The 5 Basic Guitar Chords

The 5 Basic Guitar Chords (& how to play them)

So you’ve got your first guitar and you’re ready to become the next big thing, the only problem is you aren’t sure where to start.

You asked a skilled guitarist and they’ve told you to “learn the 5 basic chords”.

What Are The 5 Basic Guitar Chords

The 5 basic guitar chords are C major, A major, G major, E major, and D major. With just these 5 easy-to-play guitar chords, many songs can be played.

In this article, we’re going to teach you how to play them and then share a few songs you’ll be able to play along with today!

How To Play The 5 Basic Guitar Chords

Below we’ve created a diagram of each of the 5 chords. The diagrams represent your fret board and neck (if you were to stand your guitar up vertically).

The horizontal lines represent the fret bars, the vertical lines show the strings and the dots show where to place your fingers.

Play the 5 chords by placing your fingers exactly where the diagram shows and strumming all of the strings that do not have an X above them.

By practicing just these 5 guitar chords, you’ll be able to play many songs!

How To Play The C Major Chord

C chord
  1. Place your index finger on the 1st fret of the 2nd string
  2. Place your middle finger on the 2nd fret of the 4th string
  3. Place your ring finger on the 3rd fret of the 5th string
  4. Strum all strings, except the 6th string

How To Play The A Major Chord

A chord
  1. Place your index finger on the 2nd fret of the 4th string
  2. Place your middle finger on the 2nd fret of the 3rd string
  3. Place your ring finger on the 2nd fret of the 2nd string
  4. Strum all strings, except the 6th string

How To Play The G Major Chord

G Major chord
  1. Place your index finger on the 2nd fret of the 5th string
  2. Place your middle finger on the 3rd fret of the 6th string
  3. Place your ring finger on the 3rd fret of the 1st string
  4. Strum all strings

How To Play The E Major Chord

E major chord
  1. Place your index finger on the 1st fret of the 3rd string
  2. Place your middle finger on the 2nd fret of the 5th string
  3. Place your ring finger on the 2nd fret of the 4th string
  4. Strum all strings

How To Play The D Major Chord

D major chord
  1. Place your index finger on the 2nd fret of the 3rd string
  2. Place your middle finger on the 2nd fret of the 1st string
  3. Place your ring finger on the 3rd fret of the 2nd string
  4. Strum all strings, except the 5th and 6th strings

Songs You Can Now Play (that use only these chords)

Now that you’ve got your fingers used to playing the 5 basic guitar chords, here are a few songs you can play along with to help you practice.

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