guitar chords

The 7 Guitar Chords that a Beginner Should Know

If you recently started playing the guitar and want to know which guitar chords you should learn first, then this article will help you!

If you seek advice as a beginner guitar player, you will receive a variety of different responses. 

Well, fret not. We’re going to provide the best guide for beginners on this subject. 

We will discuss the first guitar chords you shouldwork toward learning and tell you why they are essential. 

We will also provide some tips on how to learn the chords so that it doesn’t seem so daunting to try to figure them out. 

Learning guitar chords can be an intimidating task for beginners, but, after you learn the basics, it can be easer than you think. 

Chords are made up of three or more notes that are played together and they’re used to make music sound fuller and richer. 

A lot of songs use chords with alternating rhythms and melodies to create beautiful harmonies. 

Don’t let your fear hold you back from learning how to play the guitar; instead conquer those fears with this blog post on how to learn guitar chords!

What guitar chords should a beginner know?

There is not an exact right answer to this question. 

The answer is really just the objective opinions of a bunch of guitar players like me. 

early on, Some players may look for the guitar tabs of their favorite songs and proceed from there. 

I actually learned guitar chords by getting a Beatles book. That book expanded my knowledge of guitar chords and gave me the confidence needed as a new player. 

Some beginners may just want to learn the major chords and then eventually move on to their minor counterparts.

I think learning both major and minor chords early on will help with future development. 

With that said, below you will find our suggestions for the first 7 guitar chords you should learn and my reasoning as to why. 

A-Major Guitar Chord 

You may be thinking that “A” is the first letter in the alphabet so that is why it’s first up. 

That may be subconsciously true however, this “A” is also a great starting point when learning guitar chords. 

It is one of the most commonly used keys in music. 

Why is A major such a popular key for strings? It’s because it produces a full sound with its sharp notes, making the notes stand out. 

In A major, the key of freedom and expression is most apparent.

How to play an A-Major Chord?

There are a few ways to play this chord with regards to your fingering.

The image below will display the most common if the fingering positions. Later on we will show some different ways to play these chords, however this is the positioning of the chord:

  • First finger 4th string – 2nd fret
  • Second finger 3rd string – 2nd fret 
  • Third finger 2nd string – 2nd fret 

A Minor Guitar Chord

Next up is the A Minor Chord. 

It’s a logical step after you have gotten used to the fingering positions for the A major chord. 

As discussed in our Minor Chord Progressions article, it’s one of my favorite chords because it has a sad feel to it, due to its minor component. 

How to play an A Minor Chord?

There is generally only one accepted way to poistion your fingers for the open A minor chord. If there is more than one way,then I don’t happen to use it. 

Per the image below, here are the fingering positions. 

  • First finger 2nd string – 1st fret
  • Second finger 4th string – 2nd fret 
  • Third finger 3rd string  – 2nd fret 

C Major Guitar Chord

Bob Dylan coined the key of C major to be “the key of strength,” but also the key of regret. 

We all know that Dylan was poetic and cryptic so this statement could mean a number of different things, but it still rings true to me. 

C major is one of the most common key signatures used in music. 

It has no flats and no sharps, so it’s easy to write for any instrument!

How to play a C Major Chord?

This was one of the first open chords that I learned and it’s a very natural shape when you put your fingers to the fretboard. 

Per the image below, here are the fingering positions. 

  • First finger 2nd string – 1st fret
  • Second finger 4th string – 2nd fret 
  • Third finger 5th string  – 2nd fret 

D Major Guitar Chord

Not only is this chord one of the easier with regards to fingering positions, it’s really essential to know early on as transitioning to and from it is less of a hassle than other guitar chords. 

Once you get familiar with this chord, you will be able to recognize it by ear and also by sight when watching your favorite guitar players. 

How to play a D Major Chord?

Like the C Major Chord, this has almost a natural feel to it. Knowing this shape will also help you in the long run as you discover different ways to play chords.  

Per the image below, here are the fingering positions. 

  • First finger 3rd string – 2nd fret
  • Second finger 6th string – 2nd fret 
  • Third finger 5th string  – 3rd fret 

E Major Guitar Chord

The E Major Chord has a very bold sound to it. 

This guitar chord has an open sound that just keeps making you want to play more!

It can be used in both jazz and pop songs and, of course, in rock and roll. 

How to play an E Major Chord?

The E Major fingering position is another one that will help you in the long run, especially as you learn barre chords.   

Per the image below, here are the fingering positions. 

  • First finger 3rd string – 1st fret
  • Second finger 5th string – 2nd fret 
  • Third finger 5th string  – 2nd fret 

E Minor Guitar Chord

The E Minor chord is one of my favorites to play. 

It’s an easy chord to play, due to the fact that you only need two fingers. The sound of an E minor chord is mellow and sad.

Classical guitarists often find their repertoire limited to the key of E minor, as this is natural for them.

How to play an E Minor Chord?

I learned the E Minor Chord by using my index and middle finger. However, as time progressed, I discovered an alternative way to play the chord with your middle and ring finger. 

I personally think this fingering pattern is better to learn and easier to transition to other chords. 

Per the image below, here are the fingering positions. 

  • Second finger 5th string – 2nd fret 
  • Third finger 4th string  – 2nd fret 

G Major Guitar Chord

Music lovers often prefer G major to other keys, with C in second place. It is no surprise then that this key makes up the majority of music.

The sound of a G Major chord is full and rich, with a very strong bass note.

Lots of country and folk songs use it as the opening chord which gives them a distinguished sound. 

How to play a G Major Chord?

The G Major fingering requires more stretching than some of the others in their open position.   

Per the image below, here are the fingering positions. 

  • First finger 5th string – 2nd fret
  • Second finger 6th string – 3rd fret 
  • Third finger 1st string  – 3rd fret 


The guitar is an instrument that anyone can learn to play. 

Whether you’re a beginner or have been playing for years, there are plenty of resources out there to help you improve your skills and gain confidence on the guitar. 

We may not all be able to achieve mastery overnight but with dedication and practice we will get better each time we pick up a new skill.

These beginner chords are an excellent place to start for the guitarist who wants to learn some of the most commonly used ones.

If you’re just picking up a guitar, make sure that you know these 7 beginner chords. 

They will put you on your way to playing your first song!

The 7 chords we’ve discussed in this article will help you begin the process of learning all about playing guitar, but don’t stop there! 

As with any new skill, practice makes perfect.

Soon enough, you’ll find yourself performing on stage like Jimi Hendrix himself. 

Don’t worry if it seems too daunting at first – remember that everyone has trouble when they are starting out!

We hope that this article has helped you to understand the 7 guitar chords a beginner should know and we’ve given you some tips on how to learn them. 

Remember to keep practicing and get used to how these chords sound. This will help you as you expand your knowledge. 

If there are any other questions about your learning process or if you want help picking out an instrument, please get in touch!

Thank you again for reading this article and remember to always HAVE FUN!

Frank DeMaria
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