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Lyle Ronglien >> Beginning Guitar III - Simple Chords >>


Beginning Guitar III - Lesson 3

Playing a Song

Lyle: Now that you have been practicing hard on the last few lessons and have been getting familiar with some of the basic chords, it's time to play a simple song with them. Most simple songs use only three chords. First, you'll be using these three:

chords for key of G

Lyle: The circled/highlighted notes are the root notes for each chord. They are also the bass notes for each chord. You should be familiar with this because most of the last lessons on chords used these root notes with the rhythm patterns.

Lyle: Now you're going to play a chord progression using these three chords. Here's your chord chart:

chord chart - key of G


Lyle: Here's how I would like you to play this progression using these three chords.

rhythm - key of G

rhythm - key of G

Lyle: As you can see in the video example, use all down strums.

Lyle: This is an old and familiar American folk song. It's a fun tune to sing and play around the camp fire. Once you feel you have a good grasp at the whole progression, try playing it along to this looping jam track:

Jam Track - key of G

Lyle: It's a little fast for some beginners, but that can give you something to work up to. You can always adjust the tempo of the TAB and looping jam track if needed.

Support: There is a 'tempo' button next to the looping audio that will let you slow it down without changing the pitch.

Lyle: Your goal is to someday be able to play it in time with me!  If you feel adventurous, you can try playing the melody:

melody - key of G

melody - key of G

Lyle: Now try playing the same song in a different key, the key of A. Here's the three chords you'll need to use:

chords for key of A

Lyle: The chord chart looks like this:

chord chart - key of A


Lyle: The rhythm pattern is the same as before, only with these thee chords. Follow the chord chart and play along to this looping jam track for the key of A:

Jam Track - key of A

Lyle: Here's a video clip of me playing this new chord progression in A:

rhythm - key of A

Lyle: E7 is a "dominant 7" chord, the fifth chord in the "1 - 4 - 5" progression. Dominant 7 chords like the E7 have a bluesy sound to them.

Lyle: Once you have the rhythm to the key of A mastered, try playing the melody!

melody - key of A

melody - key of A

Lyle: If you can play the rhythm to this song in both keys, G and A, then you are doing great! The melody can be a bit trickier to learn. I mainly want you to get the rhythm parts down first, then if you have the patients, try the melody parts.

Lyle: How about learning to play this song in another key?! Let's use the key of D. Your three chords will be:

chords for key of D

Lyle: Your new chord chart is:

chord chart - key of D


Chris: The melody is easier for me than the chords. Just can't get these fat fingers moving.

Lyle: Use the same rhythm pattern as before. Try to keep up with the changes as you play along to this looping jam track in D:

Jam Track - key of D

Lyle: Here's a video example of the rhythm part in D:

rhythm - key of D

Lyle: Once you have the rhythm part down for the key of D, you can choose to learn the melody part for super extra study bonus credits:

melody - key of D

melody - key of D

Lyle: Your goal for this lesson is to be able to play the rhythm guitar part for at least one of the keys up to tempo with me. I gave you two other keys for extra challenge, and the melodies as well.

Lyle: I'd use a cooler song to work with but there's that copyright/royalty issue. This song is so old, and...., well, nobody is claiming it to be theirs, so I can use it here. :-)

Chris: How about some of your original stuff, Teach ?

Lyle: From time to time I use my original music to study and teach from.

Lyle: Let's take a break here. You have lots to work on. if you have a favorite song you would like me to teach you, I can use this software to make the lesson for you and you can download the lesson. Email me your song request at Lyle@theguitar.net. Stay tuned and see you at the next lesson!

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