Guitar Chords: The Ultimate Guide

Welcome to our world famous guide on guitar chords. On this page we will cover guitar chords from beginner through to advanced. You don’t need to go anywhere else if you want to learn guitar chords. 

guitar chords

In this epic ultimate guide you will learn:

  • Over 50 guitar chords that will make you sound amazing.
  • The number 1 secret to learning guitar chords quickly.
  • 2 quick & easy tricks that accelerate guitar progress.
  • 3 essential chord hacks which will help you master guitar chords.

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This guide is epic. There is SO much useful content right here on this page.

To help you navigate this epic guide, we’ve created a contents page which will get you where you want to be in seconds.

Whether you want to learn easy chords, or hard chords. You can find them with the click of a mouse.

1. Beginner 3 String Chords

2. Beginner Stepping-Stone Chords and Open Chords

3. Intermediate Power Chords

3. Intermediate Barre Chords.

4. Intermediate Semi-Barre Chords

5. Advanced CAGED Guitar Chords.

6. Advanced Major 7th, Minor 7th and Dominant 7th Chords

3 String Guitar Chords

3 string guitar chords are the easiest chords you can play on guitar. These chords are perfect for kids or for adults who have conditions which affect the dexterity of their fingers.

They are super-easy to play and use no more than 1 finger.

Here are a few classic examples of some 3 string guitar chords:

Em

guitar chords

(If you don't understand the above image please read our article "How To Read Guitar Chordboxes In 60 Seconds". It will make everything clear!)

.

G Major

guitar chords

C Major

Guitar Chords

To learn how to read guitar chords, go here: How To Read Guitar Chords: An Essential Guide

D Major

Guitar Chords

E Major

E Major

 

To learn more about these chords, go here: Guitar Lessons For Kids

Stepping-Stone Chords And Open Chords

Stepping-stone chords are easier versions of more advanced guitar chords.

If you’re a beginner guitarist you must start with stepping-stone chords as this helps you develop your technique and dexterity. Then, once you’re ready, you can have a go at harder chords.

You must know how to play every major and minor chord. We’re going to show you every stepping-stone chord and open chord. Let’s get stuck in.

Quick Tip!

Every time you see a chord without the word ‘minor’ after it, this is a major chord.

Like this:

  • ‘A’ = A major chord
  • ‘A Minor’ = A minor chord

If you want to enhance your musicality, you must learn how to strum. Learn how to do this in this free guitar lesson: How To Strum

A Chord

Here’s a standard open A major chord.

Guitar Chords

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.

 

Stepping Stone A

Here’s a stepping-stone version of this A chord. In the guitar world, we refer to this chord as Asus2. If you find the normal A chord too difficult, play this one.

guitar chords

To learn more voicings of the A chord, go here: 3 Easy Ways To Play The A Chord On Guitar

A Minor Chord

Here’s a regular A minor chord.

guitar chords

Stepping Stone A Minor Chord

Here’s a stepping stone version of the A minor chord. This is an Am7. Use this chord if you find the regular A minor too difficult.

Guitar Chords

Learn more voicings of this chord here: Am Guitar Chord For Beginners

Bb Major Chord

Here’s a regular Bb chord:

Bb_Guitar_Chord

Stepping Stone Bb Chord

Here’s a stepping-stone version of the Bb chord:

Bb Chord

Bb Minor Chord

Here’s a regular Bb minor chord:

guitar chords

Bb Minor (Stepping-Stone Version)

Here’s an easier version of the Bb minor chord:

Guitar Chords

 

B Chord

Here’s a regular B chord:

Guitar Chords

Stepping Stone B Chord

Here’s the stepping-stone version of this chord:

B Chord

Learn more voicings of this chord here: B Guitar Chord – Tips For This Tough Chord

B Minor Chord

Here’s a regular B minor chord:

Bm guitar chord

B Minor (Stepping-Stone Version)

Here’s a regular B minor chord. This chord is also known as Bm11.

guitar chords

To learn more voicings of this chord, go here: Bm Guitar Chord For Beginners

How Do I Play Guitar Chords?

Here are 3 quick & easy tips which will help you play barre guitar chords.

