Chords & Strumming: Guitar for Beginners

Chords are the basic building blocks of all songs, so once you’ve learned a handful of chords and a few simple strumming patterns, you can easily play thousands of songs! In this lesson, you’ll learn the I IV V (A, D, & E) chords in the key of A major.

What is a Chord?

A chord is a group of three or more notes played together at the same time. Some groups of notes sound happy (like major chords), and some groups of notes sound sad. Chord diagrams indicate the name and the fingerings of the chord being played. Chords are the basic building blocks of all songs, so once you’ve learned a handful of chords and a few simple strumming patterns, you can easily play thousands of songs!

How to Read Chord Diagrams for Guitar

I IV V Chord Progression in the Key of A Major

The Key of A Major

In the key of A Major, the I chord is A, the IV chord is D Major, and the V chord is E Major. 

I IV V in A Major

Rhythm is the Key to Guitar Greatness

The key to being a great guitarist is mastering the basics. For rhythm guitar, that means having a firm command of strum patterns. A strum pattern is a preset rhythmic pattern for rhythm guitarists. All downbeats (1, 2, 3, 4) get a down-stroke, while all the upbeats (the +’s) get an up-stroke.

Down-Strum & Up-Stroke

I IV V Chord Progression in A Major

Put It All Together: Easy Guitar Strum Pattern

Now, let’s combine our I IV V chord progression in the key of A Major with one easy guitar strumming pattern using a combination of down-strums with up-strokes. Don’t forget to play along with the backing track and tap your foot as you strum your guitar!

Easy Strum Pattern for Guitar


Guitar Backing Track: I IV I V in the Key of A Major

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Brian Parham is the founder of the Rock Dojo in Portland, Oregon, where he teaches hundreds of kids between the ages of 6 and 12 years-old to play, perform, and compose their own original music on the guitar in after-school group guitar lessons. He’s also the author of three guitar method books including Guitar for Kids: Rock Dojo The Complete Belt System.

 

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Chords & Strumming: Guitar for Beginners
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Chords & Strumming: Guitar for Beginners
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Chords are the basic building blocks of all songs, so once you've learned a handful of chords and a few simple strumming patterns, you can easily play thousands of songs! In this lesson, you'll learn the I IV V (A, D, & E) chords in the key of A major.
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Rock Dojo
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