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A Guide for Beginners - Major Chords

Christopher Sung (9641) · [archive]
Style: Basics · Level: Beginner · Tempo: 120
Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

Major Chords
When you first start playing guitar, the easiest chords to play are the ones requiring the least amount of fingers, and in the least awkward positions. This usually means that one or more open strings are involved, meaning that you play that string but you don't need to place a finger on it. Major chords are perhaps the most common type of chord found in Western music, and are traditionally the first chords that a beginning guitarist learns.

One mnemonic that teachers use to help remember the most common major chords is the the word CAGED. This stands for the

  • C Major
  • A Major
  • G Major
  • E Major
  • D Major


chords. Each of these chords has its own special fingering which we will go over in this lesson, and gradually these shapes will become second nature to you (trust me on this). When someone said that rock and roll is basically "three chords and an attitude", the three chords they were talking about are some subset of the chords you will learn in this lesson. If you can play these chords comfortably, you can play some blues, Beatles, Nirvana, and a lot of other cool music.

For now, I don't want you to worry about strumming or rhythm. I just want you to concentrate on each chord, how it sounds, and how it feels under your fingers. Also, keep in mind that becoming comfortable with these fingerings and switching back and forth between them is one of the hardest tasks you'll ever endure and is usually the difference between those who have fun playing their guitar, and those that keep it in the case under their bed.