Simple guitar chords for beginners

The most simple guitar chords suitable for kids

When I started learning to play guitar, these where the chords I shunned almost instantly. Not because I thought I was superior or anything like that, but because I realized they where incomplete.

The first set of guitar chords are intended mostly for small children, just to give them a bit of an easy start on the guitar. Further on down the page we'll get into some slightly more advanced, yet still simple guitar chords.

The general idea for this first section, is to show chords on the guitar that only need one finger. For the most part, they should be easier to play than conventional guitar chords, but I must urge you not to become too attached to playing them, to the exclusion of learning regular chord fingerings.

Further down we'll look at the regular open guitar chords. Most beginners start with the standard guitar chords, and they're still fairly simple to play

Finger numbers for chord hand

How to read guitar chords shown here

The way I've drawn these guitar chords is with the players view in mind, so if you're looking down at the guitars fretboard, the thickest string would be closest to you, and if you put that on screen, it's at the bottom of the picture.

The other thing I've done is give every finger a number, except the thumb of course. The picture to the right will show you the finger numbers as they're assigned to the fretting hand - The one that presses the chords.

Left handed people, I'm sorry, but I've drawn everything for a right handed person playing the chords with the left hand.

Hmmm, I don't think I should become a hand model

Tips to help you play these guitar chords

The best way to place your fingers on the fretboard is to make sure that your fingertips are as flat as possible. In other words, your finger should be as perpendicular to the fretboard as you can make it.

This way you'll avoid the problem of having some of your fingers block off the vibration of adjacent strings

It also helps a lot of you clip your nails. Every now and then I wonder why I'm having a hard time playing the guitar, then I realise my finger nails need to be clipped.

Longer fingernails make it difficult to place your fingers as close to 90 degrees to the fretboard as possible.

Consider taking your guitar to a professional for a setup, and take any advice they have to give seriously. A well setup guitar, with a possible fret levelling included in the deal will make your guitar a dream to play.

I have all my guitars done like that. Spoil yourself, it's worth it.

Simple G major guitar chord for small children

This guitar chord shows the 3rd finger pressing a G note on the first string
This guitar chord shows the 3rd finger pressing a G note on the first string

The full G chord uses the first and second finger as well, so with that in mind it may be better to use the third finger to play this one, although any finger will work here.

Further down the page there's a picture of a full G open chord, so if you're not an infant, I suggest ignoring this one.

Simple G7 guitar chord

In case you're wondering, the sign on the left of these chord pictures says "tuning" to indicate that this is the standard tuning used to play these chords, as well as to indicate that the tuning pegs are on that side.

The white block that the strings go over between the fretboard and the tuning, is called the nut.

Simple C guitar chord

The C chord is a perfect companion to the G chord, seeing as they're both in the same key.
The C chord is a perfect companion to the G chord, seeing as they're both in the same key.

The last of the really simple guitar chords

Between the G, G7 and C, we've just about run out of super simple guitar chords.

As you can see, with these chords there's a limited number of songs you can play. Young kids can get by with these fairly easily, but if you're looking for guitar lessons to teach them, I would suggest getting a small guitar for youngsters with a smaller fretboard to suit their tiny hands. This will make it a lot easier for them to learn the other chords

If they're interested in playing electric guitar, here's a hub I made for young electric guitar enthusiasts - Kids Electric Guitars

Simple guitar chords for beginners with more than one finger

These chords are called open chords, because they use some of the open unfretted strings to make up the chord.

The definition of a chord. A chord is a collection of three or more notes, played together. Whether you strum or pluck all the notes of a chord simultaneously, or play each note one after the other, in any sequence, it's still a chord.

By the way, that's my definition, but it still works. Anyway, enough chit chat, here are the most common guitar chords for beginners.

A open guitar chord
A open guitar chord

The open A major guitar chord

There are a number of ways to play the open A chord. This is the way I usually play it.

Some people prefer to swap the 1st and 2nd finger around. Doing that can be quite handy when starting out, seeing as your first finger can stay exactly where it is when you move to a D chord and remain on the same string, but one fret back when you play an E chord.

A guitar teacher friend of mine referred to it as the pivotal finger. I think it's the only time this happens.

D and E are natural partners to the A chord when playing in the key of A, so what I would advise doing, is to practice changing between these three chords.

