A Guide To Guitar Chords

Basic Guitar Chords

Guitar Chord Charts

The basic guitar chords you'll learn on this page form the foundation of today's guitar playing. I call them beginner guitar chords, but they are used everyday by beginners as well as advanced players and in all styles of music. Beginners should practice these chords until they have memorized them and are able to switch between them fluidly.

One thing that helped me a lot is learning some guitar music theory. Theory simplifies memorizing guitar chords a lot and it gives you the feeling you know what you are doing, instead of just learning some diagrams from guitar chord charts.

If you're not really sure how to read guitar chords, I suggest you read this tutorial: how to read guitar chord charts

Open chords (some call them folk chords) are usually the first thing a beginning guitar player learns.  This doesn't mean that these beginner guitar chords are very easy: learning to get those left hand fingers work together and producing a clean sound is hard work, but with regular practice you'll soon get the hang of it.

Open chords are called this way because they contain at least one open string (strings that you play without fingering them). These basic guitar chords are used a lot in music, especially on acoustic guitar. They also work on electric guitar, but opens strings sound better on an acoustic guitar in my opinion. Folk music, singer-songwriter music and country music use a lot of open chords.

The best way to learn how to play the basic guitar chords is by learning songs.  On the next page are some guitar song chords that are playable with only the basic chords you'll learn on this page.  There's also a free printable guitar chord chart sheet that you can keep as a reference.  

Here follows a list of basic guitar chords that every guitarist needs to know.  To make it easy for you to see the guitar chord fingering, I put the guitar chord pictures next to the charts. Finger the chords with the top of your fingers and look out you don't touch adjacent strings.

A little bit about guitar chord names:

  • chords are named according to letters going from A to G
  • an 'm' after a letter means that the chord is a minor chord
  • a '7' after the letter means that the chord is a dominant chord
  • a letter without 'm' or '7' means that the chord is a major chord

To find out what the difference is between major, minor and dominant you should read the guitar music theory tutorial.

Here's the list of basic guitar chords:

Guitar chord chart of C Guitar chord picture of C           Guitar chord chart of C7 Guitar chord picture of C7

Guitar chord chart of D Guitar chord picture of D           Guitar chord chart of Dm Guitar chord picture of Dm

Guitar chord chart of D7 Guitar chord picture of D7

Guitar chord chart of E Guitar chord picture of E           Guitar chord chart of Em Guitar chord picture of Em

Guitar chord chart of E7 Guitar chord picture of E7

Guitar chord chart of F Guitar chord picture of F

The F chord is a bit of a special case: the top 2 notes are fretted with one finger (the index finger).
This is one of the hardest chords to play for the beginner, but you'll soon get the hang of it (if you practice enough).

Guitar chord chart of G Guitar chord picture of G           Guitar chord chart of G7 Guitar chord picture of G7

Guitar chord chart of A Guitar chord picture of A           Guitar chord chart of Am Guitar chord picture of Am

Guitar chord chart of A7 Guitar chord picture of A7

Guitar chord chart of B7 Guitar chord picture of B7

After you played these basic guitar chords some times I suggest you do the following:

  1. Print out this free printable guitar chord chart. That page also explains the difficulties you might encounter and what to do with your right hand.
  2. Go to the next page and start practicing some guitar songs that only make use of the beginner guitar chords learned on this page.

Next page: basic guitar song chords  Next Page: Basic Guitar Song Chords