No matter how long you have been playing you will find that everyone starts with simple guitar chords and builds on that knowledge over time. In guitar chords you should know, I am going to add chords over time that are covered in the songs that I am listing.
This way you can click on the link in the song posts to look at the simplest chords for that song altogether in one place. But as you become more confident as a guitarist, try and learn some of the theory around how chords are designed.
Scales and chords are the building blocks of each and every song and it’s based around a small portion of the alphabet, A, B, C, D, E, F, G and repeat! Because there are 12 frets on the guitar we also can use the black notes on the piano that are a #(sharp) or a b(flat). So going up the guitar neck we get from the lowest string, first fret, Open E, F, F#, G, G#, A, A#, B, C, C#, D, D#, E. Coming down the guitar neck all those #(sharp) notes become b(flat) notes. Same note different name!
Start with Simple Chords
That’s enough theory for now, let’s look at the chord chart for SUNRISE.
Chords for DESPERADO.
What you can see in the above chart are the beginning chords of the most popular songs in the world. I’m not saying that there are not a few more and we will explore them in each song but this is your foundation level chords. They are fairly comfortable for your fingers to find down at the beginning of the neck of your guitar.
Next, we move into barre chords.
Intermediate Chords – Barre Chords
Now, these will stretch your fingers a little. It takes some practice and time to find the right way for you to stretch your index finger across the whole neck of the guitar but once you can do this and not get strange clunking sounds from your strings a whole new world of songs will open up for you.
Definitely, worth the effort and a little pain while your fingers toughen up. Don’t try and do it all in one day. 10 minutes a day will soon give you a nice callous that will protect that skin.
Remember to keep your wrist down and curl your hand around the neck with a gap in the palm of your hand. Experiment until you find a comfortable position. Honestly, it will feel super strange when you start, so don’t stress, persevere. I have a nobbly index finger so it cut in a little to begin but now I don’t feel it.
If you look carefully at the barre chords below on the left of the little pictures you can see written 1st, 2nd, 3rd, or 4th, 5th, 7th. This is the Fret number that you will have your finger barring all the strings that the black line covers. Any other small black lines indicate that you could use one finger to cover those three strings. Again it’s up to you how you hold these strings down. Practice and trial will help you work out the best way for you.
As your playing improves and you stretch to more difficult songs you will find that sometimes what we call Jazz chords can sound lovely. Many simple chords you play can also be played as even simpler 3 note color chords or shell voicings. ( I will put a chart lower down.)
When you play more complex songs you are looking for sweeter chords which will enhance the melody. Often you will be searching for a chord that allows you to pick the melody or song line as you play the chord.
Below are some movable chord shapes that include other notes within the key scale.
The white dot is your root note, so depending on the note that you are on these chords can be any major or minor chord. Hopefully, this will give the more adventurous a starting place.
Shell and Gypsy Chord Voicings
These are pretty chords that can be played further up the neck. They are terrific if you are in a band and you want to sound different to the rhythm guitarist and the bass player.
Gypsy chords are colorful chords to play when you are singing solo. Here are some from Lydian Music Ltd.
All the above chord shapes can be played for another chord name, if you move your Gdim chord up 2 frets it becomes an Adim chord. When you move the root note you can change the chord title. If you find all of this theory confusing check out the course with Steve Krenz.
Now, this is a man who can explain music theory in an interesting and uncomplicated progressive journey. You will also learn to play lead with his awesome backing tracks in all genres. If you have ever wanted to become a professional guitarist, this is your course.
Although, I still check through a new song chart and Google the individual chords and draw them into a box. So that the song chords are listed together under the song title.
Here is a pdf sheet that you can use. Chord-Chart-Boxes-Sheet
I hope all of this has helped and that you will come back to it as a learning resource as you add new chords to your knowledge. I will continue to update this post for new songs.
If you are looking to start a guitar course. I can highly recommend the one I started with Steve Krenz Learn and Master Guitar, you can have a read of my post. Start your guitar journey today.
Feel free to comment and share it around. I would love to hear from you on your guitar journey.