  • Use the tips of your fingers. (Try and fret the note as close to your fingernail as possible.)
  • Place your thumb behind the neck. It should be straight with your thumb nail pointing up to the ceiling.
  • Your fingers should be as straight as possible when you fret chords.

To learn more about how to play guitar chords, go here: How To Play Guitar Chords: A Beginner’ Guide

C Chord

Here’s a regular C chord:

guitar chords

Stepping Stone C Chord

Here’s an easier version of this chord. This is a C major 7 chord.

GUITAR CHORDS

To learn more voicings of the C chord, go here: Easy Ways To Play The C Guitar Chord

C Minor Chord

Here’s a regular version of the C minor chord. This chord can be tricky, so take your time with it.

C minor chord

C Minor (Stepping-Stone Version)

Here’s an easier version of this chord. It’s perfect for beginners because:

  • It only uses 3 fingers.
  • It enhances your dexterity and technique.

Cm guitar chord

Learn more C minor voicings here: 4 Easy Ways To Play The C Minor Guitar Chord

Db Major

Here’s the standard version of Db major:

Guitar Chords

Db Major (Stepping-Stone Version)

Here’s an easier verison of the Db major guitar chord:

This chord is EXACTLY the same as D chord, except it is moved to the 1st fret.

D Major Chord

Here’s the standard version of the D guitar chord:

guitar chords

D Major Chord (Stepping-Stone Version)

Here’s an easier version of the D chord. Notice how it’s the same as the D chord, however it uses less fingers.

Dsus2

Learn more voicings of this chord here: 3 Easy Ways To Play The D Chord On Guitar

Bonus Tip!

If you’re struggling to remember guitar chords, try this cool guitar hack.

  • Every time you learn a new guitar chord, squeeze your fretting hand. 

This engages your muscle memory, and helps you to remember the chord.

However, it’s important that you play the chord correctly. If you don’t, you will be teaching yourself to remember the wrong chord!

Want to learn guitar online for FREE? Check out some of our best guitar lessons here: Learn Guitar Online: Beginner, Intermediate & Advanced Lesson Programmes

D Minor (Open Chord)

Here’s a D minor in the open position:

D Minor (Stepping-Stone Version)

Here’s an easier voicing of the D minor chord. You can use this chord instead of a D minor chord.

guitar chords

Learn more voicings of this chord here: 3 Easy Ways To Play The Dm Guitar Chord

Eb Major Chord

Here’s the Eb Major Chord:

This chord is the exact same shape as a D chord, except it has been moved up one fret.

Eb Major (Stepping-Stone Version)

Here’s an easier version of the Eb major chord.

Eb chord

Learn to play the Eb guitar chord here: E Flat Guitar Chord For Beginners

Eb Minor Chord

Here’s an Eb minor chord. This chord can be tricky for beginners, so take your time when learning to play this chord:

guitar chords

Eb Minor (Stepping-Stone Version)

If you find the above chord too difficult, play this voicing:

Guitar Chords

To learn more voicings of this chord, go here: E Flat Minor Chord For Beginners

E Major Chord

The E chord is one of the most popular beginner guitar chords.

Here it is:

E Major Chord (Stepping-Stone Version)

If you find the chord above too difficult, try this chord. In the guitar world, we refer to this an ‘E7’ chord. You can use it instead of an ‘E chord’.

guitar chords

To learn more voicings of this chord, go here: 4 Easy Ways To Play The E Chord On Guitar

E Minor Chord

Here’s a standard E minor chord:

Em

E Minor (Stepping-Stone Version)

If you find the standard Em chord too difficult, try learning this voicing:

It’s fantastic for beginners as it only uses 1 finger.

To learn more voicings of the E minor chord, go here: Em Guitar Chord-4 Easy Ways To Play This Essential Chord

F Chord

The F chord is one of the hardest you can play on the guitar. Here it is:

Guitar Chords

This is tricky as it uses a barre over the 1st fret. To learn how to barre chords, go here: 3 Tips For Clean & Easy Barre Chords

F Chord (Stepping-Stone Version)

Here’s an easier version of this chord. This is known as an ‘F major 7’ chord.

