Acoustic Guitar Songs
Easy acoustic guitar songs
Here are the chords for three easy guitar songs - first some info on reading the chord charts:
- The chord pictures show the strings as vertical lines, the frets are the horizontal lines. The headstock of the guitar would be directly above the chord picture. A cross above a string means you shouldn't play it.
- The chord chart shows bar lines. Every bar is counted with four beats, 4/4 time. The strumming pattern can be varied, for instance 4 down strums,1,2,3,4 or 1,2,3 and 4 where the and is a quick upstroke. Mainly, it's best to pick up strumming patterns from watching other guitar players on YouTube.
- If you are encountering any difficulty with the chord shapes and getting some buzzes, try using a capo in fret 3. It will brighten up the sound of the guitar, and make any chordal stretches less difficult. A capo is probably the most useful guitar accessory apart from a digital tuner.
Three easy guitar songs, chord chart
The first song is in the key of C, and uses a very common pattern where the bass note of the chord descends from C to Am, using the C/B chord as a connecting chord. This device is used in literally hundreds of songs from Bob Marley to The Beatles and Simon and Garfunkel. So once you learn it, you can get a lot of mileage out of it - usually my guiding principle when learning new material.
It's essential to learn the note names for strings 6 and 5, the two thickest strings. This is because you want the bass note of each chord to be the same as the chord name for best results. In this case, notes on the 5th string are
- A = open string
- B = fret 2
- C = fret 3
Song 2 also features some very common chords. If you play them in a different order they can be used in dozens of songs, and they sound really good on acoustic guitar. The ./. marking is ditto, you repeat the same chord for the next bar.
- Alternative versions for these chords are shown. You should try them out, as they have a really full and ringing sound and can be used instead of the more basic G and C add 9 chords.
- When you're playing a D chord, string 4 (open D) should be the lowest note in the chord.
- Try using a fairly light pick for strumming. I like Jim Dunlop nylon picks, either 73mm or 88mm. The embossed sufrace means that you are not dropping them all the time.
Song 3 is a typical Dylan chord song, in the key of G. The key of G has three major chords - G, C and D or D7. The minor chords are Am, Em, Bm. This is part of the harmonised scale of G, a set of chords you will always find used together in a song in this key. This music theory is covered in many of my other hubs.
The F chord can be a problem for beginners. Try the shape shown, and use your thumb to play a low F (fret 1 on string 6, the thickest string). This will make the chord sound much better - string 1 can be left open or not played. If you have string 1 open it's really an F maj7 chord, but that usually sounds nice in the key of C anyway.
It's been common to consider the capo as some kind of cheatin' device for guitar. That's not really the case, as it's very useful for changing key for different vocalists. It is also something used by many of the greats, for example:
- The Beatles
- The Eagles
- James Taylor
- Paul Simon
- I can play in any key, but still prefer the capo for some songs, especially when there are connecting basslines.