How to Play Guitar Chords | Learn Basic Chords | Fender Play
EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW TO START STRUMMING
Chords are the fundamental building blocks of your guitar education—and any song. Find everything you need to build your skills and start playing.
How to Read Charts
Chord charts offer easy, visual instruction for learning finger placement and voicing for guitar chords. Here’s how to interpret chord charts to get playing:
- The six vertical lines represent your guitar strings, from lowest to highest: E, A, D, G, B, E.
- The horizontal lines represent each fret on your guitar.
- Each dot represents where to fret the notes — where to place your fingers for each chord pattern.
- If you see an X above a string, it should be left out. Either mute the string or don’t play it at all.
- If you see an O above a string, play that open string as part of the chord.
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Which Chords Should I Learn to Play?
These four chords in the key of G are a great place to start for beginners. They’ll enable you to learn songs like “Brown Eyed Girl,” “The Tracks of My Tears,” “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life),” and more.
Made up of the notes G, B and D, the G chord forms the foundation of songs across all genres.
The C major chord blends the C, E and G notes. Learn popular songs using this beginner chord.
It’s tough, but worth it to master this fundamental chord, made up of the notes D, F# and A.
Made up of the notes E, G and B, the E minor is one of the easiest chords to play as a beginner.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO LEARN GUITAR CHORDS?
Some chords take only a few minutes to learn and just a few minutes more to start playing those chords in songs you love.
The resources on this page will help get you up and running. For step-by-step lessons on chords, techniques and popular songs, try Fender Play for free. You’ll get immediate access to video lessons from professional instructors.
Check out these articles for tips on playing commonly used chords.
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Different chords. Different moods.
Types of Guitar Chords
You’ve got the basics down. Now, it’s time to learn more chord skills and some musical theory. Learn how to build different types of chords and why they evoke different feelings.
What is a Major Chord?
Take the 1st, 3rd and 5th note of any scale to create this cheerful sounding chord in any key.
What is a Minor Chord?
All you need are the 1st, flattened 3rd and 5th notes of any scale to create the mysterious sound of a minor chord.
What is a Barre Chord?
From blues to country to rock, barre chords make it easy to move up and down the neck of your guitar.
What is a Power Chord?
Made of the root and the 5th note, power chords form the basis of some of the epic punk and rock riffs of all time.
What Are Some Easy Songs
You know these songs by heart. Now it’s time to put your new skills to work and start playing them.
- In just four minutes (really!), you can learn how to strum along to the reggae beat of “Waiting in Vain” by Bob Marley & the Wailers. All you need to know are the G and C chords.
- “Boom Boom” by blues legend John Lee Hooker takes less than five minutes to learn and gives budding blues and rock players the rhythm tools they need to apply to any genre.
- For an example of how the simple G, C and D chords can create a memorable song, try your hand at Johnny Cash’s classic, “Ring of Fire.”
Some of your favorite songs are easier to play than you think - and even easier when you have an experienced guitarist break them down for you, step by step. Fender Play video lessons are designed to get you playing chords and songs quickly.
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