The A, D and E chord with pivitol first finger

Guitar chord video of A major, with some added notes you can fool around with

Simple tricks with the A major guitar chord

In this video there are two extra chords created by simply adding an extra finger (4th finger) to create an A sus 4 chord, and taking away a finger (3rd finger) to create an A sus 2 chord.

Sus is short for suspended, so it's first an A suspended fourth by adding your pinky, and an A suspended second by taking away your third finger to allow the open B string to sound.

I find these simple little guitar tricks great for adding life to an otherwise uneventful rhythm.

D open guitar chord with sus4 and sus2 variations

Same for the D chord

The princile here is exactly the same as for the A. If you've got your fingers correctly on the fretboard, there shouldn't be any problems.

There is something else you could do here, which isn't in the video, and that's to play around with lifting your first finger on and off the fretboard.

I'm not sure what chord that makes, but it can also sound quite cool in the right place.

E guitar chord with sus4

No sus2 for E open

This video shows me slanting my 3rd finger over to play the sus 4. I've just realised that you could use your 4th finger as well.

I've also just realised that I got the finger numbers a little mixed up in this video, so just refer to the picture, and do as I do, not as I say.

Oh well

The C and G major beginner chords

There is another way to play this C guitar chord, which is very similar. Some people prefer the other way, so I've included it below. It's just not as simple as this one.
There is another way to play this C guitar chord, which is very similar. Some people prefer the other way, so I've included it below. It's just not as simple as this one.
I hardly ever use this version of the C open chord, but it's handy for doing flatpicking. To do that, you pick the 6th string (3rd finger) then strum, then pick the 5th string (4th finger) and strum again, or any other combination.
I hardly ever use this version of the C open chord, but it's handy for doing flatpicking. To do that, you pick the 6th string (3rd finger) then strum, then pick the 5th string (4th finger) and strum again, or any other combination.

Simple minor chords for beginners

The minor chords sound sad compared to the major chords. The difference is simply one note of the chord, which is a semitone lower in pitch.

A semitone is equal to one fret distance. Although there are other open chords on the guitar, I'm only going to do the majors and minors here.

Major and minor chords are the most commonly used chords, so this should get you a fair distance. Once you get the hang of playing guitar chords, the rest are easier to get into.

A minor open chord

The suffix for minor chords is a small m, so you could write this as Am
The suffix for minor chords is a small m, so you could write this as Am

D minor open chord

E minor open chord

Of all the major and minor beginner guitar chords, this must be the most simple guitar chord to play
Of all the major and minor beginner guitar chords, this must be the most simple guitar chord to play

The missing chords

I'm sure by now you must've realised that there are certain guitar chords missing.

Of the major chords, the B and F are a little more difficult to play, and of the minor chords, the B minor, C minor and F minor are also not that simple.

The sharps and flats are also not given here, along with the 7th chords.

This page was getting a bit long, so if you want more guitar lessons from me, for now you can visit my site - Play Electric Guitar

It may be geared towards electric guitar, but for a beginner acoustic guitar player there's plenty more in the way of simple guitar chords

Please leave a comment if there's something you're not sure of, so I can make it clearer for you.

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Comments 37 comments

Musicatx 7 years ago

Great page. Where did you get the chords pics? I would like to make a chart using the same pics and am looking for more advanced chords like FM, B7, bm, etc.


Andrew Webber profile image

Andrew Webber 7 years ago Author

I made the pictures myself with an old graphics program I have. I guess you'll just have to try your hand at it yourself.

The cool thing about it is that once you have the basic guitar neck done, you just add extras for a new pic. I'm glad you liked what I did.


learningguitar 7 years ago

Amazing hub! I found your hub very interesting. Thanks for your such a great effort!


PattiO 7 years ago

Wow! I finally understand how to read tabs!


nicksstuff profile image

nicksstuff 7 years ago from Going for a swim in the ocean.

Awesome - really cool with the diagrams. The article I found explains it really well and has tab but not the diagrams that you put up. Cool.


Andrew Webber profile image

Andrew Webber 7 years ago Author

Thanks nickstuff.

No wonder PattiO says she now knows how to read tabs.

