Basic Guitar Chord Instruction

Kevin Ott
Man strumming a guitar chord

​In basic guitar chord instruction, simplicity is best. As you learn the chords below keep in mind one simple principle: Let your lead finger be your guide. In every chord there is always one finger that, if placed first, will help the other fingers fall into position.

G Major Chord

G Major Chord
  • Place your middle finger, the lead finger for this chord, on the third fret of the low E string.
  • Place your index finger on the second fret of the A string.
  • Place your pinky finger on the third fret of the high E string.

D Major Chord

D Major Chord
  • Place your index finger on the second fret of the G string.
  • Place your ring finger on the third fret of the B string.
  • Focus on placing these two fingers first.
  • Place your middle finger on the second fret of the high E string.

C Major Chord

C Major Chord
  • Place your ring finger, the lead finger for this chord, on the third fret of the A string.
  • Place your middle finger on the second fret of the D string.
  • Place your index finger on the first fret of the B string.

Moveable Major Chord

Moveable Major Chord
  • Your index finger will lead. Place it on any fret of the low E string and apply pressure across all six strings. This is called barring. The fret you choose determines the chord. If you choose the first fret, which is an F note, then you will form an F Major chord.
  • Place your ring finger two frets above your index finger on the A string
  • Place your pinky two frets above your index finger on the D string
  • Place your middle finger one fret above y​​our index finger on the G string

A Major Chord

A Major Chord
  • Your middle finger will lead. Place it on the second fret of the D string.
  • Place your ring finger on the second fret of the G string.
  • Place your pinky on the second fret of the B string.

A Minor Chord

A Minor Chord
  • Like the A Major chord, your middle finger will lead. Place it on the second fret of the D string.
  • Place your ring finger on the second fret of the G string.
  • Place your index finger on the first fret of the B string.

E Major Chord

E Major Chord
  • Place your middle finger, the lead finger for this chord, on the second fret of the A string.
  • Place your ring finger on the second fret of the D string.
  • Place your index finger on the first fret of the G string.

The Well-Equipped Guitarist

Once you master this basic guitar chord instruction, you will be able to play hundreds of popular songs. However, if you have an appetite to learn more chords, a printable chord chart will greatly expand your musical vocabulary.

Basic Guitar Chord Instruction