Level 1 01- E and A chords and Song 1

In this first series of lessons I’m going to be helping you learn guitar, whether its for the first time- or the first time in a long time!

This guitar beginners course shows you chords and strumming patterns in the correct order and uses real songs as much as possible. This is lesson 1 of the course. For lesson 2, scroll to the bottom and click ‘Lesson 2′!

Now grab your guitar and get started with the video below!

The E chord

Chord boxes show us where to put our fingers for each chord. Here is the chord box for the E Chord (E major).How to read chords

If you are left handed, this diagram is written back to front. Therefore, chord diagrams can be written this way round too so they cater to left and right handed people evenly. It is the double line, the nut, which shows you where the end of the guitar is!

e chord for lefties

The A Chord

As this chord is called an A, we need the A string to be the lowest that is heard. Therefore the thickest E has an X on it and shouldn’t be played, so miss that out when you strum.

Open string names
You’ll need to know the names of the open strings.

You’ll need to know the names of the open strings. Using a mnemonic can help you remember them. For example; Elephants And Donkeys Grow Big Ears to remember E A D G B E (thickest to thinnest!)

How to practice playing a chord

Beginners often struggle to get all the strings ringing out without any buzzing or sounding dead. The best way to check your chord is good is the strum / pick / adjust / strum method. Start by giving the chord a full strum, then pick each string from thickets to thinnest (excluding any that shouldn’t be played). If any sound dead or buzz, adjust your finger placement

Top tips to make your chords sound great!

  • Strum the chord, pick each string individually and adjust, and then strum again.
  • Press down strings with the tips of your fingers only
  • Use a pick!  Picks give a clearer sound. Use a thin one (.38mm) to begin with!
  • Don’t play any strings with an X
  • Don’t touch the underside of your guitar with the palm your chord hand- this will mute the thinnest E string!

Changing Between Chords

This is the hard bit! To help, I suggest keeping your first finger down and shuffling it between the first and second frets. This is called an anchor finger as it stays in contact with the guitar and should make your changes smoother.

Please make sure these 2 chords are sounding great AND you can play some songs with them before moving on to Level 2. There is a lot more to guitar than just learning chords, so I encourage you to master the basics of rhythm, changing chords and playing real songs even just with these 2 chords- put the work into this now and it will be much easier!

Strumming on the beat

In the video above, I cover how to strum ‘On the beat’ for a bar of E and a bra of A. This is written like this. This just happens to also be the sequence for the song ‘For Whats Its Worth’ by Buffalo Springfield, which I encourage you to have a go a playing a long to!

Strumming Buffalo Springfeild

For more detail on what the beat is, how to change chords and stay in time, check out

Lesson 2 on strumming on the beat here!

 Or check out the other songs you can play with just these two chords!

To fast track this level, I recommend checking out Song 2 -Silence Is Easy by Starsailor, Song 4 – U.N.I. by Ed Sheeran and Song 5- Love Me Do by The Beatles! If you really like Rock Music, try either of the U2 songs!


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