Guitar Chords for Beginners

Quickly learn the easy way to play 10 essential guitar chords, including the infamous F and B bar chords!

Ultimate Guitar
Guitar chords can be easy to learn when they are presented to you in a particular sequence.

This video lesson shows you the easy way to play 10 essential guitar chords for beginners, including open chords and bar chords:

YouTube preview picture

The notes and tabs for these chords are explained below. The chords you will learn are: Em, E, Am, C, D, A, B, B7, G, and F.

Note: for the chord diagrams your index finger = 1, the middle is = 2, the ring is = 3 and the pinky is = 4.

E Minor (Em guitar chord) is played here as an open chord, which means that one or more open strings are included in this chord shape. The Em chord is a good place to start since its only requires 2 strings to be fretted. The notes in an Em chord are E (root), B (perfect 5th) and G (minor 3rd).

Chord Diagram and TAB for Em:

E Minor Chord Diagram

E Minor TAB

The number one tip for holding most guitar chords is to use your finger tips and to keep the fingers curved, kind of like a claw!

Now that you know Em, it's easy now to transition into an E major chord, because all you need to do is add your index finger to the first fret of the G string.

The notes that make up an E major chord are E (root), B (perfect 5th) and G# (major 3rd). Here is the chord diagram and tabs for E major:

E Chord Diagram

E Major TAB

The next easy guitar chord you will learn is A minor, and it's easy because all you need to do is move your E major chord shape down one string each, and play this chord beginning with an open A string. The notes in A minor are A (root), E (perfect 5th) and C (minor 3rd).

A Minor Chord Diagram

A Minor TAB

Now we're onto a C major open chord, which is easy to transition into from A minor, because all you need to do is move your ring finger from the 2nd fret of G to the first fret on the A String (a C note). The notes in C major chords are C (root), G (perfect 5th) and E (major 3rd).

C Major Chord Diagram

C Major TAB

Next up is an open D major guitar chord, using the index finger for the 2nd fret of G, the middle for the 3rd fret on B and the ring finger for the 2nd fret on the e string. The notes are D (root), A (perfect 5th) and F# (major 3rd). Chord diagram and tab for D guitar chord:

D Major Chord Diagram

D Major TAB

Now we're onto an open A major guitar chord, which is played by fretting along the second frets of the B, G and D strings. You could use all three fingers to play this chord, or just your index finger! Start at the open A String and play down to the open E.

An A major chord is made up of the notes A (root), E (perfect 5th) and C# (major 3rd). Here are the chord diagrams for the different ways you can hold this shape:

A Major Using Index, Middle, Ring Fingers

A Major Using Middle, Ring, Pinky Fingers

A Major using index finger only

A Major TAB

Now for a B guitar chord, which is based off an A major shape. B guitar chords must be played as a bar chord, and in this video you're learning the version which has a root note on the A string (2nd fret B note). The notes in B major chords are B (root note), F# (perfect 5th) and D# (major 3rd).

B Chord Diagram

B Major TAB

B Major TAB

The B7 chord (B dominant 7th) can be played as an open chord, unlike B major, and it sounds very nice also! You will need all four fingers for this one. The notes in a B7 chord are B (root note), F# (perfect 5th), A (dominant 7th) and D# (major 3rd).

B7 Chord Diagram

B7 chord TAB

G major is another full chord shape that sounds great when played as an open chord. You also have the option of playing either an open B string, or the 3rd fret of B (D note). The notes in G major are G (root note), D (perfect 5th) and B (major 3rd).

G using middle, index, ring fingers

G using middle, index, pinky fingers

G with extra extra D note (3rd fret of B)

G Major TAB

Finally, we are at the last chord, the dreaded F guitar chord. This is a full bar chord shape, and you it's easiest to learn if you begin with an open E major chord and move it over one fret, then use your index finger to bar the 1st fret of all the strings.

The F major chord is made up of the notes F (root), C (perfect 5th), and A (major 3rd).

F Chord Diagram

F chord TAB

So that's it! Learning these chords has hopefully been made easier for you. You can always practice these and more chords with free guitar lessons from Ultimate Guitar!

20 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Its good to know the notes in these chords as well as their relation to the root. Thanks this was very helpful!
    I often see B7 listed as a beginners chord, I think it's a bit harder than that.
    For some reason I really like that open B7 chord! It's easier then an F!
    This is a great list for absolute beginners. I recently created a more in-depth guide to the 32 essential chords that every guitarist should learn - particularly after the ones in this list have been learned.
    For some reason, when I first started, I never had a problem with F major, when everyone else I know thinks it's tough.
    Thank you so much! I've just started playing and on the other sites is so difficult to learn.This is very helpful.
    "Now we're onto a C major open chord, which is easy to transition into from A minor, because all you need to do is move your ring finger from the 2nd fret of G to the first fret on the A String (a C note)." Shouldn't that say the 3rd fret on the A String? That's what the picture is showing with a 3 on the 3rd fret of the A String.
    Thanks very helpful. I use to play over 30 yrs ago and just picked back u0p about a month ago. I am tryin g to learn third cup by eddie fisher.