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Those Basic Guitar Chords

Elvis Elvis

Every guitarist needs to know a few basic guitar chords. The simple reason is that knowing just a small set of chords will enable you to play thousands of easy guitar songs. Yes, thousands. No joke! Imagine what you’ll be able to play when you learn more than just the basics. Tons, that’s what!

To keep things as simple as possible while still being thorough, this lesson will mostly avoid anything to do with the strumming hand. I want you to get the fingerings and switches down before anything else. A simple downstroke on the examples will be more than fine. Of course if you feel up to some fancy strumming patterns have at it

Those Basic Guitar Chords

Now, with those principles in mind, let’s take a look at those chord charts. Again, these are just the basic of basics, but that’s all you need in a lot of cases. You might be amazed at how many “songs everybody knows” only require 4 or 5 chords to play.

I custom made these specifically for you all because these are the basic guitar chords beginners need to learn. I grouped them this way so you’ll hear the difference in sound between major, minor and seventh chords with the same root note.

In cases where chords you’d expect to see seem to be missing, that’s because there’s not an easy way to hold them without using bar chords. We’ll get to that in an upcoming lesson.

Those Basic Guitar Chords

And finally, if you don’t understand these charts, clear that up at the basic guitar chord charts page before you start rocking out.

*Note: If you can’t see enough of the chords at once, hit F11 on your keyboard to make your viewable space bigger. Just hit it again when you want to undo that*

Let’s play! No substitute for that, I always say. Remember, I’m giving you examples you might actually hear in songs.

Always take your time at first and know where you’re putting each finger before you lift it from the previous chord.

Don’t worry for now about strumming patterns or any of that fanciness. Play all downstrokes if you like, and just practice getting a good, clean sound out of the chords, making the switches as fluid as possible. You’ll make mistakes along the way, but the dirty little secret you probably haven’t been told is that experienced players make mistakes too.

Most people never notice because the experienced player corrects the error quickly and seamlessly, without breaking up the flow of what they are playing. This should be your goal… to transition smoothly and correct quickly. Mistakes happen, but keep playing and correcting and most people will never notice.

*Important note: If there is a little m after the chord (e.g. Em), it’s minor; if there’s a 7 it’s a seventh chord; if neither of those are present it’s major.

From Elsewhere

  • Reflective Progression
    • A – Em – D – A
  • In the style of Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven
    • Am – G – F
  • In the style of the 50s
    • F – G7 – C – Am
  • In the style of the gypsies (long)
    • Am – Dm – G – C – F – C – F – G
  • In the style of The Beatles’ Penny Lane
    • G – Em – Am – D7
  • In the style of Metallica’s To Live Is To Die
    • Am – G – Em – F
  • Twelve Bar Blues
    • A – D – E7
  • In the style of YOU
    • You probably don’t have a style yet, but not to worry. Just pick some chords at random. See how they sound. Get used to the feel of switching, and make sure that everything rings cleanly. Your ideas may sound questionable, or you may need to hide them because they’re so great, but the important thing is to play around with the basic guitar chords and have fun.