Four essential chords for beginning guitarists

jamie anderson low res

It’s more fun to master a song while you’re learning the guitar than it is to do an endless series of drills. Drills can help, of course, but in the end,  it has to be music. We aren’t playing football here. Like I’d know anything about football. Anyway … here’s a video that will teach beginning guitar players four chords, a strum pattern and a song. Keep reading and you’ll find links to other songs that use the same chords.


In the video I only cover one verse and a chorus. Find the rest of the song here. (That link and the ones below are from one of my favorite guitar sites, by the way. Unlike many other tab sites, his are accurate because he’s a guitar teacher.)

Want to learn more? I teach via Skype from anywhere in the world, and also in my studio in Ottawa, Ontario (Canada). Contact me here.

With D, C, G and Em, there’s a ton of other songs you can learn. And they all work with the strum pattern I teach in the video. Just click on the song title to get to the chords. Use your back button to return to my site.

Big Yellow Taxi – Joni Mitchell. Fun song, whether you know Joni’s version or someone else’s.

Blowing in the Wind – Bob Dylan. This one’s only three chords. Some versions of this have a fourth chord but I’ve found that this version works just fine.

Dead Skunk – Louden Wainwright lll. Because it cracks me up.

Good Riddance – Green Day. You can ignore the altered G chord. A regular G chord works well. And while it sounds good with the Cadd9 chord it’ll also work with a plain ol’ C.

Hurt so Good – John Mellancamp.

Let It Be – Beatles. The outro has more than the four basic chords but it’s not essential to the song.

Orphan Girl – Gillian Welch. Great folk tune. A lot of her songs are easy to play.

Ring of Fire – Johnny Cash. Everyone knows this one.

Teardrops on My Guitar – Taylor Swift. Country music is always great if you’re looking for simpler songs.

You Are My Sunshine. This one’s great for campfire singing.

More guitar instruction is here.

Now quit reading this and go play the guitar!

About jamiebobamie

Musician - teacher - writer - gets bored easily. I write an almost-weekly blog that includes true stories gathered from 20-plus years of touring, how-to articles for musicians and profiles of performers. Also, I love dark chocolate, I can play "Brown Eyed Girl" behind my head, and I twirl the baton badly.
This entry was posted in Music instruction, Playing the guitar and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Four essential chords for beginning guitarists

  1. mmadeincanada007 says:

    Trying to find you on YouTube!!

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