How to play an e major chord on a guitar

The E chord is one of the most basic major chords that beginners will learn to play. Also known as an E major chord, it’s a foundation chord in many rock, pop and country songs. Played in standard E tuning, this chord has a bright, upbeat sound any way you play it.

And make no mistake, there are multiple ways to play it.

The only hard-and-fast rule of playing an E chord is that you hit all six strings in your strumming pattern, regardless of whether you’re playing a simplified version of the chord, or using a more complex finger pattern.

Let’s take a look at the basic way you can play an E chord.

Playing the Standard Version of the E Major Chord

Once you’ve mastered the easy version of the E chord, it’s time to step up your game.

This is actually one of the most common ways to play the E chord. In this version, you’ll use your middle finger and ring finger to produce a thicker, meatier sounding E chord.

  • – Index finger on the 1st fret of the G (3rd) string
  • – Middle finger on the 2nd fret of the A (5th) string
  • – Ring finger on the 2nd fret of the D (4th) string

Be sure to hit all six strings as you strum downward from the low E string.

Playing this standard version of the E chord gives you a rich, more sound made up of the following notes: E, B, E, G#, B, E.

Songs That Use the E Chord

From iconic rock riffs to some of the earliest known songs, the E chord has made an appearance in a number of instantly-recognizable tunes. See a list of several hits that use the E chord below.

Rock Songs

Arguably, two of the most memorable songs in rock history feature the E chord in their composition: “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” from the Rolling Stones and “Rock and Roll All Nite” by Kiss.

Listen for the E chord on ZZ Top’s classic single, “Legs.” It also weaves itself into the psychedelic sound of Tame Impala’s “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards.”

Is acoustic rock more your jam? A jangly E chord makes its way into the mix on U2’s iconic “Desire.”

Folk Songs

A number of classic folk songs make use of the E chord, including one of the earliest known pieces of music. “Greensleeves,” an English folk ballad, dates back to before the 16th century and features the chord prominently.

A much more recent example of the chord’s usage is Fleet Foxes’ “White Winter Hymnal.”

Pop Songs

One of the most popular pop songs of all time, the Beach Boys’ “Good Vibrations” makes use of a bright, peppy E chord in its composition. Fast-forward to a more modern pop-rock sound, and “Yellow” by Coldplay also includes a basic E.

Country Songs

Whether you prefer your country with a grittier twang (like George Strait’s “All My Ex’s Live in Texas”) or the genre’s more modern pop/rock-flavored sound, you’re bound to see an E pop up in a country chord progression.

Regardless of your preference for new or classic country, strong female performers have always been a mainstay. The Patsy Cline classic “I Fall to Pieces,” “Little Red Wagon” by Miranda Lambert and the impassioned storytelling of Reba McEntire’s “Fancy” are all driven forward by the E chord.

Blues Songs

There’s always been a close kinship between rock and the blues. It’s no wonder that both genres lean on the E chord to serve as a backbone for some iconic songs within the genre.

Listen to classics like Wilson Pickett’s “In the Midnight Hour” and Otis Redding’s “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay.” Both songs straddle the line between rock and blues and both work an E chord into their chord patterns. For a more recent example of this hybrid sound, try strumming to the stomper “S.O.B.” by Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats for an exercise that includes the E chord.

Continuing the link between blues and rock, many old school blues songs were later re-popularized by rock legends, including Johnny Burnette’s “Train Kept a Rollin’” (which was covered by Aerosmith) and “Hey Joe” by Billy Roberts, a track made famous by Jimi Hendrix.

If you’re a purist who wants to stick to a more traditional blues style, try your hand at Robert Petway’s “Catfish Blues” (also covered by Hendrix, as well as legendary bluesman Muddy Waters) and Bo Diddley’s “Who Do You Love.” Both songs feature the E chord in their construction.

Learning any chord takes practice. Once you get the standard version of E down, it can open a world of songs for you. Get tips for perfecting your technique and start playing some of the songs from Fender Play here.

The chord of E is one of the most fundamental guitar chords of all. (It’s full name is “E Major” but most people just call it, “E”.) It crops up in most styles of music, but is most widely used in blues and rock music.

