Open Chords Guitar: The Ultimate Guide

Open Chords Guitar – Cmaj7

For a fuller version of C major, which happens to be one of the prettiest open chords guitar players can make, you can use just two fingers and make a Cmaj7 chord.


Why use anything else? It’s perfect just the way it is.

Open Chords Guitar – C Major (Full Version)

To make a full C chord, you will need to use three fingers, like this. It is played from the A string down.


Pro-tip: When you go to make the full C major chord, get your third finger on the fifth string before doing anything else. This will situate your other fingers over the strings they need to be on

Open Chords Guitar – C Minor

C minor isn’t the easiest chord to play in an open position. However, there are a few open string versions that you can use, here they are:

Open Chords Guitar – C Minor (2 Finger Version)


The trickiest part about playing this chord is avoiding the low E, A and high E string. To do this with ease, just focus on playing the D, G and B strings.

Open Chords Guitar – Cm (The Easiest Version)

This is a super-cool version of the Cm chord as it only uses two fingers! When you play this chord, be careful not to strum the B (2nd) and E (1st) strings as this will turn this Cm chord into something else.


If you’d like to learn other versions of the Cm chord, go here: 4 Easy Ways To Play The C Minor Guitar Chord

D Major Chords

D major is not the simplest of the open chords guitar players use, but it is one of the most prevalent, so here are some of our favourite versions of the D major chord.



Dsus2 is a fantastic easier option for guitarists to know. It’s also a great ‘stepping-stone’ for the guitar player who is struggling with the D major chord.

D Major

The D major chord is one of the most popular chords in music and it looks like this:



The other D major chord you can use as a beginner is a D7, a bluesy version of D and one of the most comfortable open chords guitar players use!


All D chords, whether major, minor, suspended, or seventh, are played from the D string down.

Chords form the foundation of all music for us as guitarists. However, it’s sometimes to work out what music you like.

To help you out, check out this article from Rolling Stone Magazine which tells you what the greatest songs of all time are: 500 Greatest Songs Of All Time

Open Chords Guitar – D Minor Chords

D minor is officially documented in the movie “This is Spinal Tap” as the saddest key. In a musical emergency, you can use Dsus2 as a substitute for D minor.

Dm looks and sounds like D has been drinking! Here is how to make a full Dm chord.



E Major Chords

E major is one of the most satisfying open chords guitar players use because it uses all six strings and sounds especially full and resonant.

Open Chords Guitar – E7

One of the easiest versions of the E major chord is a two-finger substitute, E7. This looks like this:


This chord is great for those bluesy moments.

Download our lead guitar cheat-sheet to make things easier

It can be disorientating for guitarists to understand which scales work with which keys.

With this in mind, we created a cheat-sheet; a key and scale-finder that you can use again and again.

E Major

Here is the full E major chord.


Pro Chord Changing Tip!

E and B7 are two open chords guitar players use together all the time, and you can practice changing between them by flip-flopping your first and third fingers.

From E, your first finger goes north to the A string, and your third finger goes south to the D string. Add your pinky, and you’re on the B7.

E Minor Chords

Widely regarded as the easiest open guitar chord guitar players regularly use, the Em7 chord is a great substitute for Em.

Open Chords Guitar – Em7 (1 Finger Version)


Open Chords Guitar – Em (2 Finger Version)

Em is not much more difficult and is a classic addition to every guitarists chord arsenal.


Quick Challenge

Try strumming Em four times and then A7 or A four times, and see if you can do it without stopping a steady strum. This is a great way of practicing chord changes and will instantly improve your musicality.

F Major Chord

F major appears pretty regularly in advanced beginner and intermediate guitar songs, but it is not one of the open chords guitar players can just sit down and master on the first day.

Fortunately, there is a beautiful substitute: The Fmaj7.

Open Chords Guitar – F Major 7

Fmaj7 looks like this. It is played from the D string down.


Practice changing between the Fmaj7 and the C or Cmaj7 chord; strum four or eight Fmaj7 and then the same number of C or Cmaj7, try to do this without stopping. There might be a song in there.

Open Chords Guitar – F Minor

Although there are no easy open chords guitar players can use for Fm, there are a couple of easier versions of this chord, here are a few of our favourites.



Both of these chords are super similar and take a while to master, so take your time with these chords and practice mastering one of the coolest minor chords of all.

To learn more versions of the Fm, check out this lesson:

Fm Chord – Easy Shapes For Beginner Guitarists


G Major Chords

G is among the friendliest open chords guitar players use as beginners because there are so many options. The G chord can be played with one finger on four strings.


If you are not ready for the full G chord but you need a little more depth in the sound, try this G6.


And here is the full G chord, using all six strings. There are two versions: the standard three-finger G and the big G, which you should use if you are planning to play a lot of bluegrass music or Jethro Tull.



Open Chords Guitar – G Minor Chords

As with C minor and F minor, there are no easily accessible Gm open chords guitar players can use.

However, you can find a few of our favourite versions here:

G Minor Guitar Chord For Beginners

What Do I Do With All Of These Chords?

Mastering the open chords guitar players use is a key guitar skill. You need to get the chord shapes into your fingers’ and that involves a lot of repetition.

Chords travel together in families, which are referred to as keys. The key denotes the central note of a melody and the central chord of the song.

If you’d like to learn more about guitar keys, go here: Guitar Keys: An Essential Guide

Practice making and changing between these chords, row by row, in whichever version works best for you.

C  |  Fmaj7  |  G  |   AM

A  |  D  |  E

G  |  C  |  D  |  Em

E  |  A  |  B7

D  |  G  |  A  |  Bm

Mastering these open chords means you can play thousands of rock, pop, blues, and folk songs.

Because these are the friendliest open chords guitar players learn as beginners, these are also the chords most frequently used in songs written on guitar.

Once you’ve developed some hand strength by practicing the open chords guitar players learn first, you can round out your chord vocabulary by starting barre chords.

If you’d like to learn more of those chords, go here:

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