Main chord types

The more chords you learn, the more songs you'll be able to play. Developing knowledge of only the 10 most common chords will enable you to play literally thousands of songs, providing you practise them enough so that you can change fluently from chord to chord.

Although there are dozens of different chord types, all of these can be considered as just variations of the two core types of chords: major chords and minor chords. For example, if you come across a chord chart that includes Am 7, playing a simple A minor chord will work almost as well. Consequently, developing a good knowledge of the most popular major and minor chords will provide a firm foundation for all future chord playing.

Major Chords

In addition to the G and D major, some other important major chords to start with are A. C E and F.

guitar chords - A

A chord
guitar chords - C

C chord
guitar chords - E

E chord
guitar chords - F

F chord
guitar chords - A how to

A chord - hand position
guitar chords - C how to

C chord - hand position
guitar chords - E how to

E chord - hand position
guitar chords - F how to

F chord - hand position

Notice that all the strings can be strummed on the E major chord, whereas the sixth string should be omitted when the A or C chords are strummed. The F major chord is different from the other chord fingerings in that the first finger needs to lie flat across both the first and second strings. You will find this easier if you ensure that your thumb is positioned quite low at the back of the guitar neck; this will help you keep your first finger flat while the second and third fingers press with the fingertips. Make sure that you only strum the top four strings when playing the F major chord.

Minor Chords

guitar chords - F sharp m

A chord
guitar chords - Dm

A chord
guitar chords - F sharp m how to

A chord
guitar chords - Dm how to

A chord

In addition to the Am and Em chords, the other most important minor chords to leam at first are Dm and F#m.

Both Dm and F#m are four-string chords (i.e. the fifth and sixth strings should be omitted when playing these chords). The F#m chord is a development of the technique that you gained when learning to play the F major chord, but this time the first finger needs to fret all the top three strings. If you find this tricky, you might like to try resting the second finger on top of the first finger this will add extra weight and strength to help the first finger hold down all three strings. Positioning the fretting finger as dose as possible to the fretwire will reduce the amount of finger pressure required.