In its full form it looks like this:

E Major

How to play an e major chord on a guitar

(If you don’t understand the above image please read our article “How To Read Guitar Chordboxes In 60 Seconds“. It will make everything clear!)

Playing E major on the guitar isn’t super-difficult, this is a medium difficulty chord. It’s straightforward to strum correctly as you simply play all 6 strings. (No need to worry about missing out any strings out here, phew!)

However, beginner guitarists will still find it challenging to play as it requires 3 fingers and in the early days of learning guitar you simply won’t have the accuracy and finger dexterity required to play this chord shape quickly.

With that in mind, let’s look at some easy alternatives.

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Easy Ways To Play E

There’s a couple of easy ways to play an E chord. As always, it’s a trade off between simplicity and sound quality. Take your pick from the list below!

The ‘all-things-considered best option’ for beginners: The 2-finger version

For most people (15-years-old and above) the easiest way to play E is like this:

How to play an e major chord on a guitar

This is the best all round option, offering the strongest balance between playability and sound quality. This chord is E7, a version of E that sounds great and is easier to play than E major because it only requires 2 fingers. All things considered, this is the best version of E to learn if you’re struggling to play a full E.

Note that you must strum all 6 strings for this chord to sound its best.

Learn the 12 EASIEST beginner chords with our famous FREE guide

How to play an e major chord on a guitar

Stop struggling. Start making music.

Learn 12 beginner-friendly versions of every chord .

This is our most popular guide and it will improve your chord ability quickly.

The Easiest Option: The 1-finger version of E

This is a super-simple way to play E. It’s ideal for children or adults with small hands. It doesn’t sound great though, so it’s not my number 1 recommendation.

E Major (1-finger version)

How to play an e major chord on a guitar

As you can see, with this version you should only play strings 1-3. This can leave the chord sounding a little thin, but it’s still an E chord and a great alternative if you can’t manage to play a full E major chord.

The Best Easy Versions Of This Chord

How to play E Major on guitar – other options

A powerful 2-finger version of E is called “E5”. This is a Power Chord and is a great bass-heavy option that’s ideal for rock, heavy blues, punk and metal. It looks like this:

How to play an e major chord on a guitar

Important – note that with this chord you are only playing strings 4,5 and 6. It is essential that you don’t play any more strings than this, otherwise this chord will no longer be an E5. (It will turn into E minor, and have a very different sound.)

This is one of the best ways to fudge E major on guitar. It sounds similar to E major (because it’s the top half of E major!) but it’s easier to play because the finger shape is simple. (The finger shape is E minor – but we’re only playing strings 4-6, so we don’t hear the ‘minor’ part of the chord, hence, it becomes E5.)

This chord sounds incredibly badass on an electric guitars with a distorted or overdriven channel. It doesn’t sound as good on an acoustic guitar, but it still does the job and works well in blues and roots-based songs.

How to play the E chord on guitar – Some more 1-finger versions of E

These three notes are technically not chords, as they’re just individual notes. They’re very easy to play as they only require 1 finger, but of course they don’t sound very full. Even so, these 3 are good options for children, total beginners, people with learning difficulties and beginner bass players.

Three E notes (highlighted in orange)

How to play an e major chord on a guitar

So there you have it, several different ways to play the E chord on guitar. I hope you enjoyed this article!

More common E chords

How to play an e major chord on a guitar

Now let’s look at some versions of E7. (A great chord for blues and rock.)

How to play an e major chord on a guitar

Here’s a few minor and major sevenths, these will give you more depth.

How to play an e major chord on a guitar

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The thick, black, horizontal line at the top of the diagram represents the nut on the guitar. The vertical lines are the guitar strings (from left to right, EADGBe). Any x’s on the chord diagram represent strings that you are not supposed to play, and o’s represent open strings. Finally, the numbers below the E major chord diagram are the finger numbers you use to fret the chord with.

