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14 Easy Four Chord Songs for Guitar Beginners With G, Em, C and D7

14 Easy Four Chord Songs for Guitar Beginners With G, Em, C and D7

Guitar may take a lifetime to master–but unlike the harpsichord and trombone, beginning guitar players can start making beautiful and awesome music RIGHT AWAY.

These chords are huge.  A guitar student who learns to pivot from G to Em to C to D7 has taken an exponential leap in guitar capabilities, because that combination of chords allows you to play all the major chords in the key of G, PLUS the relative minor.  Now, that might not make sense if you haven’t yet learned music theory, but trust me–it means you can play A LOT of songs! In fact, in this blog post, I’m giving you 14 songs that you can start playing right away with these magic chords.  And I’m even giving you links to the audio, tutorials, and music charts. These are guitar gems!

Learning these chords also helps to get you physically ready for more advanced moves.  In fact, pivoting to the C from the Em chord allows a nice, safe, baby step way to practice the C chord–which for many beginners is a big-deal chord.

Q:  Dan, what is a pivot?

A:  A “pivot” is when you leave a finger tip down on a string while changing chords.  For example, in these songs, when you change from G to Em, you can leave your 1st finger down; when you change from Em to C you can leave your 2nd finger down; when you change from C to D7 you can leave your first finger down; and even when you change from D7 back to G to start the whole series of chords over again, you can still leave your third finger down. Pivoting is a great guitar habit which makes changing chords more easy and efficient. 

By the way, there is one more shortcut worth talking about–the “third finger hover.”  Here’s how it works: prepare for your Em to C change by keeping your third finger just above the fifth string, ready to drop down on the third fret when you change to C.  I call this The Third Finger Hover, and it makes moving into a C chord SO EASY.  Do NOT let your third finger be floating in some weird random place when you play an Em chord–no, no, no, instead keep it hovering in position to change chords.

 

Here’s a quick flow chart for what to do next.

  • If you DON’T know how to pivot from G to Em to C to D7 yet: Fear not, immediately either click this link for easy online tutorials on how to play those chords or sign up for a lesson or class right away at NYC Guitar School.
  • If you DO know G, Em, C and D7:  You are golden! Grab your guitar and get ready to start strumming–remember, playing along with songs is one of the best (and most fun) ways to improve!  

Keep in mind:

  • Sometimes I transposed the song in order to avoid chords like F, Bb, Qrelative, and Zsharp minor 7th!  Let’s stick with our great beginner chords for now!
  • If that means that you need to transpose a chart, the notes on the song will tell you how many half-steps to transpose the song–sounds tricky, but it is easy, just hit the “transpose +” or the “transpose -” button on the song until you know all the chords.
  • If that means you need to use a capo, the notes on the song will tell you what fret to put the capo on.
  • And yes, sometimes the transposed chords are a little simpler than the “real” song.  Don’t worry! That just means that later you’ll get the pleasure of learning these songs even deeper and better.

 

(And don’t forget: for broken-down step-by-step guitar skills, we invite you to join our friendly guitar community at NYCGuitarSchool.com.  If you’re not in NYC you can still get the step by step goodness at guitarlessons.nyc.)

***Every once in a while links break…please let us know if you notice a broken one!  And sometimes we can’t find a good tutorial to share–let us know if you find one you like!

Perfect – Ed Sheeran

YOUTUBE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UDDMYw_IZnE

TUTORIAL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EDNkfHmhBZA

CHART: https://tabs.ultimate-guitar.com/tab/ed_sheeran/perfect_chords_1956589

G – Em – C – D (capo 1)

Pop/Soul (2017)

Easy

 

Friday – Rebecca Black

YOUTUBE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kfVsfOSbJY0

TUTORIAL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q3JX8v2Mz0Q

CHART: https://tabs.ultimate-guitar.com/tab/rebecca_black/friday_chords_1038099

Transpose Down 4

G – Em – C – D7 (capo 4)

Pop (2011)

Easy

 

Joey – Concrete Blonde

YOUTUBE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OdpTcvSn8HQ

TUTORIAL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KW5RPujkzQo

CHART: https://tabs.ultimate-guitar.com/tab/concrete_blonde/joey_chords_63783

G – Em – C – D7

Rock (1990)

Easy

 

