Skip to content

Basic Guitar Chords: Five Essential Shapes

    There are 5 basic guitar chords that every beginner student should learn. These basic chord patterns are the C, A, G, E, and D chords.

    The 5 Basic Guitar Chords

    Learn and memorize each chord pattern. Take your time to ensure that you are playing them correctly. Each pattern has a picture of the chord being played and an audio sample of what the chord sounds like when played properly. All of the chords that we’ll cover are open chords. This means that they utilize some open strings (unfretted) on the guitar.


    basic guitar chords
    Open C Chord

    easy guitar chords


    chord diagram

    Open G Chord

    basic chords for guitar


    guitar chord
    Open D Chord

    basic guitar chord patterns


    guitar chords
    Open A Chord

    chords for guitar


    chords for guitar
    Open E Chord

    the basic guitar chords


    You’ll notice that there are chords that seem to be missing such as F chords and B chords as well as chords with sharps or flats. Well, these chords don’t have their own patterns. To play them (and all the other major and minor chords for that matter) you have to use a barre chord. Barre chords are movable versions of the 5 basic guitar chord patterns found on this page. Your first step in mastering guitar chords is to master the chords on this page.

    When you’ve got them down, it’s time to learn their movable versions and how to apply them to the fretboard.

    Learning to play guitar chords can be a challenge for beginners. If you are having difficulty playing chords stick to practicing the five basic guitar chord patterns found on this page. Practice changing from chord to chord and use a critical ear to be sure each note is sounding clear. You don’t want the notes to sound muted or dead. Each note should ring out clear.