How To Play The E Major Guitar Chord

Below is a diagram of an open E major guitar chord. The E major chord is one of the most popular chords on guitar and every beginner should learn how to play this chord. To practice the E major chord, first strum all the strings together at once. Next, you will want to play the chord one string at a time to make sure that every string rings out clearly. If you notice that some notes do not ring out clearly, then you will need to adjust your hand, fingers, wrist, elbow, or possibly your sitting position until you can hear every note clearly. This is the proper way to practice this guitar chord.

How to play an e major chord on a guitar

All About the E Major Guitar Chord

The E major guitar chord is a basic chord for beginners. The E major guitar chord can be written as “E”, “Emaj”, “EM” or “E major”. The most common way to write E major however is just “E”. It is NOT written as “Em”. In music theory, “M” means major, while “m” means minor.

E Major Guitar Chord Theory

The E major chord is built from the 1st, 3rd and 5th scale degrees of the E major scale. 1, 3 and 5 from the E major scale end up being the E, G# and B notes. When you play the E major chord on guitar, you strum 6 strings, so some of those notes repeat. This is not a problem however, because when we play guitar chords, we don’t worry about the order of notes, or even if some of the notes repeat. We care mostly that we have the correct notes on guitar.

The E major guitar chord can be used as a I in the key of E major, a IV in the key of B major, or a V in the key of A major.

E Major Guitar Chord Substitution

If you struggle playing the E major guitar chord, you could substitute it with an E5 powerchord since it is easier to play than E.

How to play an e major chord on a guitar

E major is a foundation chord heard in several country, pop, blues, and rock songs. It’s also one of the primary major chords that new guitar players learn.

In this quick guide today, we show you how to play E major on guitar and simplified versions to help you get started.

How to Play E Major on Guitar

Many beginners find it challenging to learn because it requires finger agility and coordination. Fortunately, there are simplified versions, making it a breeze to play without compromising good sound.

We’ll start by diving into the deep end and explaining the most common—and trickiest way—to play the E chord. Here, you’ll use three fingers to produce a deep, thick sounding E major, which you can later play together with other chords.

How to play an e major chord on a guitar

Here’s how you do it:

  1. Place your pointer finger on the first fret on the G string (the third string)
  2. Set your second finger on the second A string fret (the fifth)
  3. Then lay your ring finger on the second fret on the D string (the fourth)
  4. Hit all six strings as you strum in a downward motion from the low E string

Learning how to play the E chord this way will give you a much better sound since you’re hitting several notes, such as E, B, G#, E, B, E.

Read next: Try some great online guitar lessons to ramp up your playing ability quick!

Simplified Ways to Play E Chord

Because the above is a medium-difficulty chord to hit, especially in an up-beat tempo, we’ve collected some alternative ways that you can hit that angelic E:

If you’re doing a simplified E major, E7 is the best way to go without compromising sound. Although it requires fewer fingers, it offers a solid balance of sound quality and playability.

How to play an e major chord on a guitar

To play this version, you need your index finger and middle finger:

  1. Lay your index finger on the first fret third string.
  2. Set your second finger on the second fret on the A (fifth) string
  3. Strum all six strings in a downward motion for the best sound

Another two-finger version of the E chord is E5. Although similar to E7, E5 is more bass-heavy and ideal for heavy blues, rock, punk, and even metal. However, it’s also the easiest to mess up. This is because it sounds like an E major due to the top half, but the sound will be off if you hit all the strings.

How to play an e major chord on a guitar

To play E5, here’s what you do:

  1. Apply your first finger to the A string fret (the fifth string) on the second fret
  2. Then with your middle finger, place it on the second D string fret (the fourth string)

Now, when playing E5, it’s crucial that you only play the fourth, fifth, and sixth string. If you play more than this, the sound will be off, and it will no longer be an E5 but an E minor chord. It can be tricky hitting the right strings, so keep practicing.

Once you get it, try it on an electric guitar with an overdriven or distorted channel. It’s also a decent sound on an acoustic guitar, but it needs some of that depth the electric gives it.

One-Finger E Chord

If you’re new to the guitar, an easier way to play the E chord is using the one-finger method. This will give you the basic sound of the E. However, it doesn’t have the same fullness and character as the other methods, so we recommend focusing on the above.

