23 Easy Guitar Chords That Every Beginner Should Learn

Learning guitar isn’t easy.

And if we are an avid musical creator keen on writing and performing our own songs, things can get difficult if you’re not a musician, or you don’t have a band.

So where do you start?

Some will begin guitar lessons, and others may watch YouTube videos to learn the basics.

Not all of us want to learn how to shred to oblivion.

To make your journey to musical success easier, here is a list of 23 beginner-friendly guitar chords that you can learn with ease.

But first, let’s talk about understanding guitar chord diagrams.

Understanding guitar diagrams

If you’ve ever looked at sheet music of a song from your favourite band, you may notice little table-like diagrams throughout the piece. These are chord diagrams, and it’s how guitarists show you what chords they are playing in that particular section.

However, for someone who’s never picked up a guitar, understanding what to do with these diagrams can be confusing.

So let’s go through the different parts of a guitar chord diagram, and what each section means.

Here’s is a guitar chord:

Explanation Of Chord Diagram
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Let’s start from the bottom with the yellow arrow.

Each vertical line is a string on your guitar, from the left is the lowest pitch sounding string, to the right which is the highest pitch sounding string.

Each horizontal line is a fret, the top thick line is your nut. Therefore, the first thin line is fret 1, the next line is fret 2 and so on.

From the top we have the name of the chord, in our example it’s a C major.

To the left in the yellow circle we have a large ‘X’, this means you do not play this string.

To the right in the yellow circle we have a large ‘O’, this means you play this string as an open string. An open string means there are no fingers determining the pitch, instead its the set pitch of the string.

Lastly, the black dots are your finger placement.

Now let’s learn some beginner-friendly guitar chords.

Note: If you’re not all too familiar with music theory, in terms of scales and how chords are created, check out this Beginner’s Guide To Basic Music Theory before you continue.

Easy guitar chords using only two fingers

As soon as you pick up a guitar for the first time, looking at 6 strings and over 20 frets can be daunting.

How on earth can I make music with this? It look so complicated…

Well to start you off, here are 8 chords that only require you to use 2 fingers.

A minor 7

The A minor 7 chord, written as Am7 has the notes: A C E G. Here’s the chord diagram:

A minor 7 chord
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If you write your own music, you can place this chord in several scales, such as: A minor and E minor, as well as their relative major scales.

A suspended 2

The A suspended 2 chord, written as Asus2 has the notes: A B E. Here’s the chord diagram:

Asus2 chord
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This chord removes the major or minor 3rd quality, by replacing it with the 2nd note.

Therefore, this chord can be used in the A major and A minor scale, as well as their relative minor scales.

C major 7

The C major 7 chord, written as Cmaj7 has the notes: C E G B. Here’s the chord diagram:

C major 7 chord
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It has an open, bright and happy feel; perfect if you’re creating something uplifting and positive.

You can use this chord in scales such as: C major and G major, as well as their relative minor scales.

D minor 6

The D minor 6 chord, written as Dm6 has the notes: D F A B. Here’s the chord diagram:

D minor 6 chord
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Minor 6 chords are quite unique as the 6th note, is from the parallel major scale. Therefore, Dm6 doesn’t fit into the D minor scale. Minor 6 chords fit into the melodic minor scale, which raises the 6th and 7th notes to match the parallel major scale.

However, you can use Dm6 in scales C major and it relative minor, A minor.

D major 6

The D major 6 chord, written as D6 has the notes: D F# A B. Here the chord diagram:

D6 chord
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Moving on from Dm6, just by moving your finger down a fret you get a completely new chord.

Why not try it in scales such as: D major and A major, as well as their relative minor scales.

D suspended 2

The D suspended 2 chord, written as Dsus2 has the notes: D E A. Here the chord diagram:

Dsus2 chord
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Another suspended chord means the 3rd major or minor note has been replaced by the 2nd. Yet another easy chord, similar to Dm6 and D6.

You can use it in scales such as: C major, G major, D major, A major and F major, as well as their relative minor scales.

E minor 7

The E minor 7 chord, written as Em7 has the notes: E G B D. Here the chord diagram:

E minor 7 chord
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With 4 open strings, and only two fingers, Em7 is probably one of the most easiest chords to learn to play.

You can play the chord over many scales such as: C major, G major and D major, as well as their relative minor scales.

E minor

The E minor chord, written as Em has the notes: E G B. Here the chord diagram:

E minor chord
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Most likely one of the first chords every beginner will learn, and grasp with ease. It’s the same finger position as Asus2, but on different strings.

Scales you can apply this chord to are: E minor, A minor and B minor, as well as their relative major scales.

Easy guitar chords using only three fingers

A major

The A major chord, written as A has the notes: A C# E. Here the chord diagram:

A major chord
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Even though this chord involves 3 fingers, the positioning is very simple.

A major is a popular chord to use in your music, and can be used in scales such as: A major, G major and F major, as well as their relative minors.

A minor

The A minor chord, written as Am has the notes: A C E. Here the chord diagram:

A minor chord
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Move one finger up a fret, you change the A major chord into the A minor chord. Another popular chord used in sad and melancholy style music.

Try A minor with scales such as: A minor, E minor and D minor, as well as their relative majors.

