How many chords should a beginner guitarist know?

Learning to play the guitar can be an exciting and fulfilling journey. As a beginner guitarist, one of the fundamental skills you need to develop is chord playing. Chords form the building blocks of songs and allow you to strum along and create beautiful music. But how many chords should a beginner guitarist know? In this article, we’ll explore the essential chords that every aspiring guitarist should learn and master.


Before we dive into the specific chords, let’s understand the importance of chords for beginner guitarists. Chords are combinations of notes played simultaneously and provide the harmonic structure of a song. They allow you to accompany yourself or others while singing or playing melodies. By learning a variety of chords, you expand your musical vocabulary and increase your versatility as a guitarist.

Basic Open Chords

A great starting point for beginner guitarists is to learn basic open chords. Open chords are played in the first few frets of the guitar neck and involve strings that are not pressed down with the fingers. Some common open chords include A, C, D, E, and G. These chords are relatively easy to play and form the foundation for countless songs across various genres. Mastering these basic open chords will provide you with a solid grounding for further chord exploration.

How many chords should a beginner guitarist know guitar player

Power Chords

Once you’ve become comfortable with basic open chords, you can move on to power chords. Power chords are simple two-note chords that are widely used in rock, punk, and metal music. They consist of a root note and a fifth interval, omitting the third note found in major and minor chords. Examples of power chords include E5, A5, and D5. Power chords are versatile and allow for dynamic and aggressive playing, making them essential for guitarists interested in heavier genres.

Barre Chords

Barre chords are another vital set of chords to learn as a beginner guitarist. Barre chords involve using one finger to press down multiple strings across the guitar neck, creating different chord shapes. By understanding the concept of barre chords, you gain access to a vast range of chord possibilities. Common barre chord shapes include F, Bm, and C#m. While barre chords may require some initial finger strength and dexterity, they open up opportunities to play in different keys and expand your playing capabilities.

Major and Minor Chords

Understanding the difference between major and minor chords is crucial for any guitarist. Major chords typically convey a happy or uplifting sound, while minor chords tend to evoke a sadder or darker tone. By learning both major and minor chord shapes and progressions, you can effectively convey different emotions through your playing. Practice transitioning between major and minor chords smoothly to add depth and variety to your guitar playing.

Seventh Chords

Seventh chords add richness and complexity to your chord vocabulary. These chords are formed by adding a seventh interval to a triad, creating a unique sound. Dominant seventh, major seventh, minor seventh, and diminished seventh chords are some examples. Seventh chords find widespread use in blues, jazz, and other genres that require a more sophisticated harmonic palette. By incorporating seventh chords into your playing, you can add interest and sophistication to your music.

How many chords should a beginner guitarist know guitar player

Suspended Chords

Suspended chords introduce tension and create a sense of anticipation in your playing. They are often used as substitutes for major or minor chords to add variety to chord progressions. Examples of suspended chords include Asus4 and Dsus2. Experimenting with suspended chords can breathe new life into your guitar playing and provide a fresh perspective on familiar songs.

Extended Chords

Extended chords go beyond the basic triads and add additional tones to the chord structure. These chords, such as maj7, add9, and 13, are commonly found in jazz, fusion, and other complex musical styles. Learning extended chords allows you to explore more intricate harmonies and express yourself creatively. While they may be more challenging to play initially, extended chords offer endless possibilities for musical exploration.


  1. What is the easiest chord for beginners to learn? The easiest chord for beginners to learn is often the open E major chord. It only requires two fingers and is located in the first position on the guitar neck.
  2. How long does it take to learn all the essential chords? The time it takes to learn all the essential chords varies from person to person. With consistent practice, dedication, and proper technique, beginners can start playing basic chords within a few weeks.
  3. Can I play songs with just a few chords? Absolutely! Many popular songs are based on just a few simple chords. By mastering a handful of chords, you can already play numerous songs and build a repertoire.
  4. Are there shortcuts or tricks to learn chords faster? While there are no magical shortcuts, practicing regularly and breaking down chord shapes into smaller


In conclusion, as a beginner guitarist, it’s important to have a strong foundation in chords. Start with basic open chords and gradually progress to power chords, barre chords, major and minor chords, seventh chords, suspended chords, and extended chords. Each type of chord brings its own flavor and musical possibilities. By dedicating time and practice to learning and mastering these chords, you’ll become a more well-rounded and versatile guitarist.

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