19 Jul How to play ‘Beginner Guitar Chords’.
Open chords on the guitar – introduction.
Learning to play the following chords can be a challenge especially if you’ve tried to learn from other well known online guitar learning platforms.
The difference between them and me is that I can provide tailored support to help you feel confidently about playing the guitar whether online, face to face, or a mix.
If you’re reading this article you’ve probably signed up to the email automation sequence. Either way, I’m going to provide you with the best way to being able to play the following chords in open position.
As with any of these chords you’ll want to place your thumb half way or lower with the knuckle pushed in and with your wrist forward.
How to read a ‘chord chart’
If you’re not familiar on how to read a chord chart, click here.
General advice for ‘beginner guitarists’
It’s important to use the fingertips of the left hand when placing a note. This technique allows you to play the note cleanly and over time without muting the string or strings underneath. Eventually you’ll find the correct placement for you and your finger tips.
If you’re completely new to the guitar, I would always recommend learning on a classical guitar. This makes the learning process easier and less frustrating. The strings are made of nylon which means it’s easier to fret and create a clean note.
If you haven’t got a classical guitar and you’re confident your guitar is right for you and your hand size etc the above and following advice still applies.
E Major • E7 • E Minor (Open Chords)
The nice thing about learning open chords that are of the same category or have the same starting or root note, is that you can practice changing between them without changing the number of strings it is you need to strum.
It’s still a co-ordination exercise but with less to worry about (for now). At this stage, you’ll want to practice manoeuvring between each chord without taking away the placement of the entire chord.
Because each of these open/beginner guitar chords use a similar set of notes, it’s easy to remove the required fingers and create another chord / shape.
Pro Tip: Rather than taking your fingers away completely practice transitioning by keeping the fingers you need on the fretboard.
A Major • A7 • A minor • A Minor 7 (Open Chords)
Once you’ve established the placement of the A major guitar chord, you’ll soon realise it’s actually very easy to change to an A7 chord. What might not be quite so easy is hearing string g between fingers 1 & 3.
Manoeuvring between the A Major / A7 to the A minor chord is going to require a bit more thought than manoeuvring between the E chords because it also requires a change of frets.
Finger 1 should move first and finger 2 & 3 should follow whilst ‘brushing’ across the strings’.
Pro Tip: Try rotating your wrist to the left so it’s at a diagonal position. This will allow you to play three notes in the same fret on strings 4, 3 & 2.
D Major • D7 • D Minor (Open Chords)
These set of D chords are often the most challenging for beginners. These chords require less distance for the fingers to stretch. Therefore you have to place the shape of the chord within a smaller area.
Finger 3 will be the challenge here as you’ll want to stretch to the ‘correct’ part of the the fret that guarantees a clean note.
This is to the right side of the fret. When switching from D7 to D minor finger 2 stays the same so you’ll want to practice changing without manoeuvring finger 2..
Pro Tip: As with the A chords you might find it helpful to rotate your hand to the left with the wrist forward.
- Set a metronome to 60bpm (Google: metronome)
- Practise strumming each chord on the beat for four clicks each
- You might want to stop between each chord ‘category’, E to A to D for example.
- Practice changing from the E to the A & D chords. Without Stopping.
If you’re finding strumming on each click a challenge, practice strumming on every other click and changing after two strums.
Pro Tip: Remember to count yourself in ‘1, 2, 3, 4’.