Guitar Chords For Beginners: 14 Easy Chords

Guitar chords for beginners need to be super-easy to play. But they also need to sound musical so people feel inspired to play and practice.

Chords that meet this criteria can be¬†hard to identify. And that’s why we created this free guide for you. Enjoy! ūüôā

guitar chords for beginners

In this free guitar lesson you will learn:

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

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Here’s some good news that most guitar learners don’t know: There is an easy version of EVERY chord.

Because most guitar beginners don’t know this, they try to learn the ‘standard’ version of all the common open¬†chords, like C and D etc. (This isn’t necessary guys. Make things easy on yourself!)

The best guitar chords for beginners are SUPER easy to play.¬†I call these easy chords¬†‘stepping-stone chords’ and they are a cornerstone of my teaching philosophy.

Stepping-stone chords are ideal guitar chords for beginners because they allow people to improve quickly and enjoy themselves along the way. This replaces frustration with progress. There is no downside.

Perfect guitar chords for beginners: Stepping-Stone examples

You can see 4 example stepping-stone chords below. These are perfect guitar chords for beginners:

guitar chords for beginners

If you don’t understand these diagrams,¬†read this post:¬†How To Read Chordboxes In 60 Seconds

Need a quick refresher on finger numbers?

Guitar Finger Numbers

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

  • If you want to play C major, play Cmaj7 instead.
  • If you want to play D major, play Dsus2 instead.

Let’s be clear on something: This is something that advanced guitarists do all the time.

This idea of ‘substituting’ chords is not just for people who are looking for easy guitar chords for beginners.

This is about increasing your chord vocabulary so you know multiple voicings of every chord. (And you can then pick a preferred voicing that suits the style/mood/vibe of the song.)

As guitarists, we often try multiple voicings of a chord to hear which VERSION of a chord sounds best.

A very important point:¬†Using stepping-stone chords is not ‘cheating’. This¬†is a progress accelerator. Every time you use these chords you are developing your finger dexterity, strength and control – all of this helps you to ‘graduate’ to the standard chord versions in the future.

Right, let’s get into the main event and look at some awesome stepping-stone chords. Here are 14 ideal¬†guitar chords for beginners!

Guitar chords for beginners: A major (A)

This is a chord that people need to know early in their guitar journey. It’s not super hard to play but it’s awkward and not one of my favourite guitar chords for beginners to use.

A major

guitar chords for beginners A major

It can be hard to compress three fingers into one fret and for people with thick fingers A major can be a very frustrating chord.

We need an easy alternative!

One of my favourite guitar chords for beginners is Asus2. This is a chord I teach all my students. It looks like this:

Asus2

guitar chords for beginners Asus2

Asus2¬†is played with just two fingers and they are in a nice shape. Give it a try! I’m sure you can see why this is one of my favourite guitar chords for beginners.

You can learn more easy ways to play A major by reading this lesson: 3 Easy Ways To Play A Major

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easy guitar chords for beginners

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 guitar chords for beginners.

Guitar chords for beginners: A minor (Am)

This is another very common chord. Most people master it after a few weeks. It looks like this:

A minor

guitar chords for beginners a minor

This chord needs three fingers to play which means it’s not ideal for beginners. A great version of A¬†minor that’s one of my favourite guitar chords for beginners is Am7. It looks like this:

A minor 7

guitar chords for beginners Amaj7

This is a simple 2-finger chord and as you will learn below, it’s a similar shape to C major. (We won’t go into it here, but you should know that A minor and C major are closely linked and because of this they appear together all the time.)

This mean that Am7 is the ideal bedfellow! Moving between Am7 and C major 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

‚úď ¬†Say goodbye to frustration and twisted fingers.¬†Say hello to MAKING MUSIC.

‚úst Learn beginner-friendly versions of every chord.

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

Guitar chords for beginners: B major (B)

B major is a terrible chord for beginners. It’s just too hard to play! Thankfully, it doesn’t crop up as often¬†as chords like G, Am or C, but it’s still a major chord so at some point you’re going to have to learn it.

The standard version of B looks like this:

B major

guitar chords for beginners b major

We need an easier version!

All things considered, the best option is B minor 11. This is one of my favourite guitar chords for beginners.

It looks like this:

Bm11

guitar chords for beginners B minor 11

This is a 2-finger chord and the shape isn’t too hard. Technically, this is a minor chord (so it shouldn’t work as a substitute for B major), but it sounds cool.

There are multiple ways to play B and the voicing you pick depends on two things:

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

These 2 questions are asked by guitarists all the time. They’re not exclusive to people¬†looking for easy guitar chords for beginners.

We want to boost¬†your chord vocabulary so¬†when you see chord X, your first thought is ‘which VERSION of chord X do I want to play?’

You can learn multiple easy ways to play B major by reading this lesson. Check it out!

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

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Guitar chords for beginners: B minor (Bm)

B minor is another really hard guitar chord for beginners to take on. In its standard form it looks like this:

B minor

guitar chords for beginners b minor

This is a barre chord which means it’s out of reach for beginners.

Guitar chords for beginners need to be easy AND sound good, so with this in mind the clear winner is B minor 11. (This is the same stepping-stone chord we used for B major.)

B minor 11

guitar chords for beginners Bm

This chord sounds awesome and is an easy shape to make.

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

guitar chords for beginners

Guitar chords for beginners: C major (C)

You must learn this chord. C major is one of the most common guitar chords.

Sadly, its standard chord shape is difficult to play. It spans 3 frets and uses 3 different fingers, which makes this one of the tougher guitar chords for beginners to master.

