Intermediate Acoustic Songs

Acoustic songs with barre chords

Chords and Guitar Lessons

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Sixteen intermediate acoustic guitar songs


Acoustic Songs from the Intermediate Course

These songs don’t settle for just the basic open position chords. Instead, we move up the fretboard to play what is called barre chords.

We also include bass lines, a few melodies, pentatonic scales, some extended chords, and even some slash chords in these arrangements.

However, to learn these songs is just the beginning, take the intermediate course and you can learn from them and in doing so unlock the guitar fretboard.

Not only will the course reveal how barre chords can be used in different positions, how scales are weaved into an arrangement, you’ll also learn how to write your own guitar parts as you’ll first learn what I play, then build a 2nd guitar part to play along with me and the singer.

Below you find a link to every acoustic song available in the intermediate course.


1. Hey There Delilah

Being in the key of D and using a clever bass line, Hey There Delilah manages to take an extremely common chord progression and make it feel fresh.

Executed with a perfect balance between “heard it before” and “sounds new”, this song became a worldwide hit after being marketed over two albums.

Go to Hey There Delilah Chords.


2. Mad World

Mad World is a piano ballad in Dorian that in this arrangement has been adopted to 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 “in Dorian” where we call chord II home.

Go to Mad World Chords.


3. Whistle For The Choir

This song only has four chords, so very simple. The instrumental section simply modulates down a tone to create some variation.

We recorded Whistle For The Choir in two keys for two different singers, try both and consider how each key suits the song.

Go to Whistle For The Choir Chords.


4. Blowin’ In The Wind

Only using C, F, and G chords, Blowin