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How do I learn guitar chords?

I learned how to learn guitar chords pretty early in life. If it were not for a little lesson I used to teach my Dad (we have the same music background), we would never have had the opportunity to take guitar lessons.

Learning chords and chord progressions is very much like learning any other skill or skill. You need to learn the basics, at least. Don’t get me wrong – if you have never played guitar before, this can be difficult. But, I assure you that it’s not hard enough to keep you from getting frustrated.

When my Dad got a job at an international airline, he started learning guitar, as well. He went through the lessons I used to give him, as well as how to play guitar by watching the videos.

I love learning guitar chord progressions, so I wrote a post about how to find chord progressions you might enjoy. Also, I wrote a post on learning how to play guitar from A to D – there are a few things in that post I recommend.

The key to understanding and maintaining the guitar chord progression is the CAGED chord formula. In the above photo is a CAGED progression.

It will work like this:

CAGED Progressions, from A to D

Notice that each bar will have 3 notes; each row will start with the C-note. Note that they all have some kind of melodic overtones, but that’s OK. Each chord is a one note progression, therefore no chord overtones needed.

The next chord progression I’ll teach you is the same. Instead of learning the C-e note that starts every chord, learn how to play the D-E note. It’s still a C-e progression:

D-E Progressions, from F to D

Notice the notes that are shifted slightly.

Notice the difference is that I moved the root position of the root note (F) 2 bars further away from the previous root position.


The CAGED chord formula does not work, and it will require a lot of practice if you’re to try it. If it did work, I wouldn’t be writing this article – the point I’m trying to make is that learning chords is not hard so long as you stay away from the unnecessary chord progression moves.

My advice? Do what you want, and do that slowly, over time.

Here’s a free guitar chord chart: