14 Easy Guitar Chords For Beginners

Easy guitar chords are essential for beginner guitarists, but they can be strangely hard to find online.

We wanted to make life simpler for beginner guitarists so we created this free guide that will teach you 14 easy guitar chords.

easy guitar chords

In this free guitar lesson you will learn:

  • 7 super-easy ways to play: A, B, C, D, E, F and G.
  • 7 super-easy ways to play: Am, Bm, Cm, Dm, Em, Fm and Gm.

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National Guitar Academy

Here’s a cool fact that most beginner guitarists don’t know: There is an easy version of EVERY chord.

This isn’t always clear to beginners which often means they try to tackle unsuitable chords. (It’s really not necessary, there are easy guitar chords that you should use to make things easier for yourself.)

I call these easy versions ‘stepping-stone’ chords and they are a cornerstone of my teaching philosophy.

Stepping stone chords allow beginner guitarists to progress quickly, have fun and increase their chances of successfully learning the guitar. There is no downside.

Example Stepping-Stone Chords

Here are 4 stepping-stone chord examples. These are easy guitar chords that most beginners can manage.

easy guitar chords

If you don’t understand what these images mean read this article:

How To Read Chordboxes In 60 Seconds

The basic principle here is that you substitute the standard chord for the easier version.

  • So when you need to play C major, you simply play Cmaj7 instead.
  • When you need to play D, you play Dsus2 instead.

It’s important you understand that this is something that guitarists do all the time, not just beginners. We’re always trying different chord voicings from our vocabulary to see what sounds best.

Don’t see using stepping-stone chords as ‘cheating’. Using stepping-stone chords is a progress accelerator. While using them you are developing your control and dexterity, all of which will help you tackle more difficult chords in the future.

Ok, let get into the main body of this guide and learn some easy guitar chords.

Easy Guitar Chords – ‘A major’ (A)

‘A major’ is a chord that guitarists encounter early on in their guitar journey. It’s a common chord and while it’s not super difficult to play, it does pose a challenge for a total beginner who would prefer to be playing easy guitar chords.

A major

easy guitar chords A major

Squeezing three fingers into one fret can be fiddly for some people, especially people with chunky fingers. Even so, this is a chord that we simply must be able to play, because it’s so common. We need an easy alternative!

The version of A major that I teach all my students is Asus2. It looks like this:

Asus2

easy guitar chords Asus2

You can see that this is a much easier chord to play, it only requires two fingers and they are bunched together in a way that is nice and compact. Easy guitar chords don’t come much easier than this.

The only challenge here is strumming the chord without making contact with the sixth string (the thickest string). But don’t worry too much about missing that string out to begin with, it’s far more important that you get comfortable holding the instrument and strumming.

(You can worry about finessing the chord’s voicing as you improve.)

You can learn more easy ways to play A major by reading this lesson:

3 Easy Ways To Play A

easy guitar chords

Check this out…

You’ll get a lot out of this article of ours: 10 Easy Songs For Beginners

Ok, let’s get back to our easy guitar chords.

Easy Guitar Chords – A minor (Am)

‘A minor’ is another very common guitar chord. Beginner guitarists need to be able play this chord.

A minor isn’t a very difficult chord to play and most people can master it within a couple of weeks:

A minor

easy guitar chords a minor

However, it does require three fingers to play which means the difficulty level rises. An excellent version of A minor for beginner guitarists is Am7. It looks like this:

A minor 7

easy guitar chords a major seven

As you can see this is only a two finger chord, and as you will see later on this is a very similar chord shape to C major. For reasons that we won’t go into here A minor and C major are very closely linked. (Those two chords crop up together all the time.)

Because of this Am7 is an excellent bedfellow! Moving from C major to Am7 is very easy to do. (And vice versa.)

You can learn more easy ways to play Am by reading this lesson.

Download a free beginner chord guide and learn easy versions of every chord

 Say goodbye to frustration and twisted fingers. Say hello to MAKING MUSIC.

  Learn beginner-friendly versions of every chord.

  This is one of our most popular guides and will improve your chord ability quickly. Click here to download the guide.

Easy Guitar Chords – B major (B)

B major is a nightmare chord for beginner guitarists looking for easy guitar chords. It doesn’t appear as frequently as chords like C, G or Am, but it’s still a major guitar chord which means at some point you have to play it.

