ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Entertainment and Media»
  • Performing Arts

Guitar Songs with three chords

Updated on February 6, 2012

Basic guitar chords

When you're playing guitar songs you will find that the same chords are always used in combination with each other, and these chords are not random - they are the 1, 4 and 5 chords (or the I, IV and V chords) In the key of C, these would be C, F, G7.

For each key I've listed these three important chords, and the good news is that you can play literally hundreds of songs with just these chords. If you get interested in the theory, look up the concept of harmonised scales in my other hubs. Take a song like "Silent Night" - it's in 3/4 time, and can be played in the key of C with just C, F and G7 as accompaniment. Happy Birthday can be played with the same three chords, and it's also in 3/4 time - just count 1,2,3 1,2,3 like a waltz. Most songs are in 4/4 time, so you count 1,2,3,4 for each bar.

The vast majority of country songs can be played with four chords, virtually all Hank Williams songs for example - which might use A, D, E7, B7. Here we have the three native chords in the key of A, plus B7 - which tends to be the chord added in this style of country. Many early Dylan songs only use three or four chords. The simplicity of these songs is their strength in many ways.

Here are some suggestions for simple but great songs:

Your Cheatin' Heart

Hey Good Lookin'

You Win Again

Bad Moon Risin'

Get Back

If you are new to guitar, the six vertical lines are the strings, the horizontal lines are the frets, so the guitar headstock would be on top of the grid picture. Try to select the right bottom note for each chord - for instance, D and D7 are just on strings 1-4, C is only strings 1-5, etc.

Guitar chords, sorted by key

Theory

In each example the V chord is a seventh chord. This is called a dominant seventh chord, and it leads you back to the I chord. So G7 to C, or B7 to E, or E7 to A, are all the same musical idea.

As this is one of the most , if not the most common, chord movements it's worth learning it well. It's good practice to memorize it in all the common keys.

Building on the basics

Let's look at the chords in C, in the last example. Every key has three major and three minor chords, plus one half-diminished chord. These are built on the notes of the major scale, which in this case goes

C D E F G A B C

This scale can be used to create melody lines or bass lines with these chords, any way you like.

Minor chords are on notes 2,3 and 6. In this key that gives us Dm, Em and Am.

So if you are playing a song in the key of C it will use 1,4,5 chords C F G7 and maybe 2,3,6 chords Dm Em Am. If you understand this it will really help in learning songs and working them out, and also in songwriting.

My other hub Guitar Lesson - chords theory covers minor chord applications.

The three major chords in different keys

 
 
 
I Chord
IV Chord
V Chord
C
F
G7
D
G
A7
E
A
B7
F
Bb
C7
G
C
D7
A
D
E7

Playing Blues and rock n' roll

If you use these three chords, 1,4, and 5 and convert them all to 7th chords you can play most blues and rockabilly / rock n' roll songs. The blues format is usually 12 Bars long - Chord 1 for 4 bars, chord 4 for 2 bars, chord 1 for 2 bars, then 5 chord, 4 chord,1, 5. In the key of A this would be:

A7 x4     D7 x2     A7 x2     E7     D7     A7      E7

This covers most Chuck Berry songs, though they do change the order of chords frequently from the standard 12-Bar. Partly what made them so novel and inventive, and made other people steal them! Have a listen to Sweet Little Sixteen and Surfin" USA by the Beach Boys.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)