How to Simplify Difficult Guitar Chords

How Beginners Can Play Any Chord

When I was first learning how to play the guitar, I was met with many challenging chords. At least at the time I thought they were. I was about 12 and had just started my guitar journey. I didn’t want to let a tough chord stand in my way, but I still wanted to play the song, so what did I do? I simplified the chord.

Examples of Tough Chords

Take for example a Barre Chord or a Jazz Chord. Barre Chords can be tough because you need to have a strong index finger and you need to know exactly how to place it to make the Barre work. It takes a bit of time to build that skill. A Jazz Chord may involve all four of you fingers in a seemingly random order, making it tough to play the chord especially as a beginner.

The Solution

The solution is nothing crazy or extreme. It’s the opposite. All you need to do is simplify the chord. You take an honest look at where you are as a beginner and you use the skills and strengths you have to be creative and simplify the chord.

In the lesson I have posted below “mars” by YUNGBLOOD, I play the 1st and 3rd chord in the progression, Bb and F, as Power Chords (3 note chords) instead of opting for the Barre Chords as many advanced guitarists may do. Now it may not always make sense to opt for a Power Chord to replace a Barre chord but at least it gives you an idea on how to simplify. Just take any chord you are having a hard time with and pick a few select notes that you can manage and play those, even if it’s only 2 notes of the chord, or even 1 single note of the chord. This way you can maintain your pace at learning a song and not become hung up on one particular chord or section. The goal obviously is that someday you’ll be able to add in the missing notes to the chord, but don’t worry about that for now. Take the lesson below and keep on rockin’! Check out my YouTube Channel for more lessons!

My affordable capo recommendation

My go-to strings

My guitar but a little nicer than my guitar