Basic Guitar Chord Charts - making sense out of them
Confused by guitar chord dictionaries with pages full of tiny diagrams? The basic guitar chord charts in this lesson are all you need to get started playing basic chord guitar today. There's also a guitar lessons video further down the page that will demonstrate how to learn the chords.
Tip: Here's a "heads up". Most of the guitar chords listed in those massive guitar chord libraries? You'll never use them. Or if you DO use them, you'll likely be advanced enough to be able to create them for yourself.
Note: It will be helpful for you to return and read through the instructions on this basic guitar chords charts lesson page from time to time -- and to watch the guitar lessons video :-)
In order to print out these chord charts...you'll need Adobe Reader (the latest version is recommended) installed on your computer in order to download these PDF files. You can get Adobe Reader here (a new window will open so you can download it without leaving this page).
If you want to open the file in your browser window, just click on the link. However, if you want to download the file to view later, then right-click on the link and choose "Save Target As" or "Save File As." Then select where you want to save the file on your hard drive.
Once you have saved the file, locate where you saved it, and double click to open.
In order to print, open the downloaded file, and select the print option from the menu.
Guitar Tip: You're far better off being able to play a handful of chords well. Don't drive yourself crazy trying to memorize a bunch of abstract shapes. Get to know these few guitar chords well and you'll surprise yourself with what you can do. You'll be making music :-)
Here's where to begin...
If you have little or no experience with a musical instrument , start with the Absolute Beginner basic chords listed below. After 2 or 3 days of practicing those, move to the Beginner basic guitar chord charts. Give yourself time with these ones. They will be at the core of your guitar playing for the rest of your life :-)
The basic guitar chord charts on this page, along with a couple of other skills, are all you need to play most of your favorite songs. You'll eventually need to learn a few guitar bar chords and some guitar playing techniques, but there's no hurry is there? Enjoy...
Should You Take Lessons?
Nothing beats working with a good live teacher if you have the opportunity. That said, learning on your own at home is a good option for some of you. Learn and Master Guitar is an excellent dvd guitar lessons package created by Gibson that could be a solution.
Another option for those of you serious about learning guitar at home is a membership site. Jamplay offers a wealth of beginner guitar lessons by a variety of teachers -- you get to choose which teacher fits you best. Click here to find out more about Jamplay.
When you look at the basic guitar chord charts above, you can see the strings and the frets. It's simply a picture of your guitar neck. The x markings mean do NOT play the string and the o marking means it's played but not fretted. The red markings indicate the Roots and all solid markings both red and black are fretted.
sidenote: Ignore the numbers inside these diagrams. They are music theory symbols that you don't need right now. I suggest downloading the free PDF basic guitar chords charts at the top of the page -- they have the fingerings clearly notated on them. These links are also just below :-)
By no means do the diagrams on this page represent all the ways that a chord can be played. Keep it simple! Be able to play the chords on this page smoothly. Then start learning some basic barre chords and adding other ideas from there as you need. It requires patient focus to learn and master guitar!
Printable Guitar Chord Charts
You don't need a chord dictionary to overwhelm you at this point. There are 3 links below for free basic guitar chord charts that you can download to your computer and print out if you wish.
Most of the open position chords you'll ever need as well as some basic barre chords are included. (These are the same links as the 2 at the top of the page...for those who have yet to download the free printable guitar chord charts :-)
Here are the links for the Basic Guitar Chord Charts again:
Absolute beginner: Try playing the Gma to the G7 and then to the Cma. After a few days or so start on one or two of the chords from the beginner's list. As always, be patient and persist. Have fun :-)
Here are some basic chord progressions to practice with. For now, don't be overly concerned with how you strum. Keep it simple and strum downwards only. You can "loop" these over and over!
||: Ami | Ema :||
||: Emi | Dma :||
||: Gma | Cma | Gma | D7 :||
||: Ama | Dma | Ama | Ema :||
Basic Guitar Chord Chart Practice Guidelines
Some simple practice guidelines to follow that will help you progress more quickly and enjoyably are:
practice switching back and forth between two chords while paying attention to which fingers are changing strings and/or frets. Notice if any fingers stay in the same place.
practice one chord only and check to see if all the notes are ringing through clearly. You can do this simply by playing one string at a time while you are fretting the chord. If a note is not sounding, check to see if another finger is touching the string. Or perhaps you need to press down with more precision.
Stay on one chord until you're ready to switch. WITHOUT stopping strumming, change to the next chord. Don't worry if you miss! Adjust your fingers while continuing to strum. Soon you'll be switching with no hesitation :-)
Now you're set... You won't be wasting unnecessary time with chord dictionaries. If you really need to find that one chord - OK fine. Go get it and get out. Back to strumming your guitar :-) That's where the real learning happens. Thanks for joining me and I hope you enjoy working with these basic guitar chord charts!