How to Start Playing Guitar
So, you want to learn how to play the guitar? I know at this point it might seem like a very scary thing to enter into, but don’t worry. It’s not as bad as you might think.
Sure, there is a LOT to learn, but let me reassure you that if you take it in manageable steps and you keep focused, nothing will stop you! In this blog we’re going to look at 8 quick guitar chords that you can learn to kickstart your playing, and also a few song recommendations that you can learn using these chords.
How to Read Chord Diagrams
Chord diagrams (Also referred to as fretboard diagrams and chord boxes) are a method of writing down where to place your fingers on the guitar to create chords.
We read these diagrams from left to right. The vertical lines are the strings with left being the lowest pitch strings (The thickest) and right being the highest pitch (The thinnest). The horizontal lines are the frets. The first horizontal line at the top represents the nut of the guitar.
In the diagrams below, you’ll also see a number listed at the bottom of each string. These are the finger number that you use on your fretting hand. 1 being your index, 2 being your middle, 3 being your ring finger and 4 being your little finger.
Your First 8 Chords
Easy Songs Using These Basic Chords
Once you’ve learn a few simple chord, you can start to learn a few simple songs. Here are a few easy ones to get you started. I won’t break the rhythm down too much here, the focus is just to give you something to start with. Listen to the songs and try to recreate the rhythms by sound, this will help develop your musical ear, even this early on. If you can’t quite nail it by ear, just play one or two strums per beat and keep it simple.
If you want to learn more about rhythm you can sign up for the guitar course inside the website and learn more about all these concepts.
Snow Patrol – Chasing Cars
This is a simple two strums per beat rhythm using the A, E and D major chords.
4 Non Blondes – Whats Up
This song actually uses a capo on the 2nd fret for the studio version, but you can play it without if you’re just getting started. It uses a G, Am and C chord. These changes might take a little getting used to at first. The rhythm is also slightly complicated, but just focus on strumming 4 times per beat to get you started and then slowly work up to the sound of the full songs rhythm. You can learn more about rhythm inside my guitar course. Sign up today and find out more about rhythm in your 7 day free trial.
AC/DC – Back In Black
Simple and to the point. This AC/DC riff has lots of breathing space to help you get used to some of the chord changes. Don’t worry about the lead lines in the track, you’ll come back to those in the future. Focus on the rocking chord changes and keeping them super tight.
The Troggs – Wild Thing
This is a great riff to bust out at parties. Everyone knows this track and it’s a simple three chord pattern with lots of space.
CCR – Bad Moon Rising
If you want to get a little country twang into your playing, Bad Moon Rising from Credence Clearwater Revival is a great song to do that with, and it uses just a D, A and G chord. Listen carefully to the rhythm of the track for the quick flick at the end of the D chords.
Bob Dylan – Knockin on Heavens Door
This is a guaranteed singalong favourite. Three chords, G, D and C and an extra strum on the fourth beat of each bar. This one is a great starting point for some trickier chord changes.
Want to Learn More?
If you enjoyed this list of basic chords and songs to kickstart your guitar journey and you want to learn more then sign up today and access the lesson library. Inside you’ll find over 14 hours of lessons taking you from your first chord to an advanced level. Learn at your own pace using the videos and associated TAB files. When you’re not learning, hang out in our social areas and meet new friends. Talk about all things guitar related and learn from other students who’ve progressed through the online guitar course.