How to play an e major chord on a guitar

Still, to play E major with one finger, all you do is place your index finger on the G string—the third from the bottom. Now, unlike the method above, with this, you should only hit three strings—one to three.

As you may guess, this is where the E loses some of its sound since you aren’t hitting all the strings.

Additional One-Finger E

There are more ways to play the E note, although these aren’t technically chords but single notes. Simply place your finger on the E note—the second fret on the fourth string—and then play the top and bottom strings open.

The sound isn’t very full, but it’s a good starting point if you’re just learning how to play E major on guitar.

Give some of these variations a go and you’ll be well on your way to learning guitar quickly!

Updated: May 6, 2021

In this lesson you will learn how to play the E Major guitar chord, the 7 chords in the key of E as well as many popular songs to practice along with.

E Major is a great beginner guitar chord for 3 reasons:

  1. It requires 3 fingers but is a relatively easy shape to make
  2. It is a foundation of literally hundreds, if not thousands of popular songs
  3. You strum all 6 strings, so you don’t have to worry about stray notes or muting

How to Play the E Major Guitar Chord

How to play an e major chord on a guitar

If the above chart is foreign to you, check out our lesson on How to Read Guitar Chord Diagrams.

Be sure to strum all 6 strings when playing an E Major chord.

E Major Chord Fingering:

  • Second (Middle) finger on the second fret of the A string
  • Third (ring) finger on the second fret of the D string
  • First (Index) finger on the first fret of the G string

Popular E Major Chord Progressions

Progression

Chords

Chords in the Key of E Major

How to play an e major chord on a guitar

Popular Songs in E Major

Song

Progression

Chords

TAB

“Mean” – Taylor Swift

“Beast of Burden” – The Rolling Stones

“Sweet Caroline” – Neil Diamond

“Born In the USA” – Bruce Springsteen

What to Learn Next

posted March 16, 2021

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Placing my finger on the 2nd fret of the 5th string, finger on the 2nd fret of the 4th string and finger on the 1st fret of the 3rd string and I have an E chord. This is what tablature is all about. You’re making it very easy, for beginners to get the basics of tablature. For most people who don’t know how to read solfège, tablature is a great invention.

Hi Ann, thanks for your comment! I’m glad you found the lesson helpful and agree Tabs are a great invention for those who may not know how to read music.

Want to learn the Eb chord? You’re in the right place!

In this free guitar lesson you will learn:

  • 4 super-simple ways to play the E flat guitar chord.
  • 3 quick & easy ways to boost your guitar progress.
  • How to play the perfect barre chord.

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What’s E Flat Guitar Chord?

An E flat guitar chord is a major chord in the key of E flat.

In music, we don’t write the word ‘flat’ when we talk about flat keys.We use a shortcut and write a lowercase ‘b’ instead.

An E flat chord would become: ‘The Eb Chord’.

If the word minor, or a lower case ‘m’ isn’t after the chord, this ALWAYS means that the chord is major.

Here are a few examples of how a major chord could be written:

  • Eb Major Chord.
  • Eb Chord.
  • E Flat Guitar Chord.

To make things easy, in this lesson we’re going to refer the Eb chord as the ‘E Flat Guitar Chord’.

How do I play a E Flat Guitar Chord?

Here are two of the most popular ways to play a E flat guitar chord.

  • E Flat Guitar Chord. (E Shape Barre Chord.)
  • E Flat Guitar Chord. (A Shape Barre Chord.)

As BOTH of these chords use barring technique, you must know how to barre chords. Watch this video to learn how:

E Flat Guitar Chord (E Shape Barre Chord)

We refer to this chord as the ‘E shape barre chord’ because the heart of this chord is based on an ‘E major chord’.

If you can’t play this chord right away, don’t worry. Barre chords are difficult.

How to play an e major chord on a guitar

(If you don’t understand the above image please read our article “How To Read Guitar Chordboxes In 60 Seconds“. It will make everything clear!)

  • Find the 11th fret. Barre your first finger across all of the strings on the 11th.
  • Find the 13th fret on the A string. (5th string.) Fret this note with your 3rd finger.
  • Find the 13th fret on the D string. (4th string.) Fret this note with your 4th finger.
  • Find the 12th fret on the G string. (3rd string.) Fret this note with your 2nd finger.

