The Em, C, G, and D chords are what I'd recommend beginner guitar students start out with. They're the simplest. However, the C and G chord are often taught using the more formal versions, which are more challenging for absolute beginners. Instead, I use the C5 and G5 versions, which are much easier to play. In this simple lesson, I'll provide diagrams for four of the easiest guitar chords for beginners, G5, C5, D major, and E minor.
4 of the Easiest Guitar Chords for Beginners to Start (songs you can play with these chords listed below)
All of these chords can be played with two fingers, even the D major chord listed, in which case you can just leave out the note on the high E string. For the G5 and C5 it's the 2nd and 3rd fingers. For the Em it's the 1st and 2nd fingers, and for the D it's the 1st and 3rd fingers. What makes the G5 and C5 so helpful is that you can transition between G, C, and D while keeping your third finger in place.
Students and beginners should practice transitioning between these chords before they try and tackle songs. Start with the following, forward and back:
- G to C to D
- G to Em to C to D
- D to C to Em to G
You can mix them up however you'd like, but definitely get used to moving your pointer and middle finger to change these guitar chords. Once you're comfortable with the movements, the songs listed below will be a lot easier to play.
The amount of time you spend learning should depend on how clear the chords come out. You'll need to spend time getting the chord fingering down, then spend additional time working on the transitions:
- Chord shapes
- Chord transitions
- Simple songs
Once the chords come out clean without messy or incorrect notes, you can move on. Make sure you don't put the cart in front of the horse by learning the songs before you know the chords, or by learning the transitions before you learn the chord shapes. Take your time and go in order.
Songs Using Em, G, C and D
Once the chords and transitions are down, here's a list of songs you can start working on:
If you want to open your library up to more songs, the A major and minor chords would be your next step. For questions about these guitar chords, feel free to reach out via the comments section below.
Related Guitar Chord Articles for Beginners
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