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8 Guitar Chords You Must Know - Beginner Guitar Lessons

Hey I'm Nate Savage. In this lesson I'm going to teach you eight guitar chords that you

must know if you're a guitar player. Now, if you already know these chords that's fine,

but stick around, I'm gonna be giving some tips on making your chords sound great and

clean, and your chord transitions sound smooth too.

Now, I believe it was the great Chet Atkins that said "I never made a dime above five",

and he was referring to the fifth fret on that. And one of the things he was talking

about when he said that was open chords, he was referring to open chords. And Chet Atkins

being the virtuoso that he was, him saying that "I never made a dime above five" is awesome

because it should tell you the importance of these open chords that we're going to learn

in this lesson. They're really important for your career as a guitarist.

The eight chords we're going to be tackling in this lesson are: G major

C major

D major

F major

E major

A major

E minor

and A minor.

You may be saying, "Nate that's a lot

of chords, there's no way I could remember this in one lesson". Don't worry about that.

Space these out over a few weeks or even a few months, take them at your own pace.

So let's get started with a G major chord. Bring your hand up to the guitar and pretend

like you're holding an apple or something. That's a good posture to think about when

you're making chords. Come put your thumb on the back of the neck right there, and just

relax. Make sure to relax when you're doing all of these. You shouldn't have a lot of

excess tension in your hand. Now, when you are making this G major chord you can use

either the first, second and third fingers, or you can use the second, third and fourth

fingers. I would really really encourage you to use the second, third and fourth fingers.

I'll show you later why, but for now try it with the second, third and fourth. If it's

too hard for you for right now you can use the first, second and third.

Okay, come and put your third finger on the third fret of the low E string, and you'll

want to notice a couple of things. I'm coming right down on the very tip of my finger. I'm

not being lazy and letting my finger hang over like this. That's a really important

part of making chords. You want to come right down on the very tip of your finger. You'll

also want to notice that my finger is right behind the fret wire right here. So those

two things. Come right down on the very tip of your finger, and try to come right behind

the frets too. So that's your first note.

The second note, the second finger on the second fret of the A string right there. Again,

the very tip of your finger. Now your pinky is going to come grab the third fret of the

high E string, right behind the fret, right on the tip of your finger. Strum all six strings.

And like I said, you can make this with your first, second and third fingers if that's

too hard for you, but I would really encourage you to use your second, third and fourth fingers.

Alright, let's move on to the C major chord, and one tip I want to give you here is don't

kink your wrist too far this way when you're making when you're making chords. That can

hurt after a while. So, I mean my wrist isn't going to be perfectly straight, it's going

to be a little bit bent, but don't kink it too far, otherwise it might start hurting

you. So let's learn this C major chord. This is

a great chord to let you know if you're coming down on the very tips of your fingers, and

I'll show you why. Put your third finger on the third fret of the fifth string right behind

the fret, second finger second fret of the D string, and your first finger on the first

fret of the B string. And I'll leave the low E string out and just strum the top five strings.

Now that sounded good right? There were clear notes, no buzzing. Now watch as I just barely

adjust my posture on my fingers, and don't come down right on the very tips of them.

Listen to this now. Almost all the notes in the chord disappeared. So that is a great

chord for telling you if you're working on coming down on the tips of your fingers really

good or not.

The reason I wanted you to make your G chord with your second, third and fourth fingers

is this right here. You're going to be switching between a G and a C chord a lot when you play

guitar, and watch this change right here. Here is your C I'm gonna go right to a G.

Not that big of a change if I use my second third and fourth fingers. If I use my first,

second and third fingers I have a big change that has to take place. It's a lot harder

to make that switch.

Alright, the next chord on the list is a D major chord, and I have a couple of tips for

you on this one too for making your chords sound good. First of all, cut your fingernails.

If you keep your fingernail short, it's a lot easier to come down directly on your fingertips.

Now, a lot of people have trouble memorizing chords too, so let's learn this D chord and

then I'll teach you a couple of tips for memorizing chords.

Put your first finger on the second fret of the G string, third finger on the third fret

of the B string, and your second finger on the second fret of the high E string. Leave

the E and the A strings, the lowest two strings, out and just strum the top four strings.

