These are the first seven basic guitar chords we teach in the Worship Guitar Class course. They are excellent chords to learn for beginner guitar students. If you don’t know how to read guitar chord charts, there is an article here on How To Read Chord Charts that may be helpful.
1. A Chord
The first chord is called an ‘A chord’. Here is the chord chart as well as a photo of how to hold it down on the strings. It’s best to have short nails on the hand holding down the strings. Play on the tips of your fingers, right behind the frets. If you press down on the top of the frets the strings will sound muffled and if you press too far from the frets the strings can buzz.
To get a sense of how to hold down the chords, I suggest watching the first lesson of our course. It’s free on the website. You can find it about 1/4 of the way down the page – Click here. My training is with classical guitar and you can certainly avoid hand injuries with good guitar technique.
2. E7 Chord
The next chord to learn is called ‘E7’. Here is the chord chart and photo of the chord. Chords are made up of 3 specific notes and when anything else is added you add the number of the note to the chord. An ‘E7 chord’ is an ‘E chord’ with the ‘7th’ note added. Once you can play the chords and are getting used to the guitar, you may want to eventually learn Music Theory for the Guitar.
To really learn the chords, it takes practice. Play 4 strums on the ‘A chord then change to ‘E7’ and strum 4 times. Practice changing between ‘A’ and ‘E7’ until it’s easy and comfortable for you.
3. D Chord
The next chord is called a ‘D chord’. The 6th string open is not a part of the ‘D chord’. Notice the little ‘x’ underneath the 6th string. That means you do not strum that string. This is what often distinguishes experienced guitar players from beginning guitar players. They know what strings to avoid.
With the chords ‘A’, ‘D’, and ‘E7’, you can literally play hundreds of songs. Practice changing between these three chords and when you can change them without hesitating add the next one, a ‘G chord’.
Don’t rush immediately to the ‘G’ chord until you feel confident with the first three chords. It’s better to memorize them and feel confident about the chords before taking on too much. Then, when you do try the ‘G’ chord it will be easier because you’ve already had success with the previous three chords. Here’s a quick chart of all seven chords.
4. G Chord
I have found that ‘G’ tends to be a bit more awkward for beginner guitar students to learn. Once mastered it often becomes one of their favorite chords to play. It may be because whenever you overcome a challenge you feel good about it. One of the tricks to playing it well is to make sure your thumb is behind the middle of the fretboard. This is especially true for people with shorter fingers.
The chords ‘G’, ‘A’, and ‘D’ also fit for many songs. When this gets easier, move on to the ‘C chord’.
5. C Chord
Like the ‘G’, this is a chord that many people find awkward in the beginning. Most people make the chord by placing the index finger down first. You’ll actually be able to change faster if you hold down the 5th string first. Place your 3rd finger on the 5th string and then add the other two. Eventually all of your fingers should go down at the same time.
The chords ‘G’, ‘C’, and ‘D’ are also used for hundreds of songs.
Next, we’ll learn some minor chords. There are four basic types of chords – major, minor, augmented, and diminished. These two chords will probably be like a breath of fresh air. They are easy chords to learn and to play.
6. Am Chord
The ‘Am chord’ is very easy to change to from a ‘C chord’. You simple move one finger. The 3rd finger shifts from the 5th string, 3rd fret, to the 3rd string, 2nd fret. The first two fingers don’t need to move. It’s also very closely related to the ‘A chord’. It’s just one finger different from ‘A’.
The last chord is the chord ‘Em’.
7. Em Chord
It’s quite easy to change to from an ‘Am chord’ to ‘Em’. Pick up all three fingers and bring the 2nd and 3rd fingers up one string each. Here is the chord chart for ‘Em’. Look at the two chord charts and you can also see how the 2nd and 3rd fingers just shift up and down one string.
There you have it. 7 basic chords that are useful for all beginner guitar players.
For easy step-by-step guitar lessons with worship songs check out our course.