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Guitar basics: how to practise and improve your chord fretting

(Image credit: Future)

If you're just taking your first steps in guitar playing - acoustic or electric - you'll likely be wrangling with the joys of fretting your first chords.

This can be a painful and frustrating process, especially when notes don't ring out clearly. And that's where we come in: in this lesson, we'll show you how to nail the fingering for four staple chords.

Get your finger technique sorted and your chords will sing...

1. C

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The open C chord is a repeat offender when it comes to dead strings. Make sure to fret right on the points of your fingertips and don’t pull your fingers flat over the strings.

2. G

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Chords like G are easy for experienced players, but beginners usually find the stretch is a challenge.

The solution? Just play the four treble strings (the thinnest strings) until you get a feel for the stretches. It works with G7, too.

3. D

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Most guitarists find the open D chord easy, but hit the open fifth or sixth strings and the sweet sound of the chord will turn to mush.

Target the fourth string on downstrokes and lift your pick away from the strings on upstrokes.

4. F

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A barre is when you press down on several strings with one finger, and F is usually the first of these chords most players attempt. It’s also one of the hardest.

If barring across all six strings is too tough just barre the first and second strings.