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Easy Guitar Chords For Young Beginners (Or Any Beginner)

It's nice to be able to start strumming the guitar as early as you can. The sooner you can get started, the sooner you can play along with your favourite songs. The first problem you might find as a beginner, is that there are lots of chords...

Soooo many of them...

Where do you start?

Let's narrow that down.

We have our favourite chords for adult beginners, and there is tonnes of information online about that, but what about chords for young beginners? Here are our 3 favourite "easy" chords that use only 3 strings and 1 finger.

Easy E minor Chord

Let's start with the easiest chord of them all - E minor. Did you notice on the diagram above, E minor is written as Em? That's correct! You often see it written down like that. Another way is E-. It all means the same thing.

Okay, so this one is played on the first 3 strings, the G, B and E strings. Notice on the diagrams above that three strings have crosses at the top? Well, that tells us that we're not going to strum those strings. We're going to pretend they're not there.

TIP: For a young beginner, you could consider covering up the three thickest strings (E, A & D) so that they don't make any noise when they are strummed. It will mute those strings and help make everything sound cleaner. Hopefully, it will also help with confidence. You can remove it a short while after they've got the hang of the chords - we do want to improve accuracy with the strumming hand. One thing at a time though.

Strum down towards the ground with your thumb or pick. Keep it simple :)

Watch this video for an explanation

Easy G Major Chord

We've got an Em chord, so let's learn another simple chord - a G Major chord. With Major chords, we don't need to give them their full name, so we'll just call it "G" from now on.

For this one, put your 3rd finger onto fret 3 of string 1 (the smallest E string). Strum down through the top three strings again. You're aiming for a nice, clear sound here, and you definitely want to hear the note that your 3rd finger is on. It's the note G too.

Watch this video for an explanation

Easy C Chord

Okay, we've called this the "easy C" chord, but it's trickier than the G chord. The main reason is that you'll be using finger 1 on fret 1 of string 2.

When you first play this chord you'll notice a couple of things:

  1. It's quite hard to press the string down at the first fret. That's because it's the nearest fret to the nut, so it's harder to press down. Make sure your finger is nearer to the fret than the nut and keep practicing until you can make the note sound nice and clear.

  2. Your first finger covers the 1st strings. Yeah, this happens a lot when you first learn the guitar. Try to get your first finger up onto its "tip-toes" and bend your finger at the first knuckle. This should help you to keep the finger out of the way of the E string underneath.

Watch this video for an explanation

What next?

Well done for making it this far. Now the real fun begins.

  • Go and practice these chords.

  • Be musical.

  • Sing the individual notes of the chords as you play them.

  • Say the name of the chord you're playing - it'll help you to remember it.

  • Do some research. Can you find any songs that use only these 3 chords?

  • Listen to lots of music! Sing along (or hum/whistle) whenever you can.

  • Keep things simple. Strum each chord 8 times and change to another one. Play that one 8 times. Repeat. Now try strumming each chord 4 times. Can you do it without giant gaps between each chord? How about 2 strums each? 1 strum?

  • Try tapping your foot and strum in time.

  • Count the beats out loud - "1, 2, 3, 4"

  • Stick to using your 3rd finger for G, and your 1st finger for C. It'll help you to remember the chords.

  • Can you do it without looking?

  • Have fun! Enjoy it.

  • Make up your own songs with these chords. Make silly songs - give yourself/family/friends a laugh.

  • Don't take yourself too seriously. Breathe, strum, listen and enjoy.

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