How to Teach Guitar Chords to Beginner Students

As a teacher, you need to remember that the problem the students are facing with chords could be a mental processing issue and likely not a coordination issue.

The problem is almost always with their brains and not really their hands.

Keep this in mind so as to ensure you allow their process towards prowess to be much faster.

First, get the students accustomed to keeping their strumming hands working in time no matter where they are with fretting. There should be no time wasted waiting for the fretting hand to get its sh*t in order. Tell them they must keep strumming. It will allow them to keep the rhythm. And it will make them progress much faster.

You can also get them to grip the strings hard then relax and repeat- while playing the chord. This will train the brain to work the fingers in unison and not one at a time. Get the student to repeat this until they can do it well.

You could also try a rapid fire chord change with the fretting hand only and quickly! This is another way to train the hand and the brain to work on time.

Another tip is get them to try and play the A chord with just one finger, and it doesn’t have to be same finger. They can use their middle finger, index finger or ring finger. But the idea is that it will aid the fret hand speed.

Another interesting tip you can give them is to keep their mind on the NEXT chord and not on the one they are already one. That can help make transitions much faster.

As you will notice, most of these tips are of a physical nature but if done over time, they affect the brain and how it makes the students play.  A lot of practice will get their brains accustomed to the new skills and it is likely that all their chord problems and chord transition challenges will slowly vanish.

The Basics of The Fretboard

In-depth learning pf the fretboard is an obvious goal for guitar players simply because it allows them to play faster.

It’ll do the same for you if you put your mind to it.

It’ll increase your mental ability of recalling notes.

Being able to find any note and really knowing the fretboard are two very different things.

If you cannot recall notes in nanosecond speed, how will you be able to keep up with high tempo songs?

But before you get down to learning the fretboard, here are a few basic things you need to know first.

Strings and tuning

The thinnest string is the 1st string and the thickest string is the 6th string. That’s how they are numbered. Tuning is given from the 6th to the 1st as in E-A-D-G-B-E. This is referred to as standard tuning.

The first seven letters of the alphabet are used to name notes.

But there are more than seven notes on a guitar so note names repeat themselves.

Fret numbering

Frets are the thin strips of metal found on the neck of the guitar. Each represents a semitone in the standard western system.

Fretting is the action of pressing down the string behind a fret.

The headstock or peghead is the part of the guitar with the pegs.

Frets are numbered from the headstock towards the body starting with 1.

Zero (0) is used to represent an open string – one played without fretting a note.

A normal 22-fret guitar contains 138 notes!

Fretboard movement

Guitar players move either up and down the fretboard or across the fretboard.

There are specific terms used to refer to the shift of fingers on the fretboard.

Fretboard note locations

Now this one’s the kicker.



A half step is the distance between two frets next to each other.

A whole step is two of those.

There are a couple of memorization techniques for the fretboard.

Find the one that suits you to be able to learn as fast as you can so that you can be playing the guitar like a pro in no time.