guitar chords beginner

What Chords for a Beginner?

Where do I start as a Beginner?

So, you’ve bought your first guitar! Your fingers are itching to play, but you don’t know how to tune the thing.

Most people in this position start picking out one or two chords they think might sound reasonable. All of a sudden, you feel like an accomplished guitarist! In reality, you’re just playing a bunch of random notes and only know the G major because you have seen it somewhere on the Internet or on Youtube.

If there is one thing we have learned at ProJo Guitar Lessons over 22 years, it is what chords are the easiest to learn as a beginner. Here’s a list of four guitar chords that every beginner should learn initially. But before we show you what the chords look like, we think you should know How to Read a Guitar Chord Diagram at this link if you don’t know. 

The Easy G Chord

We will start with the Easy G Chord, played with your Ring Finger placed on the bottom E string on the 3rd fret from the nut. The nut is that little white piece of plastic that you see. You only strum down from the D string, the fourth string from the bottom. This is the most straightforward chord to play and has a cool open sound. 

Easy G Chord

The best way to practice your strumming is literally to just give four downstrokes per chord | D D D D | We will give you a cool strumming pattern closer to the end of this blog post. 

Next, we move on to the E minor Chord.

Fantastic, now you can play the G Chord, but where do we go next? That is easy. We move to the Easy E Minor Chord. So from the G Chord, you will move your 2nd finger or middle finger to the D string or 4th string from the bottom and put it on the 2nd fret. You will still strum the four bottom strings as you strummed with the Easy G Chord. Voila! You can play your second chord already. 

Next in line, we have the C Chord.

 The C chord is easy because your middle finger is already on the correct fret and string from the previous E minor chord. All you have to do now is place your index finger or 1st finger on the 1st fret of the B string, and then you have a C chord. Once again, make sure you practice it precisely as the previous chords we have done with the down motion strumming pattern. 

Easy C Chord

Last but not least, we have the Difficult D Chord.

The D Chord looks totally different from the other chords, which might be why many people struggle to play it. We will show you the easy D chord, which is a Dsus2 chord but don’t worry about it. As time goes on, you’ll become better and learn to play the actual D chord. 

So to play the D chord, you will need to place your 1st finger or Index finger on the 2nd fret on the 3rd string from the bottom or G string, as we call it. Next, your 3rd finger or ring finger will go to the 4th fret of the B string or 2nd string from the bottom. Once again, you will strum from the open D string downwards.

Easy D Chord

There you have it! You can play 4 Beginner Chords on the guitar.

To hear an example of how I play it, you can click on the music clip below to hear how it sounds. I also like practising with a metronome which helps you tremendously with your rhythm and strumming. For the example below, I have put the metronome on 70 BPM or beats per minute, as we call it. 

 

So now we get to the fun part. Here is a list of some songs that can be played with these easy beginner chords: 

  • Sweet Home Alabama
  • Ring of Fire by – Johnny Cash 
  • Knocking on Heaven’s Door – Bob Dylan
  • Leaving on a Jet Plane – John Denver
  • Love Me Do – The Beatles 
  • I’m Yours – Jason Mraz
  • Brown Eyed Girl – Van Morrison
  • Good Riddance – Green Day 
  • Wonderful Tonight – Eric Clapton
  • Viva La Vida – Coldplay 

As you can see, the options to choose from are numerous. 

Below I have decided to add a chord chart for Leaving on a Jet Plane from John Denver. You are only using the G C and D Chord for this song. So to show you a basic strumming pattern, you can use the following strumming pattern for almost any song you are starting with: 

Leaving on a Jet Plane PDF

| Down Down Down Down Up | Down Down Down Down Up |

To hear how it sounds, please click on the clip below, and you can practice along with it by playing the G Chord at 70 BPM. 

 

To hear how I play along to Leaving on a Jet Plane, you can click below to hear the sound clip of me playing the Chorus. 

 

I genuinely hope this blog post has shed some light on how you can start playing the guitar as a beginner and become better at it. If you have any questions or topics you would like us to discuss here please send us an email and let us know. Ready to take up professional guitar lessons at ProJo Guitar Lessons? Click here to sign up today.