F chord

To learn more about the F chord, go here: F Guitar Chord – 3 Easy Alternatives

F Minor Chord

Here’s a regular F minor chord:

Guitar Chords

This is harder than the previous open chords as you have to barre across the top 3 strings.

F Minor Chord (Stepping-Stone Version)

If you find the above voicing too hard, learn this one:

guitar chords

To learn more voicings of this chord, go here: Fm Chord – Easy Shapes For Beginner Guitarists

Pro Guitar Tip!

Once you think you’ve mastered a guitar chord:

Try and play it without looking at the fret board.

This is a real challenge and tests how well you know guitar chords.

Here are few tips which will help you master this cool guitar hack:

  • Try and visualise what the chord looks like in your head. Think about where you are placing your fingers.
  • When practicing guitar chords, try to remember what the chord feels and sounds like.
  • Squeeze your hand every time you get a chord right!

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F# Major

Here’s a standard F# major chord:

F# Major

F# Major (Stepping-Stone Version)

Here’s an easier voicing of this chord:

Guitar Chords

To learn an easier voicing of this chord, go here: F# Chord For Beginners

F# Minor

Here’s an F# minor in the open position:

F sharp minor guitar chord

F# Minor (Stepping-Stone Version)

If you find the open version of this chord too difficult, learn this chord:

Guitar Chords

Learn more voicings of this chord here: F# Minor Chord For Beginners

G Chord

The G chord is a must-know for all beginners. Here’s the open voicing of this chord:

Guitar Chords

G Chord (Stepping-Stone Version)

Some beginners find this chord too hard. If you do, learn this voicing instead. This is a ‘G6’ chord.

Guitar Chords

G Minor Chord

Here’s a standard G minor chord:

G Minor Chord

G Minor Chord (Stepping-Stone Version)

If you find the standard G minor chord too difficult, learn this voicing:

Gm

Learn more voicings of this chord here: G Minor Guitar Chord For Beginners

Ab Chord

Here’s the a standard Ab guitar chord:

a flat guitar chord

Ab Chord (Stepping-Stone Version)

Here’s a simplified version of this chord:

a flat guitar chord

If you know how to play an A chord, just move it to the 1st fret.

Learn more voicings of the Ab guitar chord here: Ab Guitar Chord

Ab Minor Chord

Here’s the chord box for the Ab minor chord:

Abm Chord

Ab Minor Chord (Stepping-Stone Version)

If you find the standard version of this chord too hard, learn this one:

A flat minor chord

To learn more voicings of this chord go here: Abm Guitar Chord For Beginners

Bonus Guitar Tip!

If you’re trying to learn a song and a chord looks too hard. Don’t be afraid to play an easier version of that chord. It will still sound good! For example, if the chord was ‘Bm11’ you don’t HAVE to play that chord. You could play a regular Bm chord. This works for ALL guitar chords.

Why are guitar chords important to know?

Guitar chords form the foundation of all music. If you don’t know guitar chords, you will never become the guitarist you want to be.

You must know guitar chords if you want to learn songs.

To learn easy songs go here: 10 Easy Songs On Guitar

Power Chords

Power chords breach the gap between open chords and barre chords. If you feel like you’ve mastered open chords, but aren’t ready for barre chords. Learn some power chords.

Here’s the basic power chord shape, this power chord is in the key of ‘G’.

power chords

To learn more about power chords, check out this cool lesson: How To Play Guitar Power Chords

   

Barre Chords

Before we start learning how to play barre chords, we must understand the concept behind them.

Barre chords, are ‘moveable shapes’This means that the EXACT same barre chord shape can be moved up and down the fret board.

When you learn barre chords, you only need to learn 2 – 3 shapes. Once you’ve learned one shape, you can move it to a different fret to change the chord.

The two main barre chord shapes are:

  • The E shape.
  • The A shape.

The ‘E’ Shape Barre Chord

We refer to this barre chord shape as the ‘E shape’ because it uses the same shape as the open E chord.

Here’s the open ‘E’ chord:

E Chord

Here’s an ‘F Chord (E Shape)’:

F Chord

Can you see how both chords use the shape of an E chord?

Moving this shape up the fret board

This guitar chord can be moved up and down the fret board. All you have to do is change the starting fret.