E Flat Guitar Chord (A Shape Barre Chord)

We refer to this Eb chord as the ‘A shape’ because it is based on an A major chord.

How to play an e major chord on a guitar

  • Find the 6th fret. Barre your first finger on the A string (5th string) to the high E string. (1st string.)
  • Find the 8th fret on the D string. (4th string.) Fret this note with your 2nd finger.
  • Find the 8th fret on the G string. (3rd string.) Fret this note with your 3rd finger.
  • Find the 8th fret on the B string. (2nd string.) Fret this note with your 4th finger.

Barre chords are a beginners worst nightmare. However, don’t worry. There’s ALWAYS an easier way to play a chord.

We’re going to show you 4 quick and easy ways to play the E flat guitar chord.

Learn the 12 EASIEST beginner chords with our famous FREE guide

How to play an e major chord on a guitar

Stop struggling. Start making music.

Learn 12 beginner-friendly versions of every chord .

This is our most popular guide and it will improve your chord ability quickly.

1) E Flat Guitar Chord (3 Finger Version)

This is E flat guitar chord is super-simple. It’s a fantastic chord for beginners to learn, here’s why:

  • It only uses 3 fingers.
  • You can use the same shape to create multiple chords.
  • This chord is perfect for creating delicate textures.

How to play an e major chord on a guitar

  • Find the 8th fret on the G string. (3rd string.) Fret this note with your 3rd finger.
  • Find the 8th fret on the D string. (4th string.) Fret this note with your 4th finger.
  • Find the 4th fret on the high E string. (1st string.) Fret this note with your 1st finger.

This chord can be tricky as you have to skip some strings. To learn how to do this, go here: How To Skip Strings Whilst Strumming

2) E Flat Guitar Chord (D Shape)

We refer to this E flat guitar chord because it uses the EXACT same shape as as regular D chord.

How to play an e major chord on a guitar

Do you know how to play the E major scale on your musical instrument with complete accuracy and proficiency?

E major scale noteswould enable you to play heavy metal and rock songs using its signature sharps and flats. Also, it would provide energy to your songs.

In this article, we’ll discuss what E major scale is along with the easiest way to play it. Moreover, we would also discuss its chord in detail for your better understanding.

What E Major Scale Is?

How to play an e major chord on a guitar

E Major Scale is one of the main scales on musical instruments. It has a major role in various instruments, including guitar, piano, bass clef, violin, trumpet, clarinet, trombone, cello, flute, and what not!

Moreover, it depends upon the key of E, having seven pitches including E, F#, G#, A, B, C#, and D#. Its parallel key is E minor, while the relative key is C# minor.

Further, it has eight flats and four sharps. The best way to learn them is to use e major scale shape. It enables you to recognize them with their position, helping you to recall more easily. Themajor scale tabmay also help you play the octaves more straightforwardly without any hurdle.

What Chords Are in the E Scale?

How to play an e major chord on a guitar

E major scale has seven chords, each of them produces a specific quality of sound. These chords depend upon the seven notes. Moreover, the chord follows a specific outline which is as Major Minor Minor Major Major Minor Diminished.

These chords include E major, F# minor, G# minor, A major, B major, and D# diminished.

E major scale chords

E major chord is the first chord of the E major scale. Therefore, it has numerical notation as I. Moreover, it has two components E major or Emaj and E major seventh or Emaj7. These components have E- G#-B and E-G#-B-D# notes, respectively.

F sharp minor scale chords

F sharp minor scale chord is the second chord but the first minor chord of E major scale. It is also known as ii.

It is further divided into F sharp minor or F#m and F# minor seventh chord or F#m 7. The F sharp minor chord has F#- A- C# notes while F#- A- C#- E notes.

G sharp minor scale chords

G sharp minor scale chord is another minor chord of E major scale. It has the numerical representation iii with two divisions, G sharp minor (G#m) and G# minor seventh (G#m7). The G#m has G# – B – D# notes while the G#m7 has G# – B – D# – F# notes.