A suspended 4

The A suspended 4 chord, written as Asus4 has the notes: A D E. Here the chord diagram:

Asus4 chord
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From A major, move one finger down a fret and now you have Asus4.

Suspended chords are great if you want an ambiguous feeling to your music, without an obvious major or minor quality.

Asus4 can fit into many scales, for example: C major, G major, D major, A major and F major, as well as their relative minor scales.

B minor 6

The B minor 6 chord, written as Bm6 has the notes: B D F# G#. Here the chord diagram:

B minor 6 chord
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Our second minor 6 chord in this list. Similar to Dm6, Bm6 only fits into one major scale, the A major scale, as well as its relative minor scale.

B minor 7

The B minor 7 chord, written as Bm7 has the notes: B D F# A. Here the chord diagram:

B minor 7 chord
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Shifting that middle finger down one fret you now created a new chord, B minor 7. Bm7 can be used in more scales such as: G major and D major, as well as their relative minor scales.

C major

The C major chord, written as C has the notes: C E G. Here the chord diagram:

C major chord
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Although it isn’t as easy as the Em, C major is still one of the first chords all beginners will familiarise themselves with. Even those who have been playing the guitar for years, still use it in their music. C major, is I suppose a classic chord.

C major, G major and F major, as well as their relative minor scales are an ideal fit for using the C major chord in.

C suspended 2

The C suspended 2 chord, written as Csus2 has the notes: C D G. Here the chord diagram:

Csus2 chord
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Another easy chord to learn as all fingers stay on the same fret, and only one string is not played.

Try using this chord in scales such as C major, G major, D major, F major, Eb major, as well as their relative minor scales.

D major

The D major chord, written as D has the notes: D F# A. Here the chord diagram:

D major chord
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Another popular major chord that is widely used in modern music is D major. It has a bright, almost chirpy sound, so if that’s what you need in your music, use it!

D major can be used in scales such as G major, D major, A major and F major, as well as their relative minor scales.

D minor

The D minor chord, written as Dm has the notes: D F A. Here the chord diagram:

D minor chord
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By moving one finger up the fret, you’ve now got the chord Dm. A sad and lonely chord, but easy to play.

Try it in scales such as: A minor and D minor, as well as their relative major scales.

D suspended 4

The D suspended 4 chord, written as Dsus4 has the notes: D G A. Here the chord diagram:

Dsus4 chord
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By moving one finger up down a fret when playing D major, you’ve now got yourself Dsus4. A bright, but neutral sounding tone. Depending on overlapping melodies you can make this chords purpose happy or sad.

You can use it in scales such as: C major, G major, D major and F major, as well as their relative minor scales.

E major

The E major chord, written as E has the notes: E G# B. Here the chord diagram:

E major chord
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It has the same finger position as the A minor chord, however moved down to a lowest pitched string.

Due to the open strings, it’s a popular and easy chord to play in scales such as: A major, E major and B major, as well as their relative minor scales.

E suspended 4

The E suspended 4 chord, written as Esus4 has the notes: E A B. Here the chord diagram:

Esus4 chord
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E suspended 4 has the same finger positioning as an A major, however, the only difference are the strings. It has 3 open strings, which makes it an easy chord to learn and practice.

You can use it in scales such as: C major, G major, D major, A major and E major, as well as their relative minor scales.

F major 7

The F major 7 chord, written as Fmaj7 has the notes: F A C E. Here the chord diagram:

F major 7 chord
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F major 7 is the only F related chord on this list, because most are barre chords. Barre chords are where your finger has to cover more than one string to produce a note when strummed. They involve a lot of finger strength, something beginners tend to lack initially.

Scales you use F major 7 are: C major and F major, as well as their relative minor scales.

G major

The G major chord, written as G has the notes: G B D. Here the chord diagram:

G major chord
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Out of all the chords on this list, this one is probably the most difficult, because the finger placements are at each end, but it’s still relatively easy with practice.

Try G major in scales such as: C major, G major, D major and F major, as well as their relative minor scales.

G dominant 7

The G dominant 7 chord, written as G7 has the notes: G B D F. Here the chord diagram:

G7 chord
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Dominant chords are also unique, similar to minor 6 chords. The 7th note in dominant chords doesn’t belong to their major scale, it belongs to the relative minor. However a dominant chord has a major 3rd, not a minor 3rd.

Therefore, you won’t see G7 played in the major or minor scale of G.

Scales you can use G7 are: C major and its relative minor scale.

It’s your turn

There we have it, 23 beginner-friendly guitar chords that you can easily use to create your own music, and even practice to the point of performing to an audience.

Lastly, as a little bonus here are 4 example chord progressions which you can use for your own music, or use to practice with.

A minor scale (all two finger chords):

Asus2 – Dm6 – Em – Dsus2

E minor scale (two finger chords apart from Bm7):

Em – Asus2 – Bm7 – Am7

G major scale (two finger chords apart from the G):

G – Em – Dsus2 – Cmaj7

C major scale (all three finger chords):

C – Am – G7 – Fmaj7

So try these out, go write some music and share with the world what you’ve done.

Related reading: How To Write A Song: The Beginner’s Guide.

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