I’m not going to walk through each of these chords individually with you, because you should be able to figure out where to put your fingers by looking at the diagrams. Once you’ve got each chord sounding nice and clear, then you can begin working on changing between the chords. You can switch between all five of these chords in any order you please and they will sound good together. There’s a reason for that, but we won’t get into that just yet.
Now I know you might be confused by this diagram, so let's take a moment to explain it. First off, the top of the diagram corresponds to the nut on your guitar, that's the part where the strings end, farthest from your body. Left to right, the strings are 6,5,4,3,2,1. So as you look at the diagram, the string on the left is actually the 6th string on your guitar, the low E string.
You’ll need to press the strings down firmly to ensure they ring out well. One of the toughest parts for beginners is ensuring you aren’t “muting” the strings that you aren’t fretting (credit natasha at www.dresshead.com). These small touches get programmed in to your fingers after hours of time, so don’t worry too much about it. Just focus on getting the best sound out of your guitar.
Acoustic: I recommend a Yamaha solid top acoustic guitar. This guitar plays just as good as some that are many hundreds of dollars more expensive. It can be difficult to manufacture quality acoustics at low prices due to the importance of a solid top finish. When I was in college I scratched together the cash to buy a handmade acoustic guitar that was over $1,000 (I won’t mention the brand) but that guitar was nowhere near as good as this Yamaha.
Using the same claw-like finger positioning on the second fret, you can play an F# chord. Move to the third fret, and it becomes a G chord. It's a difficult finger positioning to learn, but you can start playing the chords to any rock or pop song relatively quickly when you learn to strum and play barre chords. The Ramones, for example, used nothing but barre chords to great effect.
Learning guitar is a lot easier when you have a step-by-step system to follow. Guitar Tricks lessons are interconnected and organized to get slightly harder as you progress. You watch a video lesson, play along, and then click a “Next” button to go to the next lesson. Lessons have multiple camera angles, guitar tabs, jam tracks and everything else you need to learn.