There are many details to consider if you’ve decided to learn the guitar. Before you can even begin to learn left-hand and right-hand placement and techniques, you’ll have to learn how to hold the guitar properly, which strings sound which notes, how to label your fingers on each hand, and much more.
What Is the E Chord on Guitar?
If you’ve just started with guitar lessons, or you’re even learning guitar completely on your own, you’ve likely heard of the E major guitar chord. The E major chord is one of the first chords that most beginners learn, and this chord can be played in many different ways to suit everyone, from brand-new players to expert guitarists.
Though the E chord is made up of specific notes, different voicings of the E chord will create different qualities of sound that may suit contrasting genres or musical styles in different ways. With E chord guitar fingerings, the possibilities are truly endless!
But before we learn more about this chord and the many forms that E chord guitar grips take, we must examine the root of all E chord guitar techniques: the E note.
How to Play E Note on Guitar?
Musical notes range from A to G in a repeating sequence, which means that you can find each note included in that pattern in multiple places on any instrument.
The different ranges in which the E note is found are called octaves, and the very first E note found on the guitar is located on the instrument’s lowest open string, also known as the sixth string.
Unless you take your guitar out of standard tuning, this E is the lowest note heard on the guitar. From there, in order to go one octave up to the next highest E, you can either press down the twelfth fret of that low E string or the seventh fret of the next highest string, which is the A string.
You can find the E note an octave above that on the second fret of the D string, and the next is on the ninth fret of the G string. An even higher E note is on the fifth fret of the B string, and the highest open string on the guitar is another E. The guitar’s lowest and the highest notes in standard tuning are E notes, so E chord guitar knowledge is crucial.
If you want to play one octave higher than the open high E string, you can press down the twelfth fret on that string. Altogether, the average guitarist can access roughly 7 octaves of E notes with which to play melodies and chords.
Now that you know where to find all of the E notes you could need, let’s explore the different types of E chord guitar fingerings and how to play them on guitar.
Best Way to Create an E chord Guitar Finger Position?
When most guitar students think of an E chord, they think of an E major guitar chord. This chord is made up of three key notes: E, G#, and B. All of these notes are of equal importance, but the G# in particular is what gives the chord its major sonority. When learning how to play E on guitar, here’s one of the easiest ways to do so:
The low E, B, and high E strings can be left open since each of these notes naturally falls within the E major guitar chord. However, to get this E chord guitar fingering right, you’ll have to alter the A, D, and G strings to make them sound as B, E, and G# respectively.
You do this by putting your second finger on the second fret of the A string, your third finger on the second fret of the D string, and your first finger on the first fret of the G string. Congratulations, you’ve learned your first E chord guitar technique!
Though the E major guitar chord is a great place to start, there’s another E chord that we can’t forget about: the E minor guitar chord. It’s an equally important E chord guitar approach.
This chord has the same top and bottom notes, otherwise known as E and B. However, the note in the middle is what makes the chord sound minor as opposed to major. To create an E minor guitar chord, we have to change the G# to a G natural.
This small change actually makes the E minor guitar chord slightly easier to finger than its major counterpart. You’ll keep your second and third fingers in position and simply lift your first finger off the G string, changing the note from a G# to its open state of G natural. It’s very similar to the basic E chord guitar fingering.
Need a refresher on which finger is represented by which number for guitar playing? The first thing to keep in mind is that only the fingers on the left hand are represented by numbers (unless you play guitar left-handed, in which case it will be the opposite). The labeling is as follows:
- Your index finger is one
- Your middle finger is two
- Your ring finger is three
- Your pinky is four
Since guitar music doesn’t generally use the thumb to fret any notes, the thumb is not referred to by a number and is mainly used to anchor the hand to the guitar’s neck. For standard right-handed players, the fingers of your right hand will be identified by a completely different system for fingerpicking-style playing.
Tips that Every Beginner Guitar Player Should Know
As you’re beginning your journey with E chord guitar playing, keep in mind that there’s more to the process than simply learning notes and chords one by one.
Your technical skills will make a huge difference in how quickly you’re able to progress with the instrument. Let’s look at some tips that will help you hone your E chord guitar skills:
Don’t Grip the Neck Too Hard with Your Left Hand
As beginner guitar players are getting comfortable with the instrument, they tend to develop a bad habit of gripping the neck extremely hard with their left hand as they practice pressing down frets to play notes and chords. However, this practice can lead to achy hands and even wrist issues over time.
Instead of hooking your thumb around the guitar’s neck for stability, gently press it against the back of the neck as you focus more power on your fretting fingers. This approach will decrease tension in your hand and wrist and help you to prevent injury.
Plus, it will make it easier to fret notes with your fingertips instead of the pads of your fingers, which creates better sound. This fingering is one way to make your E chord guitar melodies really pop.
Slow and Steady Practice will Yield the Best Results
We get it: you’re excited to build up your guitar skills quickly so that you can play all of your favorite songs, impress your friends and family, and participate in jams with other musicians.
However, rushing through your practice sessions is likely to prevent you from truly focusing on mastering the material from day to day. Plus, if you’re trying to play as quickly as you can, you’re likely not using very good finger and hand technique.
The first thing to put in place for your practice sessions is a plan of action. Determine exactly what specific skill you want to have mastered by the end of your practice session and drill that skill slowly and steadily until you have it down. A high-quality guitar teacher can help you optimize your guitar playing sessions both in and out of lessons.
Additionally, it’s important to make sure that you’re building on your skills at a reasonable pace. For example, you shouldn’t be expected to master the E major scale in one practice session and then go straight to nailing a bar chord the next time you sit down with your instrument.
Take your progression slowly so that your fingers can keep up, and you won’t be sacrificing technical quality for the sake of advancement.
Use a Metronome During Practice
As you’re developing your guitar playing skills, you should be developing your musicianship skills as well. Musicianship is made up of many factors, but one of the most important aspects of musicianship is the ability to keep a steady beat while playing an instrument.
Metronomes are designed to help everyone from the brand-new beginner to the ultimate expert develop their rhythmic skills. Keep a metronome going as you practice your scales and practice switching between chords so that you can ensure your sense of rhythm is being exercised along with your fingers.
Build Up Your Guitar Practice with the E Chord
The E chord is a great place to start for beginners looking to get into guitar playing. However, in order to master the E major and minor chords and expand your knowledge to even more difficult chords, you should consider working with a guitar teacher.
With your specific goals and experience level in mind, a high-quality teacher can help you improve at an incremental pace on your schedule.
Don’t have the time or means to travel to a guitar teacher? Your teacher can come to you (virtually) with online lessons so that you can improve your skills from the comfort of your own home and master E chord guitar techniques today.
Plus, it’s easy to find a teacher with the right availability and rate to fit your schedule and budget, allowing you to get started on your journey to guitar skills now.