You'll notice my fingers aren't coming directly perpendicular to the strings their kind of

off at an angle here. That's one thing that kind of helps get your fingers in that kind

of tight little space that you have to make for this D chord.

Alright, let's talk about memorizing guitar chord shapes. Two things that you can do to

help you memorize stuff faster, shapes faster, is to actually look at the chord and memorize

what that chord looks like. A lot of you are probably going to be looking at chord diagrams

on paper or on a computer screen, right? And you can visualize it like that, but looking

at the chord, actually looking at it, memorizing what it looks like is a great way to help

you remember that. Also, you know what? Put that chord on and don't look at it at all.

Just think about the way it feels, and try to memorize the way it feels. The more ways

you can attack memorizing something, the better chance you're going to have at remembering

it.

The next chord we're going to learn is an F major chord, and people kind of get scared

when they hear F major chord because most beginners usually learn an F as a bar chord.

But this F I'm gonna teach you is a lot easier. It's only a three note chord, so you shouldn't

have too hard of a time with it. Put your third finger on the third fret of

the D string, second finger on the second fret of the G string, and your first finger

is going to go on the first fret of the B string. And those are the only three notes

you are going to play the D, G and B strings.

The next chord we're going to learn is an E major chord, and I'm going to go through

some tips with you on this chord about making your chord transitions smooth. I get a lot

of people emailing me "Nate, my chord transitions are just terrible. What's the problem here?"

Well, a lot of times people will try to start transitioning between chords before they actually

have the chord that they are working on learned properly. So, let's learn this E major chord,

and I'm going to give you some tips for really solidifying chord shapes in your head.

So, put your second finger on the second fret of the A string, third finger on the second

fret of the D string, and your first finger's going to come grab the first fret of the G

string. Make sure you're coming right down on your fingertips, and make sure you're getting

as close as you can to the fret there. Strum all six strings.

Now like I said people will try to make chord transitions before they have chords learned

really well, and that just kind of compounds the challenge as it were. So what you want

to do is make sure you have a chord learned really well before you try to transition between

that chord and another chord. One way you can do that is to put the chord on, leave

it there for you know a good thirty seconds, longer than I'm going to leave it here in

this video. Then, take it off, shake your hand completely out, put it back on, and just

repeat that over and over again. You know, it may take you a few days or a week or even

a couple of weeks, but as soon as you can get to that chord right away, then you're

ready to start working on transitioning between that chord and another chord. Which leads

us to the next chord we're gonna learn.

Let's work on an A major chord. Put your first finger on the second fret of the D string,

second finger on the second fret of the G string, and your third finger on the second

fret of the B string. And this one is a little challenging because you have to scrunch your

fingers up so close together all in that one fret, that second fret. Leave the low E string

out and strum the top five strings. And we're kind of breaking a rule here because our index

finger's not right behind the fret, but that can't really be helped because we have to

scrunch our fingers up in such a small area.

So once you get this chord down do that same process. Put it on, leave it there, take it

off, shake it all the way out. And then, once you have that chord where you can go right

to it, you can work on switching between that chord and another one. For example, switching

between your E and your A chords is pretty common. So that's a change that you might

want to work on.

Alright, that brings us to our two minor chords that we're going to learn, and they're pretty

easy because we only have to switch one note, or change one note, from their major counterparts.

So for example, if you have your E major chord that we just learned. All you have to do to

make that E major chord into an E minor chord is change one note, and it's the note that's

on your index finger. Just take that off and now you have an E minor chord. You can strum

all six strings.

Alright, the last chord that I wanted to show you is an A minor chord, and this one is kind

of cool because it feels just like an E major chord only it's moved over a string set. I'll

show you what I mean. Put your second finger on the second fret of the D string, third

finger on the second fret of the G string, and your first finger on the first fret of

the B string. Now strum all five strings and leave the low E string out. You see how this

chord looks exactly like and E major shape, only you move over one string set there.

So those are some of the most important chords you're going to learn as a guitarist. And

of course bar chords and power chords are really important too, but these guys, these

open chords, are really your money makers.

Now as you go through and work on these chords remember to apply all the tips I gave you

about making clean sounding chords and making your chord transitions smooth too. That's

really important.

Thanks for watching everyone.

I just launched a new guitar lesson series, and you can get it for free right now.

Just go to GuitarSystem.com/free-series. I'll see you there.