Basic guitar chords are very essential for beginners and getting to know the most common played open position/string chords are the first thing you need to do most.
In this article you will learn the basic and most common chords that is used when it comes to playing the guitar. But before we proceed I would like to give you an insight why chords are very important in playing the guitar.
A Chord is a group of notes played together and it gives us harmony whereas the lead notes gives us the melody. Chords are the building blocks when it comes to music and it is very important to know them right from the beginning.
In this lesson, we are going to talk about the 5 Major and 3 minor open position/string that you will learn on the guitar. The Five Major (refer as happy) chords that will look at are the A Major, C Major, D Major, E Major and G Major. The Three minor (refer as sad) chords are “a” minor, “d” minor and “e” minor so Let’s jump to it!
A Major Chord
It is a common chord and it is not difficult to play. Most of the beginners encounter this chord as the first chord that they have played on their early stage of learning the guitar. As you can see in the image below, it uses 3 fingers, the first, second, and the third finger to press the notes. Just to give you an idea, the hand image below is your left hand and each finger (except the thumb) have a corespondent number from 1 to 4. See the images below.
Here is an actual picture of the A Major chord. See the picture below.
As you can see it uses finger one, two, and 3 to press the strings on the second fret board (fret board are the spaces in between the bar lines). All three fingers need to fit on the second fret on adjacent strings. Be sure that the open first string is sounding clearly by curling your third finger. Also, make sure to only focus on strumming the 5 top strings as indicated in the diagram that the 6th open string has an “X” mark meaning it should not produce a sound. So here is your A Major chord. We simply must be able to play it because it is common and very easy.
C Major Chord
The second most common chord is the C Major chord. Often times, it is used to play kid songs because of its easy to follow sound and most likely much singable for kids. Like the A Major Chord, it also uses three fingers, the first, second and the third. Here is an example of a C Major Chord Diagram. See Image below.
Here is an actual picture of the C Major chord. See picture below.
As you can see in the actual picture it also uses finger one, two and three but unlike the A Major, C Major chord is using first finger on first fret, second finger on second fret and third finger on third fret. The key is to focus on curling your first finger so that the first open string sound properly. You must remember that the 6th string has an “X” mark. It is an easy chord to play and most likely you will be able to play it in just a matter of time.
D Major Chord
Same goes to D major chord included to the list of the most common guitar beginner chords, one that will not give you too much trouble playing it. Like the other two chords that we have learned, D Major chord also use three fingers but much easier than the C Major because it does not really bend your fingers and it does not go far from each other. Here is an example of a D Major chord diagram. See image below.
Here is an actual picture of the D Major chord. See picture below.
It’s just a matter of minutes to be able to learn and play this chord. Always remember to curl your third finger on the second string so that the first string will sound properly and you have to be sure that you only strum the top 4 string, always avoid the open 6th and 5th string. As I said earlier, playing this chord won’t give you too much trouble so get your guitar and start playing and enjoy the chord.
E Major Chord
Guess what? this chord always mistaken as “a” minor chord because it has the same finger structure but its an E Major chord, a fairly straightforward to play (we’ll talk about the “a” minor chord later). Same goes with the E Major chord, it uses the same finger so let’s jump to the chord diagram and see the image below.
let us look at the actual picture, see picture below.
It’s an easy as one, two, three to play this chord. same like the D Major chord, playing this chord will not give you too much trouble because it does not bend your fingers. Make sure your first finger is properly curled so that the open 2nd and first string will sound properly. As you can see in the chord diagram, there are no “X” mark at the top so enjoy strumming all the six string.
G Major Chord
G major is the extremely common chord of all. Many bands start their songs on this chord and probably most of the songs that you here on the radio or on the internet starts with the G Major Chord. Probably now you know what I’m thinking, yes! you are right! so let us jump to the diagram and let us see what G Major looks like. See image below.
Here is an actual picture of G Major chord.
You won’t be having too much trouble with this chord. You just have to curl your first finger so the open fourth, third and second string sounds clearly. You are free to strum all the 6 strings and enjoy the sound of the most popular chord.
“a” minor chord
As i said earlier, “a” minor has the same finger structure with E Major. It won’t be so hard to play this chord specially if you know how to play the E Major chord but it has a very big difference when it comes to sound. Imagine you are playing E Major and as you play it makes a jolly and a happy sound. “a” minor is the opposite. So let us go right away on the image below.
Let us take a look at the actual picture of the chord.
Looks exactly the same? But it is totally different. Move the whole chord structure over a string and make sure that your first finger is curled so the open first open string sounds properly. Always remember that you should avoid playing the string with an “X” mark (6th) to produce a better sound.
“d” minor chord
We are now on second to the last most common chord and that is the “d” minor. Same as the other chords, it also uses three fingers to play the chord. See images below to see an example.
Here is an actual picture of the chord.
It is just a matter of time to learn this chord. Always look and feel your third finger on the second string. If it is not curled properly, the first string will not sound clearly and be sure to strum the top for strings only.
“e” minor chord
Lastly, the common and probably the easiest of them all. “e” minor only uses two fingers so that should be very very easy for you to play. You just need you second and third finger to play the chord. See image below.
Let us take a look at the picture provided below.
It looks very easy but not just the look, its pretty easy to play. Here’s more, you won’t be thinking of any string that should not be included on strumming the chord because its an all out open string to play. Enjoy the chord and strum freely.
Common Chords? Start Playing!
Now, its time for you to show the world what you have learned! Get your guitar, start playing and practice the chords. Make sure to rock the world!
If you ever need a hand or have any questions, feel free to leave them below and I will be more than happy to help you out.
All the best,
founder of Guitar Chords & scales