First 4 Chords to Learn on Guitar – Easy Beginner Guitar Chords

Are you having difficulty learning your beginner guitar chords? Well, you’ve found the right article to help you finally master the first 4 chords to learn on guitar.

As a guitar teacher with Musiprof, for 10 years, I have worked with many beginner guitar students. The chords presented in this article, are very practical because they are used in hundreds of popular songs like Knocking on Heaven’s Door, Time of Your Life (Good Riddance), Wish You Were Here, Blowing in the Wind, Wonderwall and many others.

Chord transitions are the most difficult task

Moving from one chord to another is often the most difficult task when attempting your first 4 chords to learn on guitar.

Transition from C to G chord

In my lessons, I start with Cadd9 instead of C major, because this chord provides a much easier transition when going from C to G. To make this chord transition, simply move your middle and index finger up one string.


Only the index and middle fingers should change strings. The ring finger and little finger do not move. (Are these chords still too difficult for you? You can always use a simpler version of C and G.)

Simplified version of C and G

If you are unable to play the G and Cadd9 shown above, use the simpler versions here.

Easy Beginner Guitar Chords C and G (simplified beginner versions)

Beginner Strumming Pattern

Now you need to practice this transition with a strumming pattern and pick. To start, I suggest keeping the rhythm simple by playing only down strums. after, you can move on to a more sophisticated strumming pattern. Read our blog article on guitar strumming patterns.

image displaying how to play down-strums from G to Cadd9 chords on guitar.

Learn D Major

We’re going to add the D Major chord to this sequence. The D major is very often played after the G major. You could say that D is G’s best friend because they are so often played next to each other. In music theory, this is because they are both in the same key of G major.

Display how to position your fingers to play the D chord on the guitar.

The transition from G to D

After practicing D chord independently, it’s time to practise the G to D transition. To facilitate this transition, we will keep the ring finger (or the 3rd finger) in place when we go from L to R.

image showing how to connect the ring finger when playing the chord transition from G to D.

Once again, we’re going to keep the rhythm simple with only downbeats to start.

G to D chord transition with a simple down strum guitar pattern.

Connect the 3 chords so far

Now that we have mastered our 3 chords and the transitions, we will now practice a sequence that includes all 3 chords together.

Finally, include the Em chord

The last exercise is to connect all 4 chords back to back. Again, start with a simple down strum pattern, then eventually try a more sophisticated strumming pattern.

first 4 chords to learn on guitar

In Conclusion: First 4 Chords to Learn on Guitar

Now that you’ve gone through the first 4 chords to learn on guitar, it’s time to learn a popular song that uses these same chords. If you’d like to find a guitar teacher to help you with this and more, visit our guitar teacher listing in Montreal, Toronto or Vancouver for in-person or online lessons. As a follow-up to this article, here is a listing of 12 basic chords.

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