How To Play Hundreds Of Songs With Three Easy Guitar Chords

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The idea of this post is to start you off with some info on how to play three easy guitar chords that are used very frequently in popular music. You will be able to use these chords when playing hundreds of songs. The chords are G, C and D. These chords are used to compose “three chord songs” in the key of G. Most songs in popular music are based on the concept of three chords used in a certain sequence. The technique of writing songs using the tonic, subdominant, and dominant chords of a key is still used heavily in country music and the blues.

The G chord

e———3————-|

B———0————-|

G———0————-|

D———0————-|

A———2————-|

E———3————-|

The C chord

e———0————-|

B———1————-|

G———0————-|

D———2————-|

A———3————-|

E———————–|

The D chord

e———2————-|

B———3————-|

G———2————-|

D———0————-|

A———————–|

E———————–|

Learning the chord shapes is only the beginning. You will also be wanting to learn right hand strumming or fingerpicking techniques. Once you have these your job is to practice until your chord fingering and your strumming and picking are all happening smoothly together.

As you learn the fingerings for the chords remember to keep your thumb at about the middle of the guitar neck, with the tip facing upwards. Do not let it “drag” behind the fingers at the fretboard.

The C chord is also and easy chord even though it needs three fingers.

G C D is a common chord progression in popular music. Some songs using this progression are, “You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away” and “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds” by The Beatles, “Bad Moon Rising” by Creedence Clearwater Revival, “Wild Thing” by the Troggs, “Sweet Home Alabama” by Lynyrd Skynyrd, “Amazing Grace”, “Dead or Alive” by Bon Jovi, “The Times Are A’Changin” by Bob Dylan, “Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong” by the Spin Doctors, and “You Shook Me All Night Long” by AC/DC.

These three chords are also used in blues. In the key of G, a typical twelve bar blues sequence would be:
G | G | G | G | C | C | G | G | D | C | G | D7

The D7 chord is used as a “turnaround” which is a way of flowing back into the beginning of the sequence again instead of coming to a stop on the G chord. This chord progression is called the I IV V progression because if you take G as the first note on the scale, C is the fourth and D is the fifth.


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