How To Learn Chords as a Beginner

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One of the key components of guitar playing is the ability to play chords. It can be difficult in the beginning to master guitar chords. This guide will help you as a beginner, so you can play chords and enjoy having fun on your guitar.


Dedicated Practice

To gain proficiency with guitar chords, you need to practice them. You should dedicate at least 10 minutes per session for guitar chords. Learn the chords that your teacher gives you from each lesson. The more time you can dedicate to learning chords, the better off that you’ll be.

Students that don’t progress when playing chords usually don’t practice them enough so they can’t make progress. Take the time necessary to learn your chords.

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Keep your Nails Short

Keep your nails short on your fretting hand. This makes it easier to play the notes of chords cleanly. If you have long nails, the strings can get caught under them and cause you some pain. This also allows you to apply even pressure form each fingertip on the notes of the chord.

Short nails make fretting a lot easier to keep them as short as you can. The fingertip will toughen up with calluses, and it then takes a lot less effort to play guitar chords the right way.


Finger Placement on the Strings

How you place your fingers on the strings is key. You want to apply even pressure on each string of the chord. If you press too hard, you may get buzzing frets, or the notes won’t sound clear.

Keep your thumb behind the neck and angle your wrist to finger each note of the chords. For some chords, the thumb can come up to block the sixth string, so it doesn’t ring when strumming.

Make sure your fingers aren’t brushing against the string next to the one that you want to play. When this occurs, the note that you want to sound may buzz or not ring at all. You need enough space between the notes, so everything is clean and rings correctly.

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Use Correct Fingers

Chord diagrams have numbers on the notes of the chord for a reason. These are the fingers that you should be using for each note of the chord. The finger placement in this manner makes the chords easy to play and helps facilitate the transition to the next chord. Often, there is very little finger movement between each chord. If you use the right fingers on each chord, you’ll have smooth chord changes and won’t have to worry about bad notes.


Finger without Strumming

Finger each chord, but do not strum. Get used to changing chord to chord. For example, finger, G, then, C, then D. This is a common chord progression. Get used to moving between each one of those chords. Your chord change should happen in a rapid fashion. Once you get good at it, close your eyes and try to change without looking at all once you can change quickly, then your set to add in some strums and make music.


Keep the Strumming Going

When you are strumming strings, don't stop the strumming hand.

A lot of beginner guitar players make this critical mistake. Keep the hand going as you move from chord to chord. The change must happen fast. Play the progressions slowly but change chords when you have to without stopping.

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Master Major and Minor First

Master the open position major and minor chords first. Your teacher will probably show you these right away. These are the basic foundation chords that you need to know. You will be able to play thousands of songs by just knowing these first few chords. Learn them backward and forwards as this is key to unlocking more complex chords such as barre chords.


Use Light Strings

Many beginners use guitar strings that are too heavy. Light strings on acoustic guitars or a nylon string guitar are ideal as the strings are easier to press down. You should avoid using heavier gauges as these will hurt your fingers and make it harder to learn chords in the beginning. On electric use a 009 set as these are lighter than the 010. The lighter set makes chords way easier on your electric guitar.