). | Source

There are a ton of guitar chords. Some can be very complicated and others are fairly easy. Some will make you stretch and coordinate your fingers and for others, you will need only one finger. Some chords will take a long time to master and others will take you just a few moments.

I will start you off with a few simple chords that can easily be used to play many songs. These are the chords I started with ten years ago when I first started playing guitar.

Tips for Getting Started

  • When you first start playing, your fingers may feel painful on the strings. As you practice, they will get calloused and tougher.
  • At first, your fingers also may not want to bend or stretch the way need to. This will also be helped with practice.
  • Don't try to learn all the chords at once, or get frustrated if you can't hit them quickly. Practice and determination are the keys to successfully mastering the guitar.
  • Record your practice sessions you can watch and listen to make sure you are doing it correctly. If you have one, use a webcam focused on your fret hand so you can watch your fingering.
  • Play each chord over and over until you are comfortable with it. Also try taking your hand off the chord and finding it again without looking. Do this several times until you can do it without looking at the guitar.
  • Practice strumming two or three chords at a time so you can get comfortable changing chords.

In this lesson, I will start you off with simple chords. As you progress, we will move on to more complicated chords.

G Chords

We will begin with the G chord. There are two ways to play this chord:

  • The easy way for people who cannot yet get their fingers to stretch all the way, including children, is the simple G.
  • The full G chord sounds better. You should strive to practice the full G, even if you can only play the simple G now.

Full G Chord

The full G is played by moving your pinkie to the high E string, third fret, and moving your ring finger to the B string, third fret. Move your index finger to the A string, second fret, and your middle finger to the low E, third fret.

Me making a G chord on the guitar.
Me making a G chord on the guitar.

Simple G Chord

Now for the simple G chord. In order to play it, move your pinkie finger to the high E, third fret. Move your ring finger to the B string, third fret. These are the only fingers you will use for the simple G. See the photo below.

Simple G chord fingering.
Simple G chord fingering.

D Chord

Now, let's learn the D chord.

Move your middle finger to the high E, second fret. Move your index finger to the G string, second fret. Move your ring finger to the B string, third fret. See photo below.

Me demonstrating the D chord on guitar.
Me demonstrating the D chord on guitar.

Now practice changing between the G and D chords for guitar. At first, you will be slow and you may have problems with your fingers touching other strings and muffling the sound. When this happens, try to position your fingers properly so they are not touching other strings to develop muscle memory for the right position. This may take you a while to get used to.

Remember, practice and determination are the keys to playing these chords well.

C Chord

There are three ways to play this chord. The easy way for people who cannot yet get their fingers to stretch all the way, including children, is the simple C.

  1. For the simple C chord, put your index finger on the B string, first fret. That is it.
  2. The second way to play the C chord is by putting your pinkie on the high E string, third fret. Put your ring finger on the B string, third fret. Put your middle finger on the A string, third fret. Put your index finger on the D string, second fret.
  3. To play the full C chord, put your ring finger on the A string, third fret. Put your pointer finger on the B string, first fret. Put your middle finger on the D string, second fret.

3 Ways To Make A C Chord

Simple C chord.
Simple C chord.
Second C chord.
Second C chord.
Full C chord.
Full C chord.

Practice G, C, and D Chords

Now that you know three chords, practice your dexterity in switching between chords. See the video below.

E Minor Chord

To make the E minor chord, place your index finger on the A string, second fret. Place your middle finger on the D string, second fret. The photo for this is below.

E minor guitar chord.
E minor guitar chord.

Practice going back and forth between the different C and E minor chords. While the full C chord sounds best, you may find it easier to strum with one of the simplified chords.

F Chord

There is one F chord. To play it, put your index finger on both the B and high E strings together, first fret. Put your ring finger on the A string, third fret. Put your pinkie on the D string, third fret. Put your middle finger on the G string, second fret.

F chord on guitar.
F chord on guitar.

A Minor Chord

To make the A minor chord, put your ring finger on the G string, second fret. Put the index finger on the B string, first fret. Put your middle finger on the D string, second fret. This photo is below.

A minor chord for guitar.
A minor chord for guitar.

Practice going back and forth between the different F and A minor chords.

A Chord

First, place your ring finger on the B string, second fret. Next, put your index finger on the D string, second fret. Finally, put your middle finger on the G string, second fret.

A chord fingering on guitar.
A chord fingering on guitar.

E Chord

First, place your index finger on G string, first fret. Next, place your ring finger on the D string, second fret. Last, place your middle finger on the A string, second fret. This photo is below.

E chord fingering.
E chord fingering.

Try switching back and forth between the A and E chords until you are comfortable playing them and changing from one to the other.

A7 Chord

The A7 guitar chord is fairly easy. First, place your index finger on the D string, second fret. Put your middle finger on the B string, second fret. That is all there is to the A7 chord.

A7 guitar chord.
A7 guitar chord.

Now, try adding the A7 chord to the chords you already know.

A Minor 7 Chord

The A minor 7 is a little more difficult to master, but you will get there with practice.

Place your index finger on the B string, first fret. Place your pinkie on the high E on the third fret. Put your ring finger on the G string, third fret. Put your middle finger on the D string, second fret.

A7 minor guitar chord.
A7 minor guitar chord.

G7 Chord

This is another tough one, but don't lose heart. Take your index or pointer finger and put it on the high E string, first fret. Next, put your ring finger on the low E, third fret. Then, take your middle finger and put it on the A string, second fret.

G7 chord.
G7 chord.