A major scale chords

A major scale chord is the fourth overall but second major chord of E major scale. Its numerical representation is IV, while the division is A major (Amaj) and A major seventh (Amaj 7). The notes for A Maj is A – C# – E while for Amaj7 is A – C# – E – G#.

B major scale chords

B major scale chord is the fifth chord of the E major scale, denoted by V. Its division includes B major or Bmaj and B dominant seventh B7. Their notes include B – D# – F# and B – D# – F# – A, respectively.

C sharp minor scale chord

C sharp minor scale or vi is the sixth chord of the E major scale. Its two components include C# minor or C#m and C# minor or C#m7. The C#m has C# – E – G# notes, while the C#m7 has C# – E – G# – B chords.

D diminished scale chord.

D diminished, or viio is the last chord of the E major scale. Its division includes D# diminished or D#o and D# minor seventh flat five or D#m7b5. The D#o include D# – F# – A while D#m7b5 include D# – F# – A – C#.

How Do You Play the E Major Scale?

E major scale is a bit complicated to play. However, all you need is lots of practice to be skilful in it. Further, to play it efficiently, you first need to recognize all the keys, notes, sharps of the E major scale.

Note that there are three E flat major scales, including F#, C#, G#, and D#. There’s a special trick to play them. To play them professionally, you need to play them both up and down. Moreover, the fingering technique is pretty essential to learn. For the right hand, you need to follow 1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, while for theleft hand, go with 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 3, 2, 1. Here, the numbers indicate your fingers.

Additionally, you can follow theprintablesheet musicto learn more effectively. For that, you need to know the symbols for notes, bass clef, and treble clef. Also, keep in mind that you use your right hand for the treble clef while your left hand for the bass clef.

Frequently Ask Questions

Q: What are the 7 notes of the F# major scale?

A: The seven notes for F major scale include F, G, A, Bb, C, D, and E. Its chords include F major, G minor, A minor, Bb major, C major, D minor, and E diminished.

Q: What is E major scale guitar?

A: E major scale on guitar is pretty interesting. It has the following chords E, F#, G#, A, B, C#, D#, and E. In addition, it has 4 sharps which are F#, G#, C#, and D#. To be efficient in playing E major notes on the guitar, you need to follow the scale diagrams, making it pretty easy to learn and practice.

Q: What does an E major scale look like?

A: The E major scale starts with the E and ends at the E. Also, there are two sharps at the beginning as well as the end. These four sharps are F#, C#, G#, and D#. Further, it follows the chord in a specific outline: Major Minor Minor Major Major Minor Diminished.

Conclusion

This article will help you understand what E major scale is and how to play it efficiently.

So, what are you waiting for? Dig into this guide and learn how to play E major scale on your instrument in no time.

The major chords, together with the minor chords, are normally the first chords to learn for anyone who just starting out playing the guitar. These are fundamental and most other chords are extended or altered versions of major or minor chords.

Besides the basic major chords there are other categories that also use major in the name. Among these are major seventh, major ninth and major thirteenth.

Basic major chords

  • More C chords
  • More D chords
  • More E chords
  • More F chords
  • More G chords
  • More A chords
  • More B chords

Chord training

See also the most common progression involving major chords, the I – IV – V progression presented in all keys including pdf-files.

The chord names

The basic major chords are often written with single letters. So the difference between C and C Major is, in this context, none. In some cases you may find these referred to as CM, DM, EM and so on. It is important if the "M" is uppercase or lowercase, in the latter case a minor chord is intended.

There are in total twelve different basic major chords, one for every pitch. Less common is the five presented below. Because of the standard tuning of a guitar, the root notes C#/Db, D#/Eb, F#/Gb, G#/Ab and A#/Bb are often on less convenient positions at the fretboard (none of these tones can be played on an open string), which makes them harder to play and therefore less common. The five chords presented below are often played as barre chords or with a capo (click on the links below the pictures for further guidance).

The delta (triangle) symbol

Sometimes, especially in older notations, "major" can be represented by a delta symbol. The chord name in these cases include a letter followed by a tringle (often in superscript).

C △ (C triangle) = C major

Basic major chords with sharp or flat root

C# / Db

  • More C#/Db chords