Introduction: How to Play 3 Simple Chords on a Guitar

Learning how to play chords on a guitar is quite simple and can be a useful skill. With a little practice, you can learn to play multiple songs on a guitar, even if you only know how to play 3 chords.

Step 1: What You'll Learn

In this tutorial, we will discuss the following:
● Parts of a guitar
● How to hold a guitar
● How to read chord diagrams
● How to play the G, C, and D chords
● How to strum with a pick
● How to read songs with chords

Step 2: What You'll Need

Materials
● Properly tuned six-string acoustic guitar
● Guitar pick
● Guitar chord diagram(s)

Safety information
● Sit down when playing guitar and support the guitar body on your left knee unless you have a guitar strap.
● Make sure that your strings are not stretched too tightly, because they can snap and harm you if they break.

Step 3: Parts of a Guitar

The guitar consists of the main body and the neck. The guitar strings run from the middle of the body to to the top of the neck. In an acoustic guitar, the body is thick to take the sound from the strings and resonate to amplify the sound of the guitar.

Step 4: The Fretboard

The fretboard is the large wooden part of the neck. The fretboard is divided by metal frets. Each of these dividers show where fingers are placed to produce a specific sound.



Thickest string  E - 6
A - 5
D - 4
G - 3
B - 2
Thinnest string E - 1

Step 5: How to Hold the Guitar

How to hold the guitar
1. Hold the neck of the guitar in your left hand.
2. Make sure the strings are facing away from your body.
3. Place the body in your lap.

Step 6: How to Strum With a Pick

How to strum with a pick
1. Hold the pick in your right hand between your thumb and index finger as shown in the picture.
2. Moving your forearm, drag the pick across the strings downward. Avoid the strings that are not supposed to be played for that chord.
3. To strum again, drag the pick across the strings upward, returning to your original position.

Step 7: How to Read Chord Diagrams (string Order, Open Strings, Silent Strings, Etc.)

The left edge of a chord diagram relates to the largest string that is highest when the guitar is held horizontally. However, in order to read the diagram, the diagram must be read as though the neck was pointing upwards vertically.

Symbols above each string on the diagram explain if the string is used or not.

Xs denote a string that is not played in the chord, an O means that the string is played “open,” which is to say that it’s not plucked with the pick.

A dark circle shows where to push down on the guitar in order to make the desired sound.

Step 8: How to Place Your Fingers Behind the Frets

1. Hold your thumb behind neck of the guitar as shown

Step 9: How to Play the G Chord

G chord: Place your index finger on 2nd string, middle finger on 1st string, and ring or pinky finger on 6th strin

Step 10: How to Play the C Chord

C chord: Place your index finger on 5th string, middle finger on the 4th string, and ring finger on 2nd string

Step 11: How to Play the D Chord

C chord: Place your index finger on 5th string, middle finger on the 4th string, and ring finger on 2nd string.

Step 12: How to Read Chords in a Song

This is an image for a typical guitar tab. The tab places the CHORD that is played placed above the lyric for the song.

You’ll have to listen to the song to get the strum pattern the same. If you know how the song sounds already, simply play the chord as it appears over the lyrics.

Depending on the song, you may continue strumming that chord until the next chord appears later in he tab.

Step 13: Conclusion

Now that you know how to hold a guitar, strum, and play the G, C, and D chords, you can play a variety of songs such as:

Lynyrd Skynyrd - Sweet Home Alabama
John Denver - Leaving on a Jet Plane
Alan Jackson - I’ll Try

You can also learn to play other chords the same way by looking up the chord diagrams for each. With a little practice you will soon be a pro and can impress your friends with your guitar skills!

Comments

author
ryanscizzle (author)2014-04-18

Just as a heads up, the chord chart on this step shows a C chord instead of a G chord.

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