Amazing what a picture can do.


alyssa 7 years ago

now I can play guitar! I also do gymnastics so im going to be busy! 6 hour a week at gym


Rayan 7 years ago

Hi there.

Just wanted to say thanks a million for the great here. I just started playing recently and I found this page particularly useful.. So thanks ;-)


Andrew Webber profile image

Andrew Webber 7 years ago Author

That's great Rayan. So glad I could help.


cristine 7 years ago

hi...i'm just starting to learn, as in i'm still zero at the moment. but i'm very eager to learn, it's just that nobody's really teaching me to play, so i surf the net and so thankful that i found your website...i'm just so confused when moving from a certain key to another...wish me luck though...thanks a lot!


Andrew Webber profile image

Andrew Webber 7 years ago Author

Okay, good luck with the guitar playing Cristine. Just keep going and you'll get there. Can you believe that even the legendary Jimi Hendrix thought about giving up, before he actually got somewhere with his playing.

Perseverance is the key to success in anything. Just keep going, I think you'll make it.


pinkhawk profile image

pinkhawk 7 years ago from Pearl of the Orient

...wow this is cool, sadly I'm a left handed Sir.. :(.. but thank you very much for the valuable information anyway..


einfoos 7 years ago

This is a great site for beginers like myself. I took a few lessons some years back and was taught the version 2 of C major but also a G major with finger 4 on first string, finger 2 on fifth string, and finger 3 on sixth string. It seems easier to move from chord to chord but that is the only way I have played. Is this a common way to play?


Andrew Webber profile image

Andrew Webber 7 years ago Author

Hi Einfoos,

I suppose you could play a G that way. I don't think it's all that common though, but if it works for you, great.

As far as the second version of C goes, I can't say I really use it too often.

I think maybe your fingering for a G chord would come in handy when you want to learn G shaped Barre chords.

Here again, not a common barre chord shape.

Thanks for the visit and positive feedback.


Robyn 6 years ago

Hi I've just got a guitar and I'm so pleased to say that this page has been so great in helping me I have used this page and still finding it very useful thankyou!!!!!!


Andrew Webber profile image

Andrew Webber 6 years ago Author

That's brilliant Robyn. I'm so glad it's helping you.


jojemar 6 years ago

nc1 i love it its very good


kix 6 years ago

thank u


sahil sinha 6 years ago

it's gooood


sahil sinha 6 years ago

thankyou for teaching me chords i am from small town of india with no music facilities i want to learn more


Aleksandar 6 years ago

Wow Webber ! If you belive me im following you all the time and i learned a lot ... to begin with i didn't know how to handle the guitar... :D now i even seem to make improvisations :D for 1 year i've been checking this site and it helped me a lot ... i wish i could repay you somehow ... btw those pictures are helping A LOT! Thanks for the great promises


Andrew Webber profile image

Andrew Webber 6 years ago Author

Jojemar, Kix, Sahil and Aleksandar, thanks for your encouraging comments. Maybe it's time I wrote a few more hubpages hey?


BrianDias 6 years ago

Fanastic..Thank you for your post


kenn 6 years ago

thanks dude for the help.....

this really helped me a lot...

peace y'all


abc 5 years ago

still dont know how to play well


lesley 5 years ago

hi i was lookin for easy songs to play as i have only just started to learn, but i already learned the chords. Is there any websites you could recommend for me to learn songs with these chords?


Andrew Webber profile image

Andrew Webber 5 years ago Author

Try Google


vicky 5 years ago

this site is very good its helped me so muck thank you


Mara 5 years ago

This has really helped me a lot! thank you very much!!!!


ella 4 years ago

some more help and useful tips

thanks so much


Bailey 4 years ago

wow thanks ive just started guitar and this really helped


Andrew Webber profile image

Andrew Webber 4 years ago Author

Good to know, thanks


Connor 4 years ago

Simple all right!!


zozo 3 years ago

Thank You So much I have been taught at school by this other compan for 4 years and they haven't even tought me a chord. All notes. So I QUIT! Now I know my basic chords.


moulashree 3 years ago

its really awesome !!!!!!!!!!!!! it helped me out for well playing.

thanks a lot!!!!!! :)


chordvisa profile image

chordvisa 11 months ago from indonesia

Thanks for the lesson


Andrew Webber profile image

Andrew Webber 11 months ago Author

My pleasure

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