Learning to Play Guitar: The Basics of Guitar Chords

Over the last two years of the pandemic, more people have looked towards taking up new skills.

Learning an instrument, more specifically the guitar, has been at the top of the list. It’s no wonder since it’s a valuable skill that teaches you hand-eye coordination, improves your memory, and boosts your self-esteem.

Before you dive in, you’ll want to get an understanding of some of the fundamentals of the guitar. There are three main types of guitars: acoustic, electric, and classical guitar.

There are several variations of acoustic and electric based upon body, size, and style. With classical guitars, there is only one type, hence why it’s known as the classical guitar.

Most commonly, there are six strings on a guitar. While some have seven or more, it’s not typical as these are for more advanced players. The type of guitar you’ll be working with is a six-string guitar.

Acoustic guitars don’t require the use of an amplifier. Their hollow soundholes emit the echo of the vibrations when hitting the strings. An electric guitar, however, requires an amp. The steel strings hit against a magnet, which sends a signal to emit sound through the amp.

The strings on the guitar are in order from top to bottom, or thickest to thinnest: ​​E, A, D, G, B, E. Once you memorize the order of the strings, it’ll be easier to navigate around learning some of the chords.

While it might sound a little daunting at first, there are great free guitar guides and resources online to help you through the learning process.

If you’re new to the world of playing, take a look at these basic guitar chords for beginners.


A Major

If you’re looking for an easy chord, A major is the one. Three fingers will all be placed on the same fret. Your first finger on the fourth string, second on the third, and third finger on the second. They’ll be placed on the second fret.


A Minor 

Once you’ve mastered A major, all you have to do is move one finger to the B string (this is the first finger) from the second fret to the first. Now you’ve taken your upbeat tune to a solemn minor chord.


E Major 

If you’ve got the A minor down, an E major should be no problem. Take your entire A major chord and shift them all up one string. Your first finger will be on the third-string along the first fret. Place your second finger on the fifth string, second fret, and your third finger on the fourth string on the second fret.


E Minor 

E minor is another simple chord as it only requires two fingers on the same fret. Your second finger should be placed on the fifth string and your third finger on the fourth string, both along the second fret.


D Major 

This chord is a fun one to add to the mix. D major is relatively simple as it has a triangular shape. Place your first finger on the first string (E) and your second finger on the third string (G). These will both be on the second fret. Your third finger will be placed on the second string (B) on the third fret.


G Major

While there are a few variations of the G major chord, we’ll show you the most simplistic version as you’re just starting. It’s a bit more difficult to reach than the others so it might take a little more time to learn. Place your first finger on the second fret of the fourth string. Next, place your second finger on the third fret of the fifth string. Finally, put your third finger on the third fret of the fifth string.


C Major

This one is a little trickier than the rest which is why we’re putting it last on the list of the basic chord fundamentals. Place your first finger on the second string on the first fret. Then, put your second finger on the fourth string, second fret. Finally, place your third finger on the fifth string on the third fret. Strum through this and you have the one chord that strikes well with any song.



These six chords are only one of almost two thousand chord variations to play. The average guitar player typically uses around twelve. As you develop your skills, you can start to play around with strumming and picking styles.

Remember not to get too ahead of yourself. Learning the guitar takes time and a lot of practice. Put in a little time each day and you’ll see tremendous progress in no time.


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