Last Kiss – Pearl Jam

YOUTUBE: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u0B-hJ_gotc

TUTORIAL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NaxB0TY3fmQ&t=59s (part 1)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xW2w1ruuSmg (part 2)

CHART: https://tabs.ultimate-guitar.com/tab/pearl_jam/last_kiss_chords_38269

G – Em – C – D7 (capo 1)

Folk Rock (1999)

Difficult

 

Stand By Me – Ben E. King

YOUTUBE: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vbg7YoXiKn0

TUTORIAL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lu3AJetyITs

CHART: https://tabs.ultimate-guitar.com/tab/ben_e_king/stand_by_me_chords_1724608

G – Em – C – D7 (capo 2)

Soul/R&B (1960)

Medium

 

 

Macy’s Day Parade – Green Day

YOUTUBE: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4EL4njT8g98

TUTORIAL: (Oh no, we don’t have a good tutorial to share!  Let us know if you find one.)

CHART: https://tabs.ultimate-guitar.com/tab/green_day/macys_day_parade_chords_20407

G – G – Em – Em – C – D7 – G – G ;  C – C – D – D ; C – G – Em – G – C – D (capo 4)

Rock/Pop (2005)

Easy

 

Viva la Vida – Coldplay

YOUTUBE:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dvgZkm1xWPE

TUTORIAL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p51MD17X448

CHART: https://tabs.ultimate-guitar.com/tab/coldplay/viva_la_vida_chords_675427

C – D7 – G – Em (capo 1)

Pop/Rock (2008)

Difficult

 

Complicated – Avril Lavigne

YOUTUBE: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5NPBIwQyPWE

TUTORIAL:  (Oh no, we don’t have a good tutorial to share!  Let us know if you find one.)

CHART: https://www.guitartabsexplorer.com/lavigne-avril-Tabs/complicated-(Ver3)-crd.php

G – Em – C – D7 (capo 10)

Pop

Medium

 

Wagon Wheel – Darius Rucker

YOUTUBE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hvKyBcCDOB4

TUTORIAL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zx3Tv5uBAaE

CHART: https://tabs.ultimate-guitar.com/tab/darius_rucker/wagon_wheel_chords_1215756

G – E – G – D – Em – C (capo 2)

Country/Bluegrass (2013)

Difficult

 

You Belong With Me – Taylor Swift

YOUTUBE:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VuNIsY6JdUw

TUTORIAL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSaR1ROosCA

CHART: https://tabs.ultimate-guitar.com/tab/taylor_swift/you_belong_with_me_chords_752550

D – A7 – Em – G (capo 4)

Pop (2009)

Easy

 

With or Without You – U2

YOUTUBE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FFqVLhoxuVo

TUTORIAL: (Oh no, we don’t have a good tutorial to share!  Let us know if you find one.)

CHART: https://tabs.ultimate-guitar.com/tab/u2/with_or_without_you_chords_835 (chart has wrong capo)

G – D – Em – C (capo 7)

Rock (1987)

Medium

 

Dance With Me Tonight – Olly Murs

YOUTUBE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F3EG4olrFjY

TUTORIAL: *No Suitable Tutorial Exists*

CHART: https://tabs.ultimate-guitar.com/tab/olly_murs/dance_with_me_tonight_chords_1103228

G – Em – C – D7 (capo 7)

Transpose Down 5

Pop (2011)

Medium

 

Twistin the NIght Away – Sam Cooke

YOUTUBE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zTArYTvpLZA

TUTORIAL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e8CxiQP6ZXI *Tutorial Doesn’t have Capo, but used correct chords sans D7*

CHART: https://tabs.ultimate-guitar.com/tab/sam_cooke/twistin_the_night_away_chords_258829

G – Em – C – D7 (capo 2)

Transpose Down 2

R&B (1962)

Medium

 

In the Aeroplane Over the Sea – Neutral Milk Hotel

YOUTUBE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hD6_QXwKesU

TUTORIAL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZwDf5OnTqCE

CHART: https://tabs.ultimate-guitar.com/tab/neutral_milk_hotel/in_the_aeroplane_over_the_sea_chords_35827

G – Em – C – D7

Indie (1998)

Medium

(And don’t forget: for broken-down step-by-step guitar skills, we invite you to join our friendly guitar community at NYCGuitarSchool.com.  If you’re not in NYC you can still get the step by step goodness at guitarlessons.nyc.)

 

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