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
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 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.
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.
The C and G major beginner chords
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
D minor open chord
E minor open chord
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.