We show you 5 easy songs on guitar, using only 3 different chords - these are 5 beginner guitar songs that you can learn quickly
We've teamed up with Leigh over at MGR Music to show you 5 easy songs on guitar using only 3 chords. These are 5 beginner guitar songs and easy songs to play on guitar that will help you hone your skills and bust out a few riffs at parties should you need to!
One of the best things about learning guitar is being able to strum along to some great songs. Whenever anyone finds out that you play guitar, or that you’re learning guitar, they will always ask you the dreaded question: "So, what can you play?"...
Most new players immediate reaction to this is to freeze and forget everything they know! In this lesson, we are going to look at 5 well-known songs that each contain 3 simple chords. That way, you will never be short of great material to play when that dreaded question appears.
5 Easy Chords To Play On Guitar
Across the 5 songs in this lesson, we will be using 6 different chords. Most of these you probably already know by this point and you’re probably comfortable with playing them.
We recommend watching the accompanying video first and following along:
G Major Chord
In the video, I mention that it’s possible to play a G Major with just 3 fingers like the next image. Both shapes are correct, choose whichever one you are most comfortable with. I prefer the four-finger G chord myself, but if the three-finger version feels better for you, go with that.
How To Play Chasing Cars - Snow Patrol
This track is a nice simple strum along that uses the A, E and D major chords. The rhythm for this track is straight eighth notes and uses strict alternate strumming.
“1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &”
This chord pattern can be used throughout the songs and while there are other guitar parts going on through the various sections of the studio version, they all conform to this progression underneath.
How To Play Wild Thing - The Troggs
This rock classic from the Troggs uses the A, D and E major chords once more but the rhythm has more space throughout.
In this track, we use some dotted notes. While dotted notes can be tricky to count initially, just think of them as the note length in question plus half its length. A dotted quarter note (As seen on the second beat of each bar) is a quarter note with an additional eighth note in length on the top of it.
In both bars you will be playing on the 1 and 2, the 2 being a dotted quarter note. The D is played on the “&” of the third beat and the fourth beat.
“ 1 2 3 & 4 / 1 2 3 & 4”
How To Play Back in Black - AC/DC
This AC/DC track is a guaranteed room pleaser. Three simple chords and a whole lotta rock!
This riff is simple to play. Start with a strong downbeat on the first beat with the E chord which is sustained for a beat and a half. At this point, we bring some sixteenth notes into play as we play “& a 3” with the D chord. This is held from the third beat for a beat and a half before playing “& a 1” with the A chord.
On the studio version, there are some lead licks but those have been left out now to focus on the chords.
“1 2 & a 3 4 & a / 1 2 3 4”
How To Play Bad Moon Rising - Creedence Clearwater Revival
This swampy bluesy rocker from the 1960s is a great fun song to play with some speedy changes to get the fingers moving. For the most part, the rhythm is fairly straight.
The first bar is all the D chord, and it’s played with a strum on the first and second beat. The second beat hit is a dotted quarter note. There are further strums on the “&” of the third beat as well as on the fourth beat.
The second bar is just straight quarter notes. The back half of this four-bar loop repeats the same two-bar rhythm but only on the D chord.
“1 2 3 & 4 / 1 2 3 4”
How To Play What's Up? - 4 Non Blondes
There aren’t many places that you’ll be able to play this song without the room bursting into song. This is always a fan favourite whatever the situation.
To play this at the same pitch as the recorded version you will need to use a capo on the 2nd fret.
This uses a combination of eighth and sixteenth notes. The first two bars are eighth notes with a pair of sixteenths. The third and fourth beats are straight sixteenths except for the beat that overlaps from the final sixteenth of the third beat into the second sixteenth of the fourth.
Spend some time counting this one nice and slowly to make sure you’re lining up those held notes in the right places. This can take a little getting used to. Play this one with down strums on the beat and the “&” notes and up strums on any “e” and “a” sixteenth notes.
“1 e & a 2 e & a 3 e & a 4 e & a”
About the Author
Leigh Fuge is a professional guitar player and tutor from Swansea in South Wales and a guitar writer having written and produced content for Guitar Magazine and many other high profile guitar publications and websites.
Professional guidance can make all the difference to your development. Head over to mgrmusic.com and find a great teacher in your local area today. We have a great network of teachers around your local PMT stores including the ones in Newcastle, Birmingham and Norwich.