How To Play The E Chord

The E chord is one of the basic open chords that all beginners should know! If you are following my Beginner Course, you already know how to play the A and D chords. The good news? The E is even easier to play! Compared to the A and the D chords, your fingers land on the strings in a more natural. You won’t have to squeeze them into one fret or do much of a stretch. 

The E chords work well with A and D on the guitar. The change between all three chords is relatively easy, and that's why we learn them in this order! Also, many songs use A, D, and E. Get ready to grow your repertoire! :)



By now, you should know how to read guitar chord boxes. Let's take a look at the E chord diagram:

Take your time to position your fingers on the strings and get comfortable with the chord shape. If you've learned how to play the A chord with me, it'll be easy! :)


How do you strum the E chord?

Some more good news? Yes! :) We play all six strings when strumming the E chord.

Here's how the E chord should sound like:



If your E chord sounds rough, it’s normal. It takes time and practice to get it right! This exercise will help you out. 

The Chord Perfect Exercise is a 4-step process to help with problems you may have when playing a chord. It’ll help you quickly correct and master any guitar chord. Let's do it together for the E chord!

Step 1: Finger Placement 

Place your fingers on the correct strings in the right frets. Use the chord box diagram to guide you if you need it. 

Step 2: Strum the Chord 

Press down on the strings and strum the chord. If it doesn’t sound great, no worries! We’ll fix it in the next step.

Step 3: Individual Strings 

Play the strings one at a time. Each note should ring out true and clear. If they don’t, we need to find the problem and fix it. Here are the most common mistakes when playing the E chord:

  1. Start by playing the open 6th string. If it sounds muted, it’s probably because your 2nd finger is touching it.

  2. Next, check the 5th string. If it’s not ringing out clear, make sure your finger is as close to the fret as possible and that you’re pressing hard enough. You’ll have to push down harder on this string because your 2nd finger is further from the fret. Also, ensure that your 3rd finger isn’t touching the 5th string and muting it. The slightest touch will stop the note from ringing out. We all struggle with this, so if you’re finding it hard to keep each finger on the string, don’t beat yourself up over it. Time and practice will fix this! 

  3. Now, let’s check the 4th string, played with the 3rd finger. Place your finger as close to the fret as you can without touching it. If the string sounds muted, it’s probably because your first finger is resting against it.

  4. Check your 1st finger on the 3rd string. Place it as close to the fret as possible. To avoid touching any of the strings immediately above and below, press down with the tips of your fingers.

  5. You play the thinnest two strings without pressing on any fret. The only one that might sound a bit wonky is the 2nd string. Check that your 1st finger is not touching it. 

Step 4: Strum Again 

Strum the chord again. Does it sound better? It should! If not, go through the steps again to check your finger position. You’ll know when you’ve got it. The chord should ring out clearly.



The E chord we’ve learned in this lesson is the standard finger position. There are alternatives, but at this stage of your guitar journey, stick with this one. It gives you the fullest sound, and it's easy to play!



The best way to practice is with My Practice Assistant. If you’re following the Beginner Course, you’ll have a practice routine for each module! :)

Guitar has a high drop-off rate - and at the beginner stage, you might think your hands are too small, too big, that you have no rhythm, etc.; I’ve heard everything! Trust me; it’s all good! With a regular practice routine, you'll learn how to play. Just stick with it and make the most of your practice time.

Module 2: The E Gunn