Basic chords for beginners, video series includes 12 bar blues

Open Chords for Beginners

Mastering Open Chords for Beginners: A Comprehensive Guide


Hi, welcome to this video.

For this beginner video series, you’ll be learning the basic open chords and the 12 bar blues..

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We are going to be looking at open chords for beginners. If you’re not quite sure what the names of the chords are, or you don’t know how to play them, this’ll be for you.

Understanding Chord Variations

So I’m going to give you a quick run-through of what each chord sounds like. We are going to be looking at the E’s, the A’s, and the D’s, more particularly the majors, the sevenths, and the minors.

E Chords: Major, Seven, and Minor

To transition from E major to E seven, take off finger three, for E minor replace three and take off finger one.

Fretting hand’s technique

Whenever you’re playing chords, it doesn’t really matter what chord it is, you want your thumbs to be in a thumbs-up position. I’ve got quite large hands, so sometimes mine does creep up the back of the neck. 

The lower your thumb is the further you can stretch the higher your thumb is the less you can stretch. Your thumb position will move depending on the which chord it is.

When you are fretting the note, you want to be either from the middle or to the edge of the fret. If you’re not playing more than one note in the same fret, you should be towards the fret’s edge. 

Chord Diagrams

Chord diagrams often are misleading because you’ll be in the centre of the fretboard, if you were to look at chord diagrams literally.

E Major

For the chord of E major, we’re going to be on fret one for string three, finger two for string five, finger three for string four.

Notice when you’re fretting that note, you are going to be placing finger one on fret two string five and then allowing enough room for finger three within the same fret.

If you’re not quite hearing string two, that’s because you’re not lowering your thumb enough and pushing your knuckles towards you and your wrist away from you. 

E Major E7 to E minor

When transitions to E7 from E major, remove finger three and replace finger three on fret 2, string 4 for E minor. 

If you’re muting the string underneath, it’s because you are slanting your fingers away from fretting note, note, and leaning into the stings underneath. 

Chord accuracy, tips.

To play a nice clear chord, your finger tips need to be on the string, not the finger pad and your nails need to be cut short. It’s millimetres of difference between a muted sound and a clear chord. 

A major 

There are a couple of ways you can do A major. The first of which is with fingers 1, 2 & 3 the second way is by barring.

Your first finger will be on, string four fret 2, which will allow enough room for fingers two and three to be in the same fret. Creating a ‘diagonal direction’. 

Improving dexterity and coordination

To achieve the cleanest chord possible, you need to tuck finger three over the top to allow string number one to be heard. Likewise for string number three. This is a tricky chord for beginners to master.

String-Specific Techniques

The A minor is like E major but down a set of strings. And again, if you can’t quite hear string number one, make sure your nails are short and you’re using your fingertips. Likewise, if you can’t quite hear string number 2, fret 1.

D major, D7 & D minor.

For D major, you might want to start off with placing finger two string one, finger three string two, finger one string three. 

When you’re switching from D seven to D minor, try and keep finger two down and practice transitioning fingers one and three. 

The names of the open strings for open chords correspond. The E chords start from string 6 (E), the A chords start from string 5 (A) and the D chords start from string 4, (D).