How to Master the E Chord Guitar in 3 Easy Steps

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Struggling to get the E major chord right on your guitar?

Don’t worry—I’ve been there! From my experience, I know that learning unfamiliar chords can be tough, especially some of the different finger positions.

Many beginners find this essential chord challenging, but mastering it can open up a world of music to you. Whether you’re dreaming of serenading with ballads or rocking out with a band, nailing the E chord is a crucial step in your guitar journey.


  • Master the standard E major chord shape step by step
  • Explore alternative ways to play the E major chord
  • Learn easy E chord shapes, major triad, and barre chord variations

Let’s demystify the E chord guitar conundrum in 3 easy steps, ensuring you play it effortlessly, improving your overall guitar skills, and making your struggles a thing of the past!

E Chord Guitar: Step by Step

e major guitar chord

The standard E major chord shape is often the first chord guitarists learn, not only because of its fundamental role in music but also for its relatively friendly finger placement. When you play an E major chord, you’re strumming all six strings, which allows for a rich, full sound that resonates with beginners and seasoned players alike.

The root note of this chord, E, is located on the open sixth string, providing a deep, resonant base that defines the chord’s character.

The Steps

  1. Place your first finger on the first fret of the third string.
  2. Then, place your second finger on the second fret of the fifth string.
  3. Finally, place your third finger on the second fret of the fourth string.

Strum all six strings, and voilà, you’ve played an E major! This process might seem challenging at first, but with practice, coordination and muscle memory will develop, making it second nature.

Alternative Ways to Play E Major

Exploring alternative ways to play the E chord can add versatility to your playing, allowing you to adapt to different musical contexts and songs. These variations involve different fingerings and positions on the fretboard, each producing unique tones and resonances.

E Chord Shape Easy Version

e major easy version

If you’re seeking simplicity, there’s an easy version of the E chord that still retains its essential character. This simplified shape focuses on the three highest strings, making it less intimidating while still capturing the E chord’s essence.

How to Play It

  • Place your first finger on the first fret of the third string, and then strum the first three strings. That’s it!

This easy version is quicker to learn and highly versatile, fitting smoothly into various songs played on both acoustics and electrics.

Root 5 Barre Chord Shape for E Major

e major root 5 barre chord

The barre chord shape for the E chord introduces a dynamic layer of versatility and richness to your guitar playing. You can move it along the fretboard by using your index finger to press down multiple strings at a particular fret and forming the E chord shape with your other fingers.

Executing this Chord Shape

  1. Lay your first finger across the first five strings at the fourth fret.
  2. Then, place your second finger on the second string at the fifth fret.
  3. Next, place your third finger on the fourth string at the sixth fret.
  4. Finally, place your fourth finger on the fifth string at the seventh fret.

This technique allows you to play the E chord in various positions, adapting it to different songs and musical styles.

E Major Triad in Root Position

e major triad root position

The E major triad, a stripped-down version of the full E chord, focuses on the three essential notes that define the chord’s character: the root, major third, and perfect fifth (E, G#, B in this case).

How to Play It

  1. First, place your index finger on the first string of the seventh fret.
  2. Next, place your ring finger on the third string of the ninth fret.
  3. Finally, place your pinky finger on the second string at the ninth fret.

This triad offers a more concise and often more convenient option for integrating the E chord into your playing.

Final Thoughts

It’s clear that E major, even when played open, lays the groundwork for countless songs across various genres. Its versatility and full-bodied sound make it a favorite among guitarists, whether they’re strumming simple ballads or powering through rock anthems.

Understanding and mastering the E chord in various forms—from the standard open shape to alternative voicings and simplified versions—can drastically enhance your musical expression and technical skills.

Each variation offers a different color and texture, allowing you to choose the one that best suits the mood and style of the song you’re playing.

Embrace the learning process, and let the music you create with the E chord inspire your ongoing musical adventure!


What is the best chord progression for E major?

In music theory, the best chord progression for the E major chord often includes harmonically complementary chords that create a satisfying and complete sound. A classic progression is the I-IV-V, which in the key of E major would be E major (I), A major (IV), and B major (V).

This progression is the backbone of countless songs across genres, offering a sense of musical resolution and completeness.

What chords go well with E?

Certain chords naturally complement the E chord and can create dynamic and engaging progressions when strummed together. Beyond the classic I-IV-V progression, chords like C# minor (vi), A major (IV), and B major (V) blend seamlessly with E major (I), offering a rich tapestry of sound.

These chords, when strummed in succession or various combinations, can evoke a wide range of emotions and atmospheres.

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