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Learn to Play Easy Guitar Lesson 2 - More Simple Keys for the Beginning Guitarist

Updated on March 17, 2011

In the first online guitar lesson, we learned how to play an easy guitar song using the three primary chords in the key of G. Many songs can be played using these chords, but knowing more chords will make it easier to play more songs and let you play in different keys if desired. This guitar lesson will cover two more basic keys that a beginner guitarist needs to know. The key of C is the next key we will learn and the chords in C can also be played with the chords in the key of G in more complicated songs.

Example 1
Example 1
Example 2
Example 2
Example 3
Example 3

Key of C

The chords in the key of C are C, F, and G. You already know C and G from the lesson on the key of G, so you only have one chord - F - to learn in the key of C. F is the hardest chord to learn so far, but it can be done. F is a partial-bar chord, which means that one finger will hold down more than one string at a time.

Let’s review the G and C chords.  To make a G chord, hold down the 5th string, 2nd fret; the 6th string, 3rd fret; and the 1st string, 3rd fret as shown in Example 1.  Hold the 2nd string, 1st fret; 4th string, 2nd fret; and 5th string, 3rd fret to make a C, as in Example 2. 

Now it is time to learn the F chord, which is shown in Example 3. Using your first finger (pointer finger), hold down the 1st string, 1st fret and the 2nd string, 1st fret; then hold down the 3rd string, 2nd fret; and the 4th string, 3rd fret. This is the point that makes the F chord difficult – you have to hold down both the 1st and 2nd strings on the first fret at the same time. This will probably take a lot of practice, but some people can do it quickly.

Once you get the F chord down, you can play songs in the key of C. Songs can be played in any key desired, but some keys are easier to play or may suit your voice better. Here is Amazing Grace again in the key of C, so you can compare the two keys. Remember, just strum down each time a chord name appears.


 

   C           C                F             C               C           C                G

A-ma-zing grace, How sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me.

  C             C           F          C               C             G      C

I once was lost, but now am found was blind, but now I see.

The key of C isn’t quite as commonly used in typical guitar music as G, but it is still very popular and necessary for good guitar.

Example 4
Example 4
Example 5
Example 5

Key of D

The second part of this online guitar lesson covers the key of D, the other commonly used key for guitar playing.  If you know these three keys, you can play most of the music out there.  The three primary chords in the key of D are D, A, and G.  We covered the D and G chords in the first lesson on the key of G, and reviewed the G chord above in the discussion of the key of C. 

 

To review the D chord, it is made by putting your first finger on the 3rd string, 2nd fret; your second finger on the 1st string, 3rd fret; and your third finger on the 2nd string, 2nd fret as shown in Example 4.  Remember to strum only the 5th through the 1st strings, and avoid strumming the 6th string unless there was a reason.  Since the G chord was reviewed above, we will not now review it. 

 

The A chord uses three fingers, all in the same fret.  Put the first finger on the 4th string, 2nd fret; the second finger on the 3rd string, 2nd fret; and the third finger on the 2nd string, 2nd fret as shown in Example 5.  Again, we need to avoid the 6th string during strumming.  The A chord is really one of the easiest chords to this point. 

Once you get the A chord down, you can play songs in the key of D.  Here is Amazing Grace again (quite possibly for the last time) in the key of D.  Remember, just strum down each time a chord name appears.

     D          D               G             D              D          D              A       

A-ma-zing grace, How sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. 

   D            D          G          D              D            A       D

I once was lost, but now am found was blind, but now I see.

Now, you can play in the three major guitar keys – G, C, and D.  A great many guitar songs are within your grasp and, with only a few additional chords, most songs can be played.  I’ll be adding some more lessons with more chords later. 

Flatpicking Guitar Essentials Book/CD (String Letter Publishing) (Acoustic Guitar) (Acoustic Guitar Magazine's Private Lessons)
Flatpicking Guitar Essentials Book/CD (String Letter Publishing) (Acoustic Guitar) (Acoustic Guitar Magazine's Private Lessons)

This isn't quite a beginner's book, but once you have the main chords down and can understand some rhythm, this is a good next step.

 

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    • Tim_511 profile imageAUTHOR

      Tim_511 

      7 years ago from Huntington, WV

      You are very welcome, barbergirl28, I hope that both of the hubs prove helpful!

    • barbergirl28 profile image

      Stacy Harris 

      7 years ago from Hemet, Ca

      Thanks for the information... I just picked up the guitar and I am trying to memorize the different chords. This helps a little. I need to go back to the first lesson that I missed!

    • Tim_511 profile imageAUTHOR

      Tim_511 

      7 years ago from Huntington, WV

      Hi Marliza,those are the chords for that verse. Every other verse is played in the exact same fashion as the first. So, if you can play the first verse, you can play all of them.

      If I'm not being clear, let me know and I'll try to explain more. Thanks for reading!

    • Marliza Gunter profile image

      Marliza Gunter 

      7 years ago from South Africa

      Hi..can you publish the whole amazing grace song in the D G and A chords...then I have at least one song that I can manage to play the whole song...thanks.. :)

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