This works because you are changing the root note. To do this, you must know what the root notes are on the low E string.

Here they are:

E root notes

Try and move this shape to every fret.

Do you find barre chords difficult?

Don’t worry if you find barre chords difficult, this is perfectly natural. If you want to learn how to play barre chords, watch this video:

The A Shape Barre Chord

The A shape barre chord is based on a open A chord.

Let’s compare. Here’s an open A chord:

Guitar Chords

Here’s the A shape barre chord. For this barre chord we’ve used the key of ‘Bb’.

Bb chord

Can you see how both chords are using the A shape?

Moving this shape up the fret board

This shape can be moved up and down the fret board. This works because you are changing the root note on the ‘A string’.

To move this chord shape, you must know what the notes are on the A string. Here they are:

A root notes

Try and move the A barre chord shape up down the fret board.

Major And Minor Barre Chord Shapes

Here are ALL of the major and minor chords that use the E and A shapes.

A (E Shape)

Guitar Chords

A (A Shape)

Guitar Chords

A Minor (E Shape)

A_Minor_(E_Shape)

A Minor (A Shape)

Am_(12th_fret_)

Bb (E Shape)

Guitar Chords

Bb (A Shape)

Bb Chord

Bb Minor (E Shape)

Guitar Chords

Bb Minor (A Shape)

Bb Minor

B (E Shape)

Guitar Chords

B (A Shape)

B Major

B Minor (E Shape)

B_Minor_

B Minor (A Shape)

B Minor (A Shape)

C (E Shape)

 

Guitar Chords

C (A Shape)

C Chord

C Minor (E Shape)

Guitar Chords

C Minor (A Shape)

Guitar Chords

Db (E Shape)

Db Guitar Chord

Db (A Shape)

Guitar Chords

Db Minor (E Shape)

Guitar Chords

Db Minor (A Shape)

Guitar Chords

D (E Shape)

D_Chord_(E_Shape)_

D (A Shape)

D Chord

D Minor (E Shape)

D_Minor

D Minor (A Shape)

Guitar Chords

 

Eb (E Shape)

Guitar Chords

Eb (A Shape)

Guitar Chords

Eb Minor (E Shape)

E Flat Minor Chord

Eb Minor (A Shape)

Guitar Chords

E (E Shape)

E_Bar_Chord_(12th_fret)

E (A Shape)

Guitar Chords

E Minor (E Shape)

Guitar Chords

E Minor (A Shape)

E_Minor_(A_Shape)

 

F (E Shape)

Guitar Chords

F (A Shape)

Guitar Chords

 

F Minor (E Shape)

F Minor

F Minor (A Shape)

F_Minor_(A_Shape)

F# (E Shape)

F# Chord

 

F# (A Shape)

Guitar Chords

 

F# Minor (E Shape)

Guitar Chords

F# Minor (A Shape)

Guitar Chords

G (E Shape)

G Barre Chord (E Shape)

G (A Shape)

 

Guitar Chords

G Minor (E Shape)

Gm Chord

G Minor (A Shape)

Guitar Chords

 

G# (E Shape)

G# Guitar Chord

G# (A Shape)

a flat guitar chord

G# Minor (E Shape)

Guitar Chords

G# Minor (A Shape)

Guitar Chords

Bonus Tip!

Learning guitar isn’t just about learning chords. You should also try and learn some lead guitar.

Check out this free lesson which will show you EVERYTHING you need to know about lead guitar: How To Play Lead Guitar

Semi-Barre Chords

Once you’ve learned how to play barre chords, learn to play semi-barre chords. Semi-barre chords sound fantastic on acoustic.

We refer to these chords as ‘semi barre chords’, because they use the same shapes as barre chords, however they DON’T use a barring technique.

We can play semi-barre chords using the ‘E’ and ‘A’ shape’

Semi Barre Chords (E Shape)

This is an A major chord which uses the semi barre chord shape.

Semi-Barre_Chords_(a)

We can play all of the major chords in the key of ‘E’ using this shape.

