Learning guitar chords is the same no matter what style of music you want to play. If your ambition is to be an acoustic guitarist playing along behind your own vocals, or if you want to be a solo guitarist in a rock or jazz band, the basic ideas are the same. There is a trick to it, though. To gain command of a vast repertoire of songs or instrumentals there is just one or two secrets you need to know.
Sometimes it is a little scary watching virtuoso guitar players in action and thinking about the hours and years they have spent practicing, and what is even more scary – thinking about the possibility that they might have some talent that you will never have. Well here is the good news: there are easy versions of the most important chords for guitarists of any genre. They can be learnt in a few weeks and if you want to you can stick with these easy chords for the whole of your career. Seriously.
There is probably a list of songs in your head that you want to learn to play. Write then down in order from the one you like the most to your least favorite. You will probably need to modify this list later to suit the order in which you are learning your chords. The first basic chords you will be learning are open chords, that is chords played in the first position on the guitar where at least on string is played without one of your fingers fretting it.
Using songs to help you learn chords makes it much easier to learn chords in groups instead of one at a time as changing chords assists your muscle memory in learning the chord fingerings.
The first secret you need to know in learning guitar chords is the three chord formula. Most popular is, or can be, played using only three chords.
The best method to use to classify chords is to bread them into families. These families are just mixes of chords that sound musical together. Let us break them into keys: In the key of A there are A, D and E. In the key of D they are D, E minor, G and A. In the key of G you get G, A minor, C, D, and E minor. The family of chords for the key of C is C, D minor, E minor, F and G. To streamline your guitar learning you could attempt to learn one chord family at a time and find songs among your list of favorites that contain these chords. Once you start looking through your list of songs you will be able to see the truth of the three chord formula.
Open chords only need you to use two or three fingers. They are played within the first three frets. A good example of an open chord is E minor:
As you can see, you just need to put two fingers at the second fret on the fifth and fourth strings. If you eventually want to play electric guitar, you will find that power chords are the easiest chords to play. Power chords mostly only need two fingers.