Realistically, you can’t expect yourself to be a genius playing guitar chords if you’re just learning how to play the acoustic guitar. Everyone who plays the guitar, even the famous ones like B.B. King, Eddie Van Halen, Jimi Hendrix, and Slash all had to start with basic, simple, and easy acoustic guitar chords for beginners.
The truth is these basic chords lay down the foundation for all succeeding lessons. So once you have mastered the easiest chords, you’ll be well on your way to learning intermediate and then more advanced chords.
You may find that you breeze through the basic chords which is great however if you want to be really good at learning guitar chords, you need to acquaint yourself with the basic anatomy of an acoustic guitar.
You need to keep in mind that the chords are usually show in a pattern that’s printed making it important to learn how to read chords charts.
The main component of an acoustic guitar that you will be working closely with are your guitar’s strings and the fingerboard of your guitar.
A right handed guitar player holding their guitar facing away from them will have the six strings starting with the top as Low E, A, D, G, B, High E. Just like in the image to the right.
Going down the neck of your guitar you will have metal bars that cross the neck at specific locations. These are called Frets and allow you to change notes while you’re playing.
If you play or pluck each individual string without placing any fingers on the strings they are called open strings. When you place a finger on one of the strings at a fret it will give you a specific note.
Example: When you put your finger on the first fret holding the low or high E string down it will produce the note F. If you move that finger down one more fret so that it’s on the second fret and pluck it you will hear a F# or F Sharp. Holding the string down at the third fret will produce a G note.
The diagram on the left shows a G chord. The black dots show where to place your fingers and the blank circles at the top of the chart show which strings to play open. Open means you don’t put a finger on that string. So this combination will product a G chord and is just one of many ways to play a G chord and is the most basic.
Now if you wanted to play a D chord you would use the finger positioning shown in the diagram on the right. Again the black dots are where you place your fingers and the blank white dot is played open.
The other two strings in this case don’t get played at all. So when you see a chart like this one and it has no black dots on a string or no white dot above the string it doesn’t get plucked.
Here is a diagram of the basic chords I learned first. Learning these simple chords allowed me to learn dozens and dozens of songs I have loved over the years.
Do you feel overwhelmed already. Don’t fret, ‘pun intended’ it’s not as hard as most people tend to think it is. Although the ends of one’s fingers can get a bit tender when first learning but you can soon get over that as you practice.
There are hundreds of combinations that make up chords at various positions along the fret board but concentrate on the basics and you’ll find it less frustrating or overwhelming.
There are options for learning how to play guitar today. I started with books and chord charts I picked up at a local guitar shop. I also learn a ton of cool stuff at local guitar jams but where I learned the most is from online sites such as Jamorama.com, Jamplay.com and YouTube.com.
I do prefer the online methods of learning as I do so much better with show and tell than learning from books, but that’s just me. I also tried hiring a guy to teach me but he was an ass and it cost me more than I wanted to pay.
If you’re keen on learning acoustic guitar chords for beginners, you will find these tips indispensable:
- Take advantage of the power of the Internet. It’s rife with online tutorials and instructional for learning chords. Just be wary of choosing the right website, as there are those that require payments so you can access the lessons. Patience is the key to finding sites that provide free lessons.
- When it comes to acoustic guitars, it pays to spend time studying the instrument and familiarizing yourself with its different parts. You don’t just play the guitar. Instead, you need to know it like the back of your hand. This is important as it lets you understand how each component of the guitar works together to produce sound.
- Rather than just strum the strings on your acoustic guitar, try to understand how the tension in the string affects the sound emitted by the guitar. You’d be surprised to find out that the sound differs depending on the length and size of each string.
- You need to know that there are different ways to play acoustic guitar chords. This allows for versatility. In addition, once you’re able to play chords in various ways, it would be easier for you to transition from one chord to the next.
- It may be cliché, but practice makes perfect. Hence, devote 20 to 30 minutes each day in practice. Don’t try to learn the chords in one go, or you’d end up frustrated and overwhelmed. It’s impossible to learn everything in one sitting, so make do with the pace you’re most comfortable with and don’t rush yourself.
By following these simple tips, you’d be reading chords like a pro in no time.
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