Let’s learn how to play the acoustic guitar. In this lesson we are going to learn the G, C, and D guitar chords and then put a basic strumming pattern with them. I am going to assume that you have never even held a guitar before so lets start with the basics by learning how to hold an acoustic guitar. Rest your guitar over your right leg, and hold it close to your body with your right arm. Remember to sit up straight and relax. When you place your finger on a fret of the guitar, remember to place that finger very close to the fret. We have supplied you with some diagrams of the chords that you will be learning. Learn how to read chord diagrams here!
Let’s move on to the chord shapes. Don’t worry about making the chords sound perfect right away. Just focus on getting the shapes down. The strength in your left hand will come with some practice. Try to make sure that you are curving your fingers enough to play on the the very tips of your fingers. This will help the fingers that your are playing with to not mute the surrounding strings.
Our first chord will be a G chord. Put your 3rd finger on the 3rd fret of the low E (6th) string, your 2nd finger on the 2nd fret of the A (5th) string, and your pinky on the 3rd fret of the high E (1st) string. Now take a pick, if you have one, between you thumb and index finger on your right hand and give all six strings a strum. That’s your G chord.
To play a C chord you need to put your 3rd finger on the 3rd fret of the A (5th) string, your 2nd finger on the 2nd fret of the D (4th) string, and your 1st finger on the 1st fret of the B (2nd) string. Now strum all of the strings except for the low E (6th) string.
One chord to go. To make your D chord, place your 1st finger on the 2nd fret of the G (3rd) string, your 2nd finger on the 2nd fret of the high E (1st) string, and your 3rd finger on the 3rd fret of the B (2nd) string. Now strum all of the strings except for the low E and A strings. Thats it, all three chords.
Practice these chords until you get the shapes memorized and then try changing from shape to shape. Don’t get frustrated if your fingers get sore or tired, thats normal. If you need some time to get the shapes down, take a few days to practice and then come back to this video and put the strumming pattern with the chords.
Now it is time to take the chords we have learned and put a simple strumming pattern with them. We will be using all down strokes for the strumming pattern. Make your G chord and get your pick ready in your right hand. Strum the G chord four times. Switch to your C chord ,and strum that chord four times. Finish off by making your D chord and strumming down four more times. Switching between chords smoothly is probably the hardest part of playing something like this. Try to make your strumming as even as possible, especially when your changing chords. Take it as slow as you need to at first. Don’t be in a rush to play fast, just focus on playing clean and evenly.
Knowing these chords, and a few basic strumming patterns, can enable you to play a lot more songs than you realize. Many many songs you hear on the radio are just a few chords with some basic strumming. Take the chords that you have learned in this lesson, experiment and mix them up. Try to come up with your own strumming patterns too.