Acoustic Guitar Songs with Barre Chords!
These songs don’t settle for just the basic open position chords. Instead we move up the fret board to play what is called barre chords.
We also include bass lines, a few melodies, some extended chords and even a few slash chords.
Mad World for example, has a solo melody for the intro, don’t memorise it, instead think of it as what scale is used and what interval it starts on.
Following this path enables you to understand music rather than relying on muscle memory.
1234 is played in drop D tuning, this mean that you lower the 6th string from an E, to a D.
Because of the drop D tuning, we need to alter the way we fret a G chord, the root will be on fret 5, rather than 3.
Go to Video Lesson: 1234 chords
The Intro to ‘A Change Is Gonna Come’ is a guitar version of the string arrangement on the original recording.
Think of this song as if in the key of G. By applying a capo on fret 2 you’ll be in the same key as the original, A.
Go to Video Lesson: A Change Is Gonna Come chords
American Pie’s chords can be tricky to remember since the same chords seem to be repeated in lots of different ways.
By hearing each chord as a number you can follow the vocal melody and don’t actually have to memorise the progression.
You’ll learn more about this when you take the Intermediate Guitar Course.
Go to Video Lesson: American Pie chords
Angie’s chord progression constantly strive to go back to the Am chord which is chord VI.
All chords are actually very common in Ange, maybe even standard. However the order of the chords is slightly unusual.
Go to Video Lesson: Angie chords
This song has a great maj7 lick as the main riff, just like another song in this library, Fast Car.
Babylon is played using a capo on fret 1, so what you hear is in Eb, but you think in D.
Go to Video Lesson: Babylon chords
Beautiful chords could be seen as if played in either the key of Eb or Ab or both at the same time!
It’s tricky to chords in keys such as Eb and Ab when you don’t play with a capo. All chords will be barre chords.
Go to Video Lesson: Beautiful chords
Only using C, F and G chord, ‘Blowin’ In The Wind’ keep up the interest by adding bass lines and a mystery half time bar.
The bass line is notated as slash chords and played with a capo so what you hear is in the key of D.
Go to Video Lesson: Blowin’ In The Wind chords
The chords for ‘Breakfast At Tiffany’s’ are very simple, it’s the speed of the picking that is hard.
Using D, Bm and A (with some extensions) for the Verse we only change to D, A and G for the Chorus.
Go to Video Lesson: Breakfast At Tiffany’s chords
Dreadlock Holiday is played with a capo in order to sound good on just one acoustic guitar.
This all works out really well until the song modulates up a semitone. How do you move a capo and play at the same time?
Go to Video Lesson: Dreadlock Holiday chords
This song has very few chords and a very sparse arrangement.
You can learn so much from this type of arrangement when you write your own songs.
The simpler or more spacious the arrangement, the bigger it sounds.
Go to Video Lesson: Empire State Of Mind chords
This song is played differently to how Tracy played it. Instead of finding the chords higher up the neck our arrangement is playing it in the open position.
You’ll find out why and more about the original as well as the difference between the arrangements in the Intermediate Guitar Course.
Go to Video Lesson: Fast Car chords
Being in the key of D and using a clever bass line, Hey There Delilah manage to take something common and make it new enough for a contemporary hit.
Executed with a perfect balance between “heard it before” and “sounds new”, this song became a worldwide hit.
Go to Video Lesson: Hey There Delilah chords
This classic Soul/Blues song mainly rely on a repetitive riff to drive the song forward.
As the Chorus kicks in and pick chords outside of the key we get a great contrast to the first riff.
Go to Video Lesson: I Can’t Stand The Rain chords
A huge hit in 2008 from Jason Mraz, Spy Tunes actually recorded this song before it was officially released.
Using an old demo from 2005 we took this song and made it our own thinking, if Jason isn’t gonna release this then we are!
Go to Video Lesson: I’m Yours chords
Kiss Me use a static chord for the Verse, changing the extension from major to maj7, to dom7 and then back to maj7 again.
The Chorus is super standard although we start on a lightly different point of the progression, making it new enough to be a hit.
Go to Video Lesson: Kiss Me chords
Paolo Nutini’s first single ‘Last request’ is played with a capo in the video guitar lesson. We did this so the key would be right for the singer.
In order to get the same key as Paolo, simply play the same chords without a Capo.
Go to Video Lesson: Last Request chords
Mad World is a piano ballad in Dorian that in this arrangement has been adopted for just one acoustic guitar.
All chords are from the key of D major, however, D is not the home chord, Em is. This is why it’s on Dorian where home is chord II.
Go to Video Lesson: Mad World chords
‘Red’ by Daniel Merriweather is in the key of E major and only use the I, IV, V and VI chord throughout the entire song.
We get different extensions depending on what chord is used in conjunction with the open strings that keep ringing though all chords.
Go to Video Lesson: Red chords
This guitar lesson use an open tuning when playing ‘The Scientist’ by Coldplay, which originally is performed on the piano.
By allowing the top two strings (tuned to C and F) to be a part of every chord we get different extensions for the chords that are unique and bind the progression together.
Go to Video Lesson: The Scientist chords
There are some very unique chords played in ‘Starman’, the Bbadd#11 being what stands out the most.
‘Starman’ is in the key of F and there are more little odd movements than the Bbadd#11 to discover.
Go to Video Lesson: Starman chords
Sunny Afternoon use a bass line to create a looped pattern for the Intro/Chorus Tag in a minor key.
When the Chorus start in the same major key we get a great sense of happy relief.
Going from minor to major like this is one of the best tricks if you want to create tension and release in a song.
Go to Video Lesson: Sunny Afternoon chords
This song only has four chords, very simple. The solo just modulates down a tone and plays the same chords again.
We recorded Whistle For The Choir in two keys for two different singers, try both and consider how each key suit the song and what it means to the arrangement.
Go to Video Lesson: Whistle For The Choir chords
Learn from the song!
To learn these songs is just the beginning, take the full course and you can learn from them and in doing so unlock the guitar fret board.
Not only will they reveal how barre chords can be used in different positions, how scales are weaved into an arrangement but you will also learn how to write songs.
All you have to do is study these songs in great depth and know what you’re looking for. There really are great lessons to learn behind each and everyone of these songs.
Take the Intermediate Guitar Course to find out more.