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The 28 Most Useful Beginner Guitar Chords to Learn First

If you know 3 or more beginner chords on the guitar, plug them into this Search Engine. You'll find loads of easy songs.

But if you don't know any guitar chords yet - start with the sequence below by clicking the:

  • First diagram for 1-chord songs with G.
  • Second diagram for 2-chord tunes with G & D.
  • Third diagram for 3-chord guitar songs with G & D & C.

Click Any Beginner Chord
Diagram to See Songs

1-Chord Songs with G Major

Click any song below to play along with the video.

  • Everyday People - Sly & the Family Stone - 1969 - (Slightly out of tune.)
  • U.S. 41 - Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers - 2010

To see chord diagrams for guitar, ukulele, mandolin, or banjo, click here.

1

2-Chord Songs with D & G

Click any title to see the chords and notation.

Click any artist for a video.

There are also lots of folk tunes & nursery rhymes with these 2 chords.

To see chord diagrams for guitar, ukulele, mandolin, or banjo, click here.

2

Why These 28 Chords (and Why This Order)?

The Chord Genome Project is a search engine of songs - organized by the chords they use. For example, here’s a list of 3-chord songs with G, C, D.

There are 500,000+ songs in the database. And to play all this music, you need to learn over 2,000 guitar chords. But to play roughly half the database (i.e. 250,000+ songs), you only need the 28 beginner chords above. These guitar chords let you play the most music (with the least effort). So start with them first.

But…

You can also map out your own chord path. To learn how, keep reading.

Find Songs Using Your Own Guitar Chords?

You don’t have to start with G major. Many beginners on the guitar learn A, E, D first - or D, G, A. With this site’s Song Search Engine, you can quickly find easy tunes using whatever beginner chords you want. Then use the Next Best Chord tool to see what new chord to add to your practice.

If you’re still not sure where to begin, the resources below cover some other great starting places:

Looking for Other Guitar Chord Diagrams?

The 28 guitar chords above are the most useful ones to learn first. But if you’d like to see even more chord diagrams for beginners, check out the resources below:

You can also find alternate guitar chord fingerings here.

Already know a few chords?

Do a search to find songs that use your chords.

Search Songs by Chord

Add your chords to the search bar below.

Type chords here or import from My Library

Instrument
Filters

Important: The ability to add your own chords allows you to create a list of songs tailored to your skill level. Enter familiar chords, and every song will be an easy one (by definition). You can also use genre and decade filters to target music you actually want to play.

You’ll Become Addicted to Playing Again

(GUARANTEED)

Learn how to overcome the biggest hurdle(s) holding you back.

Boredom

Tired of playing the same songs?

Take the chords to that tune and run a search. You’ll see tons of music you could be playing instead.

For example, here's a Sample List of Classic Rock songs with G, C, D, Em.

Plug in your own chords, genres, and decades, and you'll NEVER be bored again.

It's impossible.

Better still, you'll pick up your instrument more often - and hold onto it a little longer every time.

And that's the secret to improving - i.e. time spent with your craft.

Frustration

My progress is slow and painful.

When you're frustrated, it means you're trying to play music you're not ready for yet.

Here's a better approach:

  • Run a search of all the chords you're comfortable with. You'll see a massive list of songs that use those exact chords.
  • This list represents your comfort zone. But it's only a starting place. You'll eventually grow tired of those songs and be ready for slightly harder music.
  • When you're ready to "improve," try adding a Wildcard to the chords you already know. You'll see a huge collection of songs that are just outside your comfort zone. Every tune is literally one chord away.

If you can establish a baseline and add just one more chord (and then another) - you'll NEVER be frustrated again.

Motivation

Playing just isn't fun any more.

In the beginning you wanted to play. Now you feel like you should play.

Music has become a chore. And it no longer brings you joy.

The secret lies in finding that Goldilocks Zone of music that rewards and challenges you.

When you have instant access to hundreds (if not thousands) of songs that all use chords you know, you won't be able to put your instrument down.

And when you add a Wildcard, you'll see thousands of songs that are well within your reach.

Follow this simple formula, and you'll become addicted to playing again - guaranteed.

Knowledge

I don't know enough chords yet.

You need at least 3 chords to run a search. And with those chords, you can do a LOT of damage.

For example, here are sample lists of 3-chord songs with G,C,D and A,D,E and C,F,G and DGA.

If you don't know any chords yet, start here. You'll see easy tunes with 1, 2, and 3 chords (for your instrument). And you'll be playing music in no time.

Once you know 3 (or more chords), come back here and run a search.

Confusion

I don't know what to do next.

That's easy to fix.

Add whatever chords you know to the search tool above. You'll see a huge list of songs with those exact chords.

Start there and enjoy yourself.

Then, ask for the Next Best Chord and run a new search.

You'll see even more amazing songs - all of which are 1 chord outside your comfort zone.

Rinse and repeat.

To see what that looks like, here are INTERACTIVE examples for Guitar, Ukulele, Mandolin, and Banjo.

Injury

It really hurts when I play.

Callouses on the fingertips are normal. And your arm will get tired from strumming all day. But if you start to feel muscle or nerve pain - STOP.

Never play through pain.

In fact, using my site will only make things worse (the whole point of the Chord Genome Project is to get you addicted to your instrument).

It sounds like reverse psychology, but it isn't. I absolutely want your money and would love for you to stay onboard for a long time. But that won't happen if you're sitting on the sidelines (temporarily or permanently) nursing an injury.

Rest. Recover. Then come back.

Thanks for Reading

I hope you found this chord guide helpful. If you did, please share it with other beginner guitarists.

Thank you so much for reading. And happy strumming.

-Austin