We demonstrate an efficient eigendecomposition method for analyzing the guided modes in metal nanoparticle chains. The proposed method has the advantage of simultaneously showing the dispersion relation and the mode quality. It can also separate the material properties from the geometrical properties. Its efficiency therefore does not depend on the complexity of the material polarizability. We used the method to analyze the guided modes of a single and a pair of metal nanoparticle chains. The rigorous dynamic dipole polarizability typically gives a redshift compared with the results obtained from the broadly used quasi-static dipole polarizability with radiation correction.