How many basic guitar chords are there

How Many Basic Guitar Chords Are There?

There are a lot of chords and alterations of chords you can play. According to Arthur Fox at, there are 4017 different chords you can play! The numbers are based upon chords with at least three different notes. You will not need to learn how to play all the chords to make music, but you should start with the basic chords.

So there you have it. Most of the popular music being made use the same harmonic theory and scales (how the notes fit together in a sequence).

We tend to like what sounds familiar, and composers and players have experimented with only a handful of these choices and a lot of the rest of the chords sound bad. But if you want to be unique, then just experiment.

What are the most basic guitar chords?

There are 14 chords you should learn to be able to play the most basic songs. The most basic chords you can play as a beginner guitarist are:

E F G A B C D. These chords are all Major chords.

All The Basic Major Chords

These chords are the 7 basic Major chords you should learn. Major means that the sound of the chords is happy and that the 3rd note is raised a whole step from the 2nd note in the scale.

For example, here are all the 12 notes you can play in an octave. These notes just repeat all over the guitar and every time they repeat is called an octave. So there are only 12 notes you can play in total on the guitar, they just sound higher or lower depending on where you play them on the guitar.

E F F# G G# A A# B C C# D D#

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 (number of the notes in an E chromatic scale)

Chromatic scale means that all the notes are played one after another just as listed above. Only half steps between the notes (after the 12th note the D# the scale begins over again so that the 13th note would be the same as the 1st note)

Notice that note 1 and 13 are both E and thus are the same note but in different octaves. One note is higher than the other and the other has a lower or darker sound to it.

The other 7 chords you should learn are minor chords which sound sad and where the 3rd note is lowered or raised half a step from the 2nd note.

All The Basic minor Chords (m = minor)

Raised half a step, what are you talking about?

Okay, let`s slow down here. Look at at the notes again.

E F F# G G# A A# B C C# D D#

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

Now, let`s say we start on note number 1 or the E note. A half step would be to jump to the next step which is number 2 or the F note. Cool?

If we wanted to do the same with a whole step we would go back to number 1 or the E and jump two half steps which would be the 3rd note or F#.

So 1 whole step = 2 half steps.

If we start at F instead one-half step would be F# and a whole step from F would be the G note. Get it?

If we start at E and want to play something Major or happy, we play the 1st, 3rd and 5th note which would be E, F#, and G#. Here the 3rd note is a whole step from the 2nd note.

If we want to play something minor or sad, we play the 1st, 3rd and 4th note which would be E, F#, and G.

This can be confusing at first but don`t worry, just try to listen and see if you can determine if the sound is sad or happy.

What guitar chords are in the key of C?

The chords in the key of C major are:

 C Major, D minor, E minor, F Major, G Major, A minor, and B diminished.

The chord formula for any Major key is:

 Major, minor, minor, Major, Major, minor, diminished.

1 (I) 2 (II) 3 (III) 4 (IV) 5 (V) 6 (VI 7 (VII)

Each one of the chords in the formula above has a set of scales belonging to them that also repeats and always are the same. The only difference is which key you start in or if you are playing in Major or minor. If you learn this chord formula and also the 7 modes or church notes, you can basically play anything you want and also solo over any song you want to! This was and still is my main goal as a guitar player. To be able to improvise and play my music to any chords or songs.

If you are new to guitar playing and not into metal don`t worry too much about the diminished chord at this stage. You should focus on learning the Major and minor chords.

Okay let`s look at the chords again:

E F F# G G# A A# B C C# D D#

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

It is the same note but we want to start with the C note so we have to rearrange the notes a bit. So to make this easy to understand you cut all the notes above that`s before the C note or number 9. Then you passed them after the D# or 12th note. Remember that the order of the notes is the same we just start at a different place which in this case is the C note.

So we get:

C C# D D# E F F# G G# A A# B

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

Can you guess which note comes after the 12th note B? Hopefully, you guessed C!

Let`s put the above C chromatic scale together with the chord structure for the Major C chords where the notes in the structure are whole notes from C to D and D to E etc.

   C            D            E              F          G            A               B

Major, minor, minor, Major, Major, minor, diminished.

1 (I) 2 (II) 3 (III) 4 (IV) 5 (V) 6 (VI 7 (VII)

Okay, so number 1 or C is a major chord. We use M for major and m for the minor. Below are the chords used in C Major. The 2nd chord is a D minor. If you for example where to start with a D instead of a C, then the 1st note or root key would be D Major in this case since we are playing a Major scale. Can you guess what the next note will be or if it is minor or Major? The correct answer is that it would be an E minor chord. Hope this helps!

Is it possible to teach yourself guitar?

Yes, you can learn to play guitar on your own. Just pick up the guitar and strum the strings and get a plectrum and try to pick the strings and make clean sounds. You can also use your fingers to pick the strings if you don`t have a plectrum. You can even use a coin to pick them.

The main thing when starting out is to actually play something even though you don`t know any notes, chords or anything about the guitar. You need to break up those stiff fingers and then learn to play some one-string melodies by using tabs or watching “how to play” videos on Youtube.

If you are going at it alone you should learn from friends and family and consider buying an online course from the guitarists you know and like. Youtube is a great resource when starting out and to find beginner lessons. Use your ears and try to make it sound good, this does take time.

If you got the determination to learn then it is very satisfying when you have been struggling for weeks or even months to learn something and then suddenly you nail it!

Keep going and remember that it is never too late to ask for help or take lessons later on if you want it. If you play for an hour a day and have fun while playing you will over time get good and learn new things.

How much time will it take to learn guitar?

You should try to practice guitar for 1 hour a day. If you play more than 1 hour this is no problem but try to play a minimum of 30 minutes a day. It is very hard to stay disciplined over time and play 1 hour a day for a long time. I dare you to try it.

Life can get in the way of practicing and your motivation will vary over time. Somedays you want to quit and other days you can`t wait to get home to pick up your guitar. Some days you might struggle to play 1 hour and others you can play for many hours straight.

Don`t overdo it because this can lead to injury (if you want to learn how to play fast) and you can get sick of playing. If there`s a part you are trying to learn but your skill level is not developed yet because you haven`t been playing for that long, you are getting frustrated and angry, then it might be a good idea to put your guitar down and rest or play something completely different.

Also if you are starting to neglect your life, friends, and family, it might be wise to limit your daily playing. Best is to stay consistent over time, about 1 hour a day, and don`t push your limits to fast. You want to keep playing guitar for life because you love it and there`s no shame in wanting to be good, just don`t overdo it although I can almost guarantee that you will over periods of time!