Activities Hobbies 8 Basic Guitar Chords You Need to Learn Share PINTEREST Email Print Ableimages / Getty Images Hobbies Playing Music Contests Couponing Freebies Frugal Living Fine Arts & Crafts Astrology Card Games & Gambling Cars & Motorcycles Learn More By Dan Cross Dan Cross Dan Cross is a professional guitarist and former private instructor who has experience teaching and playing various styles of music. Learn about our Editorial Process Updated on 08/20/19 Learning how to play the guitar is as simple as mastering a few basic chords. This tutorial will introduce you to eight essential chords and show you how to play them properly. With practice, you'll be making music in no time and soon be ready for more complex chords and playing techniques. A Major The A major chord (often referred to as an A chord) can give new guitarists trouble because all three fingers need to fit on the second fret on adjacent strings. Be sure the open first string is ringing clearly by curling your third (ring) finger. In all chord examples, the small gray numbers on the accompanying diagrams illustrate which fingers on your fretting hand should be used to play each note. C Major The C major chord (also known as the C chord) is often the first chord guitarists learn. The fingering is fairly straightforward—the key is to concentrate on curling your first finger so that the first string rings open properly. D Major The D major chord is another extremely common beginner guitar chord, one that shouldn't give you too much trouble. Don't forget to curl your third finger on the second string or the first string won't ring properly. Also, be sure only to strum the top four strings, avoiding the open sixth and fifth strings. E Major Another chord you come across every day, the E major chord is fairly straightforward to play. Make sure your first finger (holding down the first fret on the third string) is properly curled or the open second string won't ring properly. Strum all six strings. There are situations when it makes sense to reverse your second and third fingers when playing the E major chord. G Major As with most chords in this list, a clear G major chord depends on curling your first finger so the open fourth string rings clearly. Strum all six strings. Sometimes, it makes sense to play a G major chord using your third finger on the sixth string, your second finger on the fifth string, and your fourth (pinky) finger on the first string. This fingering makes the move to a C major chord much easier. A Minor If you know how to play an E major chord, then you know how to play an A minor chord—just move the chord whole shape over a string. Make sure your first finger is curled, so the open first string rings clearly. Avoid playing the open sixth string when strumming the A minor chord. There are situations when it makes sense to reverse your second and third fingers when playing the A minor chord. D Minor The D minor is another fairly simple chord, yet many beginner guitarists have some trouble with it. Watch your third finger on the second string; if it isn't curled properly, the first string won't ring. Be sure to play only the top four strings when strumming a D minor chord. E Minor The E minor chord is one of the simplest to play because you only use two fingers Take extra care not to allow either of them to touch any of the open strings, or the chord won't ring properly. Strum all six strings. In certain situations, it may make sense to reverse your finger position so that your second finger is on the fifth string, and your third finger is on the fourth string.