All you have to do is move it to the following frets:

  • 7th fret (this is a B major chord)
  • 12th fret (this is E major chord)

Minor Semi Barre Chords (E Shape)

We can also play all of the minor chords in the key of ‘E’ using this shape:

Guitar Chords

To do this, move it to the following frets:

  • 2nd fret (F# minor)
  • 9th fret (C# minor)

When this shape is on the 4th fret, it is a G# minor chord.

To learn more about the key of ‘E’ go here: Chords In The Key Of E

Semi Barre Chords (A Shape)

We can also apply a similar concept to the A major barre shape. This shape is exactly the same, but we don’t barre the high E string:

For this example we’ve used a C major chord:

Guitar Chords

You can also move it to the following frets:

  • 5th fret (D chord)
  • 7th fret (E chord)
  • 10th fret (G chord)
  • 12th fret (A chord)

Minor Semi Barre Chords (A Shape)

Here’s a great example of a minor semi barre chord. This is a C# minor chord.

Guitar Chords

You can move it the following frets to change the key of the chord:

  • 7th fret (E minor)
  • 9th fret (F# minor)
  • 11th fret (G# minor)
  • 12th fret (A minor)
  • 14th fret (B minor)

Learning to play guitar is good for your mind and body. Find out how in this article by Guitar Player: 10 Reasons Why Playing Guitar Is Good For Your Mind And Body

CAGED Guitar System

The E and A shapes aren’t the only moveable shapes on the fret board. You can also move the:

  • D Shape
  • G Shape
  • C Shape

This is what is known as the CAGED guitar system. To learn about this, go here: CAGED Guitar System: How To Master Chords

Advanced Guitar Chords – Major 7, Minor 7 and Dominant 7

The final step you must take to become a guitar chord master is to learn:

  • Major 7 chords
  • Minor 7 chords
  • Dominant 7 chords

There are two ways you can play these chords, you can use the:

  • E Shape
  • A Shape

Let’s learn them!

Major 7 Chords (E Shape)

Here’s the A major 7 chord:

Guitar Chords

Minor 7 Chords (E Shape)

Here’s the A minor 7 chord:

Guitar Chords

Dominant 7 Chords (E Shape)

Here’s the A7 chord:

Guitar Chords

Moveable Shapes

If you want to change the key of each of these chords, you must move them to a different fret.

To begin with move them to the following frets.

  • 7th fret (B note)

If you move each chord to the following frets, they will become:

  • B Major 7
  • B Minor 7
  • B Dominant 7

Once you’ve mastered this, move each chord up a fret to the:

  • 8th fret (C note)

This means each chord will now become a:

  • C Major 7
  • C Minor 7
  • C Dominant 7

If you want to explore more keys, you must know what the notes are on the low E string. Here they are:

Guitar Chords

To become a chord master, try and move each chord to every fret.

We can also play 7 chords on the A string, let’s learn them.

Major 7 Chords (A Shape)

Here’s a C major 7 chord:

guitar chords

Minor 7 Chords (A Shape)

Here’s the Cm7 chord:

guitar chords

Dominant 7 Chords (A Shape)

Here’s the C7 chord:

guitar chords

Changing The Key Of Each Chord

If you want to change the key of chord, move it to a different fret.

To begin with, move each chord up to the 5th fret on the A string. (This is a D note.)

Therefore, each chord will become:

  • D Major 7
  • D Minor 7
  • D Dominant 7

Once you’ve mastered this, move them up two frets. (This is an E note).

Each of the guitar chords will become:

  • E Major 7
  • E Minor 7
  • E Dominant 7

If you fancy a added challenge, try moving these chord shapes to each of the notes on the A string. (5th string.)

To help you out, here are ALL of the notes on the A string:

Guitar Chords

Do I need to know anything else about guitar chords?

Once you’ve mastered all of these chords, it’s worth checking out some jazz guitar chords. Jazz guitar chords are essential to know if you want to take you’re playing to the next level.

To learn jazz guitar chords go here: Jazz Guitar: A 5-Step Programme For Rapid Jazz Skill

Once you’ve learned to played guitar chords, you must understand how guitar chords. Understanding guitar theory is crucial if you want to become an advanced guitarist.

To learn guitar theory, go here: Guitar Theory: A 5 Step Guide

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.)

We made the Guitar Map so people like you can quickly identify what you don’t know, that you need to know next. We 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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