The full version of B looks like this:

B major

easy guitar chords b major

As you can see this is beyond the ability of a beginner guitarist. We need an easier version.

There are several easier ways to play B major, but my favourite, all things considered, is B minor 11. It looks like this:

Bm11

easy guitar chords B minor 11

As you can see this as another 2-finger chord and the shape isn’t too challenging. Technically, this is actually a minor chord so it shouldn’t work, but I think it sounds cool.

As I said, there are several easier ways to play B and the one you choose to use will depend on two things:

  1. Playability – what are the chords BEFORE and AFTER the B?
  2. Musicality – which version of the chord sounds best-suited to the track?

These are questions that all guitarists ask themselves all the time. They’re not exclusive to beginner guitarists looking for easy chords!

We want to increase your chord vocabulary to a point where, when you see chord X, your first thought is ‘which VERSION of chord X do I want to play?’

You can learn several easy ways to play B major by reading this lesson.

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Easy Guitar Chords – B minor (Bm)

Like its major counterpart, B minor is a difficult chord for beginner guitarists to tackle. In its standard form it looks like this:

B minor

easy guitar chords b minor

As you can see this is a barre chord which means it’s simply too difficult for a beginner guitarist to play. We need an easy version for the beginner looking for easy guitar chords.

The clear winner here is B minor 11. (This is same chord we used above.)

B minor 11

easy guitar chords Bm

This chord sounds great and is easy to play.

You can learn more easy ways to play B minor by reading this lesson.

easy guitar chords

Easy Guitar Chords – C major (C)

C major is one of the most fundamental guitar chords of all. You simply must know this chord.

Unfortunately in its standard form it’s quite a difficult chord to play because it’s spread over three frets and requires three different fingers, this is tough for beginners.

C major

easy guitar chords c major

We’re looking for easy guitar chords and the easiest version of C major that you can use is C major 7. This requires just two fingers and is an easy finger pattern.

C major 7

easy guitar chords c major seven

I prefer all of my students to play C major seven using fingers two and three (because that’s how their fingers would be shaped if they were playing a full C major chord).

By all means, if you’re a complete beginner feel free to play Cmaj7 with fingers 1 and 2 as shown in the picture here. But as you progress it would be better for you to start using fingers 2 and 3 because this will make it easier for you to ‘graduate’ to playing the full C major chord.

Compare the two images above to be sure you’re clear on this important point.

You can learn more easy ways to play C major by reading this lesson.

Easy Guitar Chords – C minor (Cm)

Unlike its major counterpart C minor is an uncommon guitar chord. It doesn’t crop up that much.

But we still want you to know how to play it of course, so our search for easy guitar chords continues.

In its standard form C minor looks like this:

C minor

easy guitar chords c minor

This is another barre chord which means it’s very difficult for a beginner to play. (We’re looking for easy guitar chords and this certainly isn’t one of them.)

The easiest way to play C minor looks like this:

C minor

easy guitar chords Cm

You can learn more easy ways to play C minor by reading this lesson.

An important tip…

You can make any song easier to play using a capo.

Capos are essential tools for beginner guitarists looking for easy guitar chords. Capos make life simpler!

Check out this article to learn more:

How To Use A Capo: A Guide For Beginners

Ok, let’s get back to our easy guitar chords.

Easy Guitar Chords – D major (D)

D major is a very common guitar chord (one of the most common guitar chords of all), so it’s essential that you can play it.

D major

easy guitar chords D major

Unfortunately it’s a really fiddly chord! This shape is awkward, and it’s at the opposite side of the fretboard to more common chords like Em minor and G.

My preferred easy version of D is Dsus2. It looks like this:

Dsus2

easy guitar chords dsus 2

This is an easier shape to play and you can play it with fingers 1 and 2 or fingers 1 and 3.

If you are a total beginner and you just want to get started holding the instrument and making music, you can follow your natural urge which will be to play this chord using fingers 1 and 2.

However as you progress you should look to play this chord with fingers 1 and 3 as that will then keep finger 2 spare which will make it much easier for you to graduate to playing a full D chord.

You can learn more easy ways to play D major by reading this lesson.

easy guitar chords

Easy Guitar Chords – D minor (Dm)

In its standard form D Minor looks like this:

D minor

easy guitar chords Dm

It’s a slightly awkward chord shape for beginners to master. Most people find it easier to learn than D major but even so, we need an easy version and for that we can use Dsus2 again:

Dsus2

easy guitar chords d minor

Even though this is technically a major chord it sounds okay as a substitution for D minor. If you’re looking for easy guitar chords you can’t get much easier than 2-finger chords. (The only fly in the ointment here is trying to miss out strings 5 and 6 while strumming!)

Check this article out which will help:

How To Skip Strings While Strumming

You can learn more easy ways to play D minor by reading this lesson.

Easy Guitar Chords – E major (E)

E major is a chord that we use often. It shares the same finger shape as Am which can confuse some people, as one is a major chord and one is a minor chord. Don’t worry about that right now! 🙂

E major

easy guitar chords E major

One of the cool things about this chord (and all open E chords) is we can strum all six strings. No need to worry about accuracy here, you can just strum away.

The easiest way to play E major is to play E7:

E7

easy guitar chords E7

This is a two finger chord with a bluesy feel, which means it won’t be suited to certain tracks but it will sound awesome with others!

You can learn more easy ways to play E major by reading this lesson.

Easy Guitar Chords – E minor (Em)

Easy guitar chords don’t come much easier than Em. This is one of the easiest guitar chords of all.

E minor

easy guitar chords E minor

You can learn other ways to play E minor by reading this lesson.

Check out this article, you’ll find it useful for figuring out how the fretboard works:

Guitar Notes Explained: A Guide For Beginners

easy guitar chords

Easy Guitar Chords – F major (F)

F major is a beginner guitarist’s nightmare. We’re looking for easy guitar chords and this is the polar opposite!

Unfortunately for beginners, this is a chord that’s used very often and pops up in tons of great songs. To play it in its full form it looks like this:

F major

easy guitar chords F major

This barre chord is too difficult for beginner guitarists. My preferred easier version is F major seven. It looks like this:

Fmaj7

easy guitar chords Fmaj7

Unusually, there are actually quite a few other ways to play F major and you can see them in this lesson.

Easy Guitar Chords – F minor (Fm)

In its full form F minor is played as a barre chord, like this:

F minor

easy guitar chords F minor

This is too tough for beginners so I recommend my students play Fm7.

F minor 7

easy guitar chords Fm7

With this chord you can simply squish down four strings with one finger.

It’s an easy shape, but the strings can be difficult to press because they are so close to the nut. To make this easier, press the strings down close to the first metal fret marker.

You can learn more easy ways to play F minor by reading this lesson.

easy guitar chords

Easy Guitar Chords – G major (G)

G major is probably the most common guitar chord of all. In its full form it looks like this:

G major

easy guitar chords G major

As you can see, there are four fingers here spread over multiple strings. This makes this chord a challenge for beginners.

Thankfully there is a super easy version we can use called G6. In our search for easy guitar chords this is very high on the list (you will use this a lot).

G6

easy guitar chords G6

This chord only requires two fingers and we can strum all six strings. Fantastic! 🙂

You can learn more easy ways to play G major by reading this lesson.

Easy Guitar Chords – G minor (Gm)

G minor isn’t a chord that you will see very often as a beginner guitarist. It’s pretty rare.

It uses the same hand shape as F minor but 2 frets higher:

G minor

easy guitar chords G minor

The easiest way to play G minor looks like this:

G minor

easy guitar chords Gm

You can learn more easy ways to play G minor by reading this lesson.

Find Out What You Should Learn Next With Our Guitar Map

If you want to understand where you’re up to in your guitar journey you should take a look at our Guitar Map. It will show you what you ‘should’ know by now (and also what you need to learn next to move forward as a guitarist).

Most people find that the Guitar Map shows them how everything fits together and best of all, it will help you identify gaps in your knowledge that are holding you back.

(There is often just one piece of information that holds people back, 1 key insight that they need to know so they can continue moving forward and improving in their guitar journey.)

I made the Guitar Map so people like you can quickly identify what you don’t know, that you need to know next. I hope that makes sense!?

NOTE: The Guitar Map is now included in our free special report: 'The 7 Steps To Guitar Mastery'.

Want free guitar tips and video lessons delivered to your inbox?

Join over 30,000 other guitar learners and subscribe to our guitar-tips-by-email service. (It's free.)

We'll send you a series of lessons that will move you to the next level of your guitar journey.

Learn how everything fits together quickly, easily and effectively. We share ninja tips (for instant fun!) but also timeless fundamentals that will deepen your understanding.

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