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Guitar chords, easy chord lesson

Updated on March 21, 2013

Guitar chords info

Generally when I'm teaching guitar I try to cover easy chords first - because it gives people encouragement when they can start playing their favourite songs in just a couple of hours.

My other hub Guitar chords 101 will also be really useful if you are new to guitar playing.

Practice in 10-minute sessions for the most efficient use of your time - if you can even get a couple of these sessions done every day you should make very rapid progress.

Reading the chord grids

  • The six vertical lines are the strings, the horizontal lines are the frets. The headstock would be at the top of the chord grid.
  • Play these chords in groups of 4, as they are related.

D chords - play the open 4th string as the bottom note of the chord, don't play strings 5 and 6, the thickest strings.

A chords - play the open 5th string as the lowest note of the chord, as above.

The first three chords are like the chords in Something, by The Beatles. If you wanted to play this song in the key of D, use the first line, for A, use the second line, for E use the third line. It's the same sound and the same chord progression, although at different pitches.

In each case, one string is moving, down 1 fret at a time. Altering the third chord will change from major to minor - again, only one string needs to change.

Reading the chord grids vertically - column 1 is major, col.2 is maj7, col.3 is 7th, col.4 is m7 (minor 7)

Useful chords for guitar

More uses

  • If you now read the chords in a vertical line, A, D and E are used together, as the I IV and V chords in the key of A, the basis for hundreds of songs.
  • A7, D7 and E7 are used together - the chords for a 12-Bar blues in the key of A.
  • Am7, Dm7 and Em7 are used together - the chords for a minor 12-bar blues in the key of Am.

Last line

If you use a barre chord ( for more info see my hub Barre chords and how to avoid them) you can just use the same shapes all over the guitar fretboard to make other chords. This example is for G chords, with the root note of the chord on string 6 (and also string 1) - but moving the barre to fret 5 instead would give you chords in A, fret 7 chords in B, fret 8 chords in C, etc.

Chord theory

The D chord has three notes - D, F sharp and A. If you add note 7 from the D major scale, you have added a C sharp note, the maj7 note. If you add the flat 7th note (C) you have a D7.

If you take a D7 chord and flatten the third too, you get Dm7.

All the other chords work in the same way - it's easier to understand on a piano keyboard, see my hub music theory basics. Of course, at some point you just have to learn the notes!


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    • profile image

      Ozan 2 years ago

      PluckandPlayGuitar has free video based lessons for abtoulse beginners and assume you know nothing or close to nothing. It takes you step by step through the basic guitar chords one by one. There's also lessons on guitar scales, techniques and some easy songs to play.

    • Jon Green profile image

      Jon Green 6 years ago from Frome, Somerset, UK

      Thanks - the chords should be used to accompany singing or a melody instrument.

    • Hmrjmr1 profile image

      Hmrjmr1 6 years ago from Georgia, USA

      Good work here especially the info about chord grouping by genre. Looking forward to more.