The easiest guitar chords

OK, so you are a complete beginner and want to have the easiest possible start on your guitar journey. The typical way to begin playing guitar is to learn some basic chords and this is exactly that we will do here. We get underway with one-finger chords, and then continue with two-finger chords and finally look into easy chords including three fingers.

How many chords are needed?

You are probably not surprised with the answer: it depends. There are many great songs with only two or three chords, so you don't have to study hard and fill your brain with plenty of chords. Eventually, you probably want to learn some more chords and expand your repertoire, but there is no hurry.

Presented here is some of the easiest guitar chords around, a suggestion of chords for you as a beginner to try (instructions how to read the diagrams).

Zero-finger chords

Yes, they actually exist. We forgot to mention this in the beginning. These chords are, however, more of a curiosa. Anyway, here are two examples:

chord diagramchord diagram

The names of the chords above are G6/add9 and Em/D. Notice the slight difference with two muted strings on the second one. Alright, let us move on to more useful stuff.

Chords with one finger

One important word before we start with this category. The most of the one-finger chords are actually rare in practice. So, treat this as a first step (one of the reasons for this article is that everyone should be able to pick this up) of your learning or jump directly ahead to the two finger chords.


  • A7/add11 chord diagram


  • Baug/E chord diagram


  • Cadd9 chord diagram


  • Em7 chord diagram

The chords above were mainly presented with the purpose of bringing an easy first step before we move forward again. Yet, there is a category of one-finger chords that are used constantly by some guitarists. It's time to introduce the power chord:

E5 power chord diagramA5 power chord diagram

These are diagrams of E5 and A5. You have now learned you first power chords and these are very handy if you like rock music and similar genres. Try to play these chords and alter between them and you will hopefully hear an embryo of some cool guitar riffs (if you have the option, using an electric guitar will make the most of power chords). Notice that you only play on two of six strings. Read the full article about power chords.

Easy chords with two fingers

The time has finally come to learn some common and useful open chords.

em chord diagramam7

These are Em (E minor) and Am7 (A minor seventh). Both very common in lots of styles like pop, singer-songwriter among others. Try a progression only by changing between these chords (you will soon get a chord progression including more chords).

a7 chord diagrame7

A7 and E7 are the names of these chords. These chords have a bluesy character. Try to play them in a progression such as E7 - A7 - E7 - A7 and hopefully you can recognize some blues in it.

asus2 chord diagramasus4asus4

As you can see, the two chord above to the right includes three fingers. If you feel ready for a little more challenging task you can get cool riffs by just shifting between these three chords. The names of the chords are Asus2, A major and Asus4. Begin with Asus2. The change to Asus4 only involves one extra finger (the little finger) and you should not lift the other two.

Want progressions with visible diagrams? See the Illustrated Chord progression ebook.

Easy three finger chords

We shall only focus on two chords here (if you are eager there are more easy chords to be found). By learning these two chords and combine them one of the with a two-finger chords you already have learned, you can start to form your first real chord progressions. These are also a good choice to start with among the three-finger chords because the movement when shifting between them are minimal and, thus, fast to learn.

am chord diagramc

The names of the chords are Am (A minor) and C (C major). When you learn these chords, notice the small difference on the fingerings. You just lift one finger every time you move from Am to C or vice versa.

To be able to play something that sounds nice with the chords presented, here is a very easy chord progression. After you have managed to do these changes: Am – C – Am – C try to include Em (see the diagram above). It can be something like:

C - Am - Em

Be creative and try different strumming patterns with both up and downstrokes. If you want ideas for chord progressions with visible charts, see the Illustrated Chord Progression ebook.

Change the tuning for easier fingerings

The standard tuning of the guitar has many advantages, but many of the most common chord can be fingering more natural by one small adjustment. By tuning the guitar as E - A - D - G - C - E instead of the normal E - A - D - G - B - E, the fingerings will change as the examples below show:

C: X32000
D: XX0222
F: XX3201
G: 32002X
Am: X02200
A: X02210
B: XX0432
Bm: XX0422

To modify the tuning has obviously clear disadvantages by the fact it deviates from the standard tuning, which means that you 1) cannot use books and other learning materials without adjusting, 2) you will learn non-standard fingerings. This is mainly a suggestion for people who struggle a lot with the guitar and looking for an easier method.

See all articles about guitar.