Dwayne's Guitar Lessons

In this lesson we are going to learn how to read and  play easy 1 and 2 note chords.

Lesson Goals:

Learn the proper fingering for the E5, A5 & B5 chords
Play the chords clearly and visualize the chord patterns
Play the three chord progression

The first chord we will work on is the Em chord. Look at the diagram below.

tab E5 chord



This is the easiest chord to play because it is played with one finger.  The guitar neck is facing upward and the strings are from left to right (6-1) Biggest string to the far left, smallest string to the right.  If you have a problem understanding this, view my post on how to read chord charts.  So in this diagram you place your first finger on the 5th string second fret and strum the top two strings.  This is called a open E chord. The reason for this is because when you play a string without putting a finger on it, it’s called “open”  So in this example, the 6th string (E) is not being fretted therefore, is open so the chord is called a “open E chord”

Now if you place your finger one string down on the 4th string (same fret) and strum the 5th and 4th string you will now be playing a open A chord.  Same reason as above.  The 5th string (A) is being played open and the fourth string is being fretted at the 2nd fret.  Like as in the example below.

tab A5 chord

As you can see the chord is exactly the same as above, just one string down.  Instead of playing the 6th and 5th string you are now playing the 5th and 4th string.  This is a very good way to start building your chord vocabulary because they are played with 1 finger and you just strum 2 strings.  These kinds of chords are very popular in rock music.

These types of chords are called Open Chords because one of the strings being played is open. Meaning that you do not put your finger on it as the diagrams to the left note.  Also notice the diagram shows a 0 for the string being played open.  The x means the string is not to be played.  Now lets move on to the two note chord.  The Power Chord!


After you learn how to read and play easy 1 note chords you can move on to easy 2 note chords.  Eventually you will move on to 3 and 4 note chords but that’ll be for later.  For right now lets stick with 2 note chords.  The example below shows a diagram of a two note chord.  Two fingers on 2 strings with a fret in between.

tab B5 chord

As you can see you are now playing 2 strings.  One on the 5th string 2nd fret and one on the 4th string 4th fret.  This chord is usually played with the 1st and 3rd fingers, but you can also use the 1st and 4th if it’s easier for you.  This chord is a bit harder to form than the Open Chord because it requires two fingers instead of just one, but that’s the whole point.  Your progressing from using one finger to using two.

What’s great about this chord shape is that it always stays the same.  This is called a 2 note Power Chord.  What’s a Power Chord you ask?  It is a simple 2 note chord that has a lot of power behind it when played properly.  Especially when you play with hi gain or distortion. This chord type is very popular and once you learn it you can play many, many rock songs.  So I’d recommend learning how to play these types of chords.


Like stated before, these are great chords for starting out with and many songs can be played from learning them. If you feel you are having difficulties with them, email me and I will do my best to help you further.  Remember, it takes time and effort to learn guitar and you must be patient. Take your time and don’t get frustrated.  Playing music is a lot of fun once you get it down and like anything else their is a learning curve.  Go through the learning curve and you will come out a victor.  Good luck and have fun. If you liked this post, feel free to leave a comment below.



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Copyright Dwayne Jenkins, 2011