E Minor 7

Now for the E minor 7 or Em7 chord. Take your index finger and put it on the A string, second fret. Place your pinky finger on the B string, third fret. Next, put your middle finger on the D string, second fret.

E minor 7 chord.
E minor 7 chord.

Practice changing between the G7 and the E minor 7 chords. At first, this will be tough and the sound will be muddled. When this happens, try to position your fingers so they are not touching other strings.

G4 Chord

Place your index finger on the B string, first fret. Put your pinky on the high E string, third fret.

G4 guitar chord.
G4 guitar chord.

DF Chord

To play the DF chord, first place your index finger on the low E string, second fret. Put your pinky finger on the high E string, third fret. Put your ring finger on the B string, third fret. That is it for this chord. Please see the photo below for proper finger placement.

DF chord fingering.
DF chord fingering.

Now practice changing between the G4 and DF chords for guitar. This may take you a while to get used to.

Suspended Chords

To suspend any chord, take your pinky finger, which is what you will use usually, and put it on the lowest string used in the chord you are playing but one fret up. ("Up" means towards the head of the guitar, where the big circle hole is.)

Experiment with the different chords you have learned so far.

Questions & Answers

    Comments

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      • profile image

        Durgesh Goswami 

        20 months ago

        Very Nice...Thank you

      • profile image

        i-strings 

        2 years ago

        i love the leans but i have a chanllenge with must of the chords, but with time i will get them

      • profile image

        oj 

        3 years ago

        jen is right

      • ladyguitarpicker profile image

        stella vadakin 

        3 years ago from 3460NW 50 St Bell, Fl32619

        I thought this was really good information for beginners. All of the kids I have taught seem to have trouble with the F chord. I really do not believe hand size is as important as how much you work on the guitar. Nice

      • WiccanSage profile image

        Mackenzie Sage Wright 

        4 years ago

        This is great. I started taking up the guitar a few years ago but I got too busy to keep up with it. I might start again. My son is learning, I'll pass this along. Great info here, excellent hub.

      • profile image

        gabriel 

        4 years ago

        i'am beginner i want to fast learning

      • profile image

        atiyah12345 

        4 years ago

        omg im finding this so hard why cant it just be simple and quck ~~

        W

      • Halcyone profile image

        Halcyone 

        4 years ago from San Francisco

        I hate having short fingers - I need to find a good way to reach the B chord :/

      • AnnaStevens1552 profile image

        Anna Stevens 

        4 years ago from USA

        I think that this guide can really help anyone to learn playing guitar quickly. I will also recommend this hub to my friend who is looking for a guitar teacher.

      • profile image

        lucy 

        4 years ago

        I cant stretch my fingers that far. Any way I was just trying to find songs like :Troublemaker by olly murs

      • profile image

        Jen 

        5 years ago

        If you're wanting to really learn guitar, do the hard yards. This page is a shortcut to a lifetime of buzzing and bad habits. Many of the chords above aren't correct and you'll end up extremely confused by trying to take in suspended chords without any basic understanding of scales and fretboard theory. I appreciate that its free info and has the best intentions, but can't recommend it too highly.

      • profile image

        hana2b 

        5 years ago

        For me it took some time. The first round I started learning the acoustic guitar I gave up after 2 months.

        If I try to understand why, I think I was not enjoying it that much for the effort I had to put.

        Nicely enough I am trying a different approach. I started lean with iPad guitar simulators. Few are very good sound wise but most were not fun.

        The 2 I enjoyed the most were Magic-Guitar by Smule and Zap Guitar by InstruMagic.

        Magic-Guitar is a great game but didn't really teach me how to play. Zap Guitar is different in the sense of it being an instrument.

        I pasted "Hey Jude" to the simulator, practiced quietly for about 15 minutes, and rejoiced. I am not yet a guitar player but I my hopes are now higher.

        Those asking for the link:http://bit.ly/ZJYNgR

      • profile image

        Jen 

        5 years ago

        If you're a beginner, go and read up on correct finger placement on fretboard. This lesson above will start some really bad habits if you stick to the photos - fingers all need to be right behind the fret wire, not on it and definitely not like many of the photos above, especially the E, Am and the third C chord. If you place your first fingers like in these pics you'll only get horrible buzzing!!! Diagrams are a better way to learn chord fingerlings anyway, makes you think a bit more. And gets you used to the way guitar information is typically presented, you're not gonna get a photo of every chord you'll want to play with each new song!!!

      • profile image

        gee 

        5 years ago

        like it^^

      • profile image

        Sudarshan Jayaram 

        6 years ago

        The DF chord instructions don't match the photo.

      • profile image

        FullLuna 

        6 years ago

        Hey!

        Thanks for putting this up! Ive been looking at MANY sites & yours is the best!!

      • barbergirl28 profile image

        Stacy Harris 

        7 years ago from Hemet, Ca

        This is a great way to demonstrate the chords for a learning guitar. I just bought a guitar and have been playing for about 2 weeks. My fingers are sore and so far I have learned the E chord. Thanks for the tips.

      • profile image

        Matt | Nashville Guitar Lessons 

        7 years ago

        That D/F is actually a D/F#. Right?

      • profile image

        seb 

        8 years ago

        yea same the songs im learning have the B chord and i can't seem to sterch my fingers

        any advice? anyways thanks, ur site really helped me out.

      • profile image

        shadow 

        8 years ago

        hey

        im wondering why you haven't shown B chord which I am trying to learn. I can't stretch my fingers far enough.

        Thanks.

        Shadow.

      working

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