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So I just started guitar-- as in, last week --borrowing a friend's Entrada. For practice I've been doing scales, practicing chord changing, and strumming out "Brown Eyed Girl" (sloooowly) for more chord practice.

But I was wondering what other songs that use only (or almost only) G, C, and D, just to give myself a little variation. Does anyone have any suggestions?

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Welcome to the Acoustic Newb group.

The same songs Tom refers to, and more, can be played in A, D, & E -- that's the same progression but in the key of A instead of G. (The Nashville folks call this a 1-4-5 progression, with the A being 1, the D as 4 because it's the fourth note up from A, and the E as 5 because it's the fifth note up from A.) The A, D, and E chords are a lot easier to move around in for beginners (at least they were for me) if you just want to get started playing some songs that you'll sound pretty good at (always very rewarding) while you're also continuing to practice the G, C & D, which usually takes longer to get down well (but is very important). Also, if you want to sing along, the key of A may better suit your vocal range (or it may not -- you'll have to see).

D, G, and A is another variation of the same progression, but in D. Examples that are fun to play are: "Every Day" by Buddy Holly

"Blowin' in the Wind" by Bob Dylan

"Paradise" by John Prine

Also, think of some simple songs you like and look them up on Websites like the ones I've used here, and you'll be surprised how many mainly use A, D, E, and G. You may have to go to more than one site for a particular song, however, because different sites often have them in different keys.

Pretty soon you'll be playing these chords in various different orders (progressions) that you'll experiment with, and you'll be composing your own tunes and songs! Have fun!

"Bad Moon Arisin'" by CCR uses a very simple D-A-G progression.
Actually a lot of Bob Dylan's songs are pretty simple chord progressions. The one I played ad-nauseum when I first started learning was "knockin' on heavan's door". which also involves you learning a new chord : A minor (See! I'm already pushing you to stretch your abilties !! )

If you have the "C" chord under your belt, the Am is similarly fingered


Then it's just G D C, then G D Am. G D C - G D Am - etc etc .....
Hmm.... I learned that one as G, D, Am7, and then G, D C. Raising that third finger brings you the Am7 shape, and reinforces the "A" tone on the bottom.
Mark, that's the way I learned it as well.

Which brings up a good point to Addie. When getting songs from the internet you will find variations on the chords. Walt references a version of Paradise with chording of D-G-A. Last fall Acoustic Guitar Magazine had an article about that song and gave two more chording variations. I prefer the AGM version of using a capo on the second fret with chords C-F(barred) & G7.
Here's a blog I wrote that offers some song suggestions while you are learning the chords:

Susan Palmer
Author of The Guitar Lesson Companion and Guitar Instructor at Seattle University
* Special Topic Guitar Lessons:
* Lesson Library for, "The G.L.C.":
* Jam Tracks for Guitar:
This is a very nice website with a lot of songs:

They are written out pretty well -- sometimes the chords are not placed at the correct word; but for the most part, it is a good place to start. If you find a song that has the chords you can play and you really like the song, you may want to get the original music to make sure it's written out correctly. Or, check other TAB websites (like cowboy lyrics) to get more of an idea if the song is written out correctly.

Hal Leonard has a series of books called: Easy Pop Rhythms that is also very nice and they do not cost a lot.

There are 3 volumes: Easy Pop Rhythms, More Easy Pop Rhythms, Even More Easy Pop Rhythms

Some of the songs have the original chording and some are "watered down" to make it easier to play. As a teacher, I always water down pop songs that students like so that the very beginner can have fun playing. Then as they get advanced, I add the original chording. A watered down version still sounds very good, but just not as rich and diverse.

Current pop songs are a lot more diverse sounding because they use a lot of chord substitutions. For example, Tracy Chapman's "Talking About a Revolution" has the chords: G6 Cadd9 Em D. If that song was written in the 1960's, it would most likely have been G C Em D. The interesting thing is that it's actually easier to play with the G6 and Cadd9; however, it is a bit harder for the student intellectually because the concept of substituting chords is a little harder to get when one is a beginner. A lot of Taylor Swift's songs are filled with chord subsitutions and I find this happening a lot in current country music. Country music used to be very straighforward chordally -- as Walt expertly pointed out. Now, with all the chord substituting it can throw the beginner off.

Here are a few things to keep in mind that may be of help. In general, if you see a 5, 2 or 9 chord you can play the major chord and it will sound fine. So, for example, if you see G2 or G9 or Gadd9 or G5 you can play G and you are good to go. The 5 chord can be a little more tricky because it can be either a major or minor (five chords are missing the 3rd which is the indicator of major or minor). In general, if it is a country or folk song, go with the major. If it's rock/heavy metal, it's probably a minor.

I hope this helps and that I have not managed to confuse you.

Thanks Donna, this sure helps me. I keep looking for nw songs to practice my basic chords but shy away from the songs that have the ODD chords. I gotta go back and give this a try; using the major chord. Dean


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