C major

guitar chords for beginners c major

Here is one of my favourite guitar chords for beginners: It’s called¬†“C major 7” and it needs just 2-fingers:

C major 7

guitar chords for beginners c major seven

I tell all my students to play this chord using fingers 2¬†and 3¬†(because that’s how their fingers WOULD¬†be shaped if they were playing a full C major chord). Can you see how learning this chord with fingers 2 and 3 smooths your transition to playing the standard C chord?

If you are a total guitar newbie feel free to play Cmaj7 with fingers 1¬†and 2¬†as shown in the picture above.¬†But as you improve it would be best¬†for you to start using fingers 2¬†and 3 because this will make it easier to ‘graduate’ to the full C major chord.

Take a moment to compare the 2¬†images above and be sure you’re clear on this important point!

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

Guitar chords for beginners: C minor (Cm)

C minor is a pretty rare chord. You won’t see it that much.

It’s certainly doesn’t need to be a priority if you’re just looking for simple guitar chords for beginners. But it’s a minor chord and you need to know it eventually.¬†It looks like this:

C minor

guitar chords for beginners c minor

This is a barre chord so it’s too difficult for beginners to play.

The easiest voicing of C minor looks like this:

C minor

guitar chords for beginners Cm

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

A useful tip: You can make ANY song easier to play using a capo.

Capos are handy tools that make life easier. They open the door for tons of cool guitar chords for beginners.

Check out this article to learn more: How To Use A Capo: A Guide For Beginners

Ok, let’s get back to our¬†search for the best guitar chords for beginners.

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Guitar chords for beginners: D major (D)

D major is a common chord and¬†it’s essential that you know how to play it (or at least, a voicing of it).

D major

guitar chords for beginners D major

This is¬†a fiddly chord! This shape is tricky and it’s on the far side of the fretboard¬†for transitions from¬†other¬†common chords like G and Em.

We need an easy chord. One of the most useful guitar chords for beginners is Dsus2. It looks like this:

Dsus2

guitar chords for beginners dsus 2

This is easier to play than a standard D chord 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.

guitar chords for beginners

Guitar chords for beginners: D minor (Dm)

D Minor is a really cool-sounding chord. It looks like this:

D minor

guitar chords for beginners Dm

It’s an awkward shape for beginners to play (but most people find it easier than D major). We need an easy version and our old friend Dsus2 comes to the rescue once again:

Dsus2

guitar chords for beginners d minor

Even though this isn’t¬†a minor chord it sounds okay in place of D minor.

We’re looking for guitar chords for beginners (and it doesn’t get¬†much easier than 2-finger chords ), but the¬†only spanner in the works here is trying to avoid playing¬†strings 5 &¬†6 while strumming.

This article will help: How To Skip Strings While Strumming

Learn more easy ways to play D minor by reading this lesson.

Guitar chords for beginners: E major (E)

E major has the same finger pattern as Am. (This often confuses people because one chord is major and the other is minor!)

E major

guitar chords for beginners E major

One of the things I love about this chord (& all open E chords) is that we can strum all 6 strings. There’s no need to worry about string accuracy or missing certain strings out – you can just strum!

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

E7

guitar chords for beginners E7

This has a blues feel and only needs 2 fingers. The bluesy feel means this chord isn’t well-suited to every track, but it will sound amazing with others.

Learn multiple easy ways to play E major by reading this lesson.

Guitar chords for beginners: E minor (Em)

This is one of the easiest guitar chords of all and fantastic guitar chords for beginners.

E minor

guitar chords for beginners E minor

Learn more ways to play E minor by reading this lesson.

Check out this article of ours which helps you figure out how the fretboard works: Guitar Notes Explained: A Guide For Beginners

guitar chords for beginners

Guitar chords for beginners: F major (F)

F major is one of the toughest guitar chords for beginners.¬†Unfortunately it¬†pops up in tons of great songs and is very common. You can’t shy away from this one, it’s a ‘must-learn’!

A standard F chord looks like this:

F major

guitar chords for beginners F major

The barre means this is too hard for beginner guitarists and my favourite easier version of F is F Major Seven. It looks like this:

Fmaj7

guitar chords for beginners Fmaj7

Note: There are lots of other ways to play F major. Check them out in this lesson.

Guitar chords for beginners: F minor (Fm)

F minor is played as a barre chord in its standard shape:

F major

guitar chords for beginners F minor

I recommend Fm7 to my students:

F minor 7

guitar chords for beginners Fm7

I love that people can just squish down 4 strings with one finger to play this.

This is a good chord to know because it’s a moveable shape. You can play it 2 frets higher and it becomes Gm7. (Move it another 2 frets higher and it becomes Am7, and so on.)

Learn more easy ways to play F minor by reading this lesson.

guitar chords for beginners

Guitar chords for beginners: G major (G)

G major might be the most common guitar chord. It looks like this:

G major

guitar chords for beginners G major

There are four fingers spread over multiple strings so this isn’t one of my favourite guitar chords for beginners.¬†Thankfully there’s a super-easy version we can use. It’s called G6 and it looks like this:

G6

guitar chords for beginners G6

This chord needs just 2 fingers and we can strum all six strings. This is one of the very best guitar chords for beginners. You will use this a lot!

Learn more easy ways to play G major by reading this lesson.

Guitar chords for beginners: G minor (Gm)

G minor is pretty rare. You won’t see it too much as a beginner guitarist.

It uses the same moveable chord shape as F minor but it’s two frets higher up the fretboard:

G minor

guitar chords for beginners G minor

The easiest way to play G minor is like this:

G minor

guitar chords for beginners Gm

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‚Äôre up to in your guitar journey you should take a look at our Guitar Map. It will show you what you ‚Äėshould‚Äô 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.

NGAEM

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