There are dozens of different chords and when you start teaching yourself how to play guitar chords, you need to know a few basics to ensure you are able to hit each of them, even the ones that are painful and seemingly impossible. While it is true that with two or three chords you can start playing songs, you should strive to learn as many chords as possible, picking up the basics of the entire range of music made possible by a guitar.
The Right Guitar
The best way to learn how to play guitar chords is on a steel-stringed acoustic guitar. There are a few reasons for this. First off, you will be forced to learn proper finger placement, lest the chords don’t resonate. Classical guitar is too forgiving and electric guitar makes it hard to hear the detail and structure of each chord as it is played. Therefore, a good acoustic guitar with simple steel strings, while it might sound as good, is better suited to learning all the way around.
Press Softly on the Strings
If you press too hard on your strings, the sound will not resonate properly and might even go out of tune. Unfortunately, most beginners don’t have nice enough guitars to be able to play such notes so easily, so it is important that you fret carefully. Press only as hard as is needed to make the chord resonate on your particular guitar.
Drop Your Wrist
To learn how to play guitar chords properly, you need to drop your left wrist and make your fingers vertical with the fretboard. This will result in clearer sounding notes by ensuring your finger does not fall back and dampen the next string. Correct positioning is the number one way to ensure your notes all ring true.
Move As Little as Possible
Changing between chords can be tough, so you’ll want to master doing so with as little movement as possible. Practice the finger movements without playing to see how they shift and learn what you need to do minimize that movement. Many times when someone is learning how to play guitar chords, they focus entirely on playing and make large movements that can slow down playing and cause unwanted notes to sound on the fretboard.
The best way to master the fretboard and learn how to play guitar chords is to practice playing without looking at the strings as you play. It’s the same as when you learned to type. If you keep looking at the keyboard, your fingers will never take over. You need to let your fingers learn their way around the guitar neck without having help from your eyes.
Use the above tips and you can start mastering the basics of guitar chords. Once you have done that, it is a small step forward to playing songs and improvising on your guitar with ease.