12 Easy, Cheat Guitar Chords for Beginners

 

While learning the guitar and trying to wrap your head around all the different guitar chords, you may feel slightly overwhelmed. To make your life easier, we put together this handy list of cheat chords.

Cheat chords are easier to play, and in many cases, sound more interesting than the original chords. In reality, you’re not actually cheating when you play these chords. Cheat chords are simply altered chords that are easier to play, and can be played in place of the original chords.

The chords below are listed under the keys where they work best. (Once you’re comfortable with playing cheat chords, you can advance to these easy and basic guitar chords).

Key of C

G Simplified

easy guitar cheat chords - G

When you see a G, you often use this fingering instead of the traditional fingering. You can play it with only two fingers and it sounds cleaner.

Make sure your finger (that’s fretting the low note) is laying down just enough to play the low G and dampen the A string.

Am7

easy guitar chords -Am7

When you see an Am chord, try to play an Am7. It has a fuller sound, and once again, you only need to use two fingers.

Here is a chord progression that uses these two chords with C.

easy guitar chords C Am7 G C progression

 



Key of G

The Am7 also works well in this key. In addition, try these two chord alterations:

G Altered Fingerings

easy guitar chords - G altered fingering

This is very similar to the traditional G fingerings, but adds a fretted D on the B string in order to make it easier to transition between chords.

The key to this fingering is how easily it leads to the next two chords because of the pivot fingers on the high G and B string, which never have to move.

C (add9)

easy guitar chords C (add9)

The C(add9) works well to replace the C chord in the key of G. It has a fuller sound and it leads beautifully to the G chord with the altered fingering.

Dsus Chord

easy guitar chords - D sus chord

The Dsus chord is a good replacement for the D chord. You need to listen to make sure it doesn’t clash with the melody, but when it works, it makes for a simple transition between the C (add9) and G, because you never have to move your pinky and ring finger.

This cheat chord can also add a lot of interest to your strumming if you move from the Dsus and D. In other words, the chord chart might only have a D written, but you could play a Dsus going to a D, to make the music sound more interesting.

Here is a chord progression that uses these new easy guitar chords.

easy guitar chords - G C(add9) D sus D G progression

Related: How to use a pick to strum a guitar and Different parts of electric and acoustic guitars.

Key of D

The G simplified also works well in the key of D.

Here are two more chords to try:

A2 Chord

easy guitar chords - A2

The A2 chord works as a very simple replacement for the A chord in the key of D. It only takes two fingers, and it has a nice open sound with a little extra color.

D2 Chord

easy guitar chords - D2

The D2 can replace any D chord. Again, it’s easy to play since it uses only two fingers.

Here’s a chord progression that uses these chords. Notice you never have to use more than two fingers on any of these easy guitar chords.

easy guitar chords - D2 G A2 D2 progression

Key of A

D2 and A2 will also work well in this key. Here’s another chord to try in the key of A.

F#m13

easy guitar chords - F#m13

This is a little easier to play than the F#m7, and you can use it to replace the F#m chord or F#m7 chord. It’s a little more muddy sounding, so you’ll have to decide if you like it or not. I think that in the middle of a song, it sounds fine and is easy to play.

Here is a chord progression that uses these chords.

easy guitar chords - A2 F#m13 D2 E

Key of E

The A2 chord works well in this key. If you add these three chords, you can play a  full chord progression using only two or three fingers. Use the same finger position for all three of these chords.

E Open Version

easy guitar chords - E open version

Notice this chord is played at the 7th fret. By playing this version of E, you’ll find that the rest of the progression flows naturally. Learn more about Open E, D, and G alternate tunings here.

You can also use the normal E, but this gets your fingers into position for the other chords. Also, it has a wonderfully big, open sound.

Bsus

easy guitar chords - Bsus or B sus

Use the three-finger position (from the E above) to play the Bsus. It’s a good replacement for the B chord, as long as it doesn’t clash too much with the melody line. Once again, it’s much easier to play since it doesn’t require a barre chord.

C#m7

easy guitar chords - C#m7 4fr

Here’s one more chord you can play with the same finger shape. Notice it’s played at the 4th fret. It’s a good replacement for the C#m chord, and like the Bsus, much easier to play.

Here is a chord progression that uses these chords.

easy guitar chords - E 7fr A2 Bsus C#m7

Bonus Chords

These last two bonus chords have a nice jazzy feel, and they’re easier to play than the normal versions. Use them to replace the F and C chords when you want a more dissonant jazz sound.

Fmaj7

easy guitar chords - Fmaj7

Cmaj7

easy guitar chords - Cmaj7

Here is a chord progression that uses these chords.

easy guitar chords - Cmaj7 Am7 Fmaj7 Cmaj7

Now you know 12 easy guitar chords. With these cheat chords and a capo, you should be able to play in any key, and in many cases, you can play with only two fingers!

Ready to go from easy to advanced chords? Try private guitar lessons or a Free 30-day trial to TakeLessons Live and learn how to master the guitar.

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