A solid foundation of chords is crucial for you to fulfil your potential as a guitarist. In this post, we are going to go through the order in which I recommend you learn the fundamental chords on the guitar.
This is the order of chords I teach my private students on a daily basis.
It is part of the big picture of learning guitar and it something I use as part of my number 1 checklist. Learning lots of chords is not everything and you should remember chords are a part of the bigger picture along with strumming, fingerpicking, rhythm, learning real songs and establishing great technique (as well as other stuff).
That being said, let’s get right into the chord chart.
Guitar Chords Chart For Beginners
Use this post as a reference and bookmark it if you need to. If you are looking for a guitar chords chart for beginners this is for you. You can even download a super high-resolution cheat sheet at the bottom of this post for free.
When creating this list of chords for beginner guitarists, I used 2 pieces of criteria to determine the order (in general) in which a new student should learn them.
The criteria are:
- Real World Use – This is the main criteria I used. Some chords are incredibly easy to play and use just 1 finger. They often sound a bit crap and are never used in songs. If that’s the case they have been left out completely. This list of chords is based around really popular chords that are used in the real world on a day to day basis and are chords you really must know.
- Ease of playability – In general, the chords start off easy and get harder as we go along. There are obvious exceptions, however, the exceptions relate to real-world use as described above. For example, a Dsus2 chord is easier to play than a D chord but is less commonly used; therefore it is further down the list. In general, though, the chords do get harder to play as we go through the list.
These are not the only chords you should ever learn – far from it.
Learning Guitar Chords From a Chart
These are just the core beginner guitar chords that are the foundations of nearly all the music we hear in the western world. Genres from rock, pop, blues, jazz, country, metal, soul and more base their sound around the chords on this chart.
There will be chords NOT on this list that you may know, and there may be other chords that you want to learn to increase your repertoire, and that’s ok.
Just don’t spend too much of your time focusing on learning lots and lots of chords that don’t feature on this list.
If you have played the guitar for less than two years and still consider yourself to be in the beginner guitarist category, then the time to learn new chords that are not the essential chords in this chart is when you are learning a new song, and come across one then…
…When you are writing a song and want to get a specific certain flavour that you cannot draw from any of these chords.
Once you learn these you can move onto barre chords (in fact as long as you have good technique, I recommend you start practising barre chords early on in your guitar playing).
Keep in mind, there are so many other fundamental skills that every guitarist should master from strumming, theory, fretboard, scales, arpeggios, rhythm, writing, arranging, and plenty more, it makes no sense to focus on learning too many chords apart from the crucial chords that you really should know.
Most of you will be able to read chord diagrams but for the absolute beginners out there, take a look at this explanation if you don’t know how to read them.
Beginner Guitar Chords
If you have played for more than two years, and/or consider yourself to be an intermediate or expert guitarist, then feel free to learn all the chords you like, but ensure you know all the chords here first as you do not want to run before you can walk.
Most of these chords are easy guitar chords for beginners, but still, take your time and master and learn to change chords quickly before adding any new chords into your repertoire.
Click the following link to download your beginner guitar chord chart for free (right click the link and hit ‘save as’). You can print it out, use it as a screensaver, or get it tattooed down your arm if you really like.
Also, feel free to use the chord chart on your own website, but please link back to this page if you do so.