For any beginner looking for guitar songs and chords there’s really only 10 chords you need to start out with and we divide these into two keys. The first key would be C Major and the chords contained within the key would be like this…
The Key of C Major
C Dm Em F G Am Bdim
As you can see, we have seven chords which make up the key. The very last chord, B diminished, is not so important to learn when talking about beginner guitar songs and chords – it’s more used in Jazz and Classical music.
The second key you’ll need is the key of G Major, it looks like this…
The Key of G Major
G Am Bm C D Em F#dim
Again, you can see there are 7 chords and if you look even closer you’ll also see that they key itself maintains the same basic structure as the previous one, by this I mean that the sequence of major and minor chords are congruent. The formula of a major key looks like this…
M m m M M m Dim
Now, you should also notice that the two keys above share many common chords – they are keys which are closely related. Putting both keys together we’d need to know the following chords, we’ll leave out the diminished chord number VII in each one for now…
C, D, Dm, Em, F, G, Am and Bm
As a teacher preparing students for learning how to play easy guitar songs I would also add the chord of E major and there you’d have it, the 10 most powerful chords you can learn for to get started with simple guitar songs.
Listen: Learning the shapes of guitar chords is easy. It’s being able to change from one chord to another which is the hard part. You’ll probably spend 5% of your time learning the shapes and the other 95% will be devoted to drilling them around and around as you try to increase the speed with which you can change between them. You’ll find that some are much easier to get to than others!
This is important practice as you’ll only be able to play songs on guitar fluently once you can change chords quickly and smoothly without there being any noticeable gap.
Guitar Lessons for Beginners – House Of The Rising Sun
On the strumming side of things we can learn even less than the chords! 3 universal strumming patterns are all you need to play literally 100s of easy acoustic guitar songs – and many of them are huge hits which everyone would know having heard them many times on the radio. It’s a myth that you need to learn lots of different strums if you want to play lots of different songs. Actually, the most powerful strums you can learn are the ones which will transpose to many other different songs, all you need do is adapt your tempo to match the speed of the song. This is great, great news for beginners taking guitar lessons as itmakes it so easy to start playing songs on guitar soon after learning the basics.
In Guitar in a Nutshell, on the beginner level, we teach these 10 chords and 3 universal strums in just 4 lessons. We also show you a way to instantly increase the speed at which you can change from once chord to another and this helps many students to start playing songs much quicker than they otherwise would be able to.
It’s really your guitar teachers job to identify and select the best acoustic guitar songs for you to start off learning. I know you may have your own set of favorite songs you’re dying to learn how to play and these may even be the reason you wanted to learn guitar in the first place but I promise you that the fastest way to be able to do that is by starting out with the easiest songs to play on acoustic guitar. Tracks such as “Horse With No Name” or “Wonderful Tonight” are perfect for beginners, here’s why…
They both use just a few chords and only one strumming pattern all the way through. This is what usually identifies guitar songs for beginners everywhere. It’s best to select songs which you have a reasonable chance of mastering without become overly frustrated. You’ll find helpful lists of guitar songs and chords by searching on the web and lists the easiest guitar songs for beginners to try… it’s highly recommended that you start there as they will provide you with the most even learning curve and that is critical.