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12 simple guitar chords for beginners to go beyond the basics with

Chord
(Image credit: Narisara Nami / Getty)

Guitar lessons: You probably already know more than a few major and minor chords – these are made of three notes: the first, third and fifth notes of a scale. Sure, most guitar chords repeat and re-order certain notes. For example, an open D chord uses D (the root note), A (the 5th), another D and F# (the 3rd), but it’s still a D. 

Here we’re adding some extra notes to basic major and minor chords to create more interesting sounds. These shapes are commonplace but why not experiment by adding some new notes to chords you already know?

Minor 7th chords 

These minor 7th chords have a darker, more melancholy sound than regular minor chords. Hear Em7 in Wonderwall by Oasis and also in Disarm by Smashing Pumpkins.

chords

(Image credit: Future)

chords

(Image credit: Future)

Major 7th chords 

Major 7th chords have a floating, laid-back and more reflective sound than regular major chords. Severed Lips by Dinosaur Jr. is a great example of the trademark major 7th sound.

chords

(Image credit: Future)

Chords

(Image credit: Future)

Suspended chords 

Whereas major and minor chords target the 3rd interval, ‘sus’ chords use the 2nd or 4th, giving them an open, unresolved sound. Note Queen's classic D-Dsus4 change in the song above. 

Chords

(Image credit: Future)

chords

(Image credit: Future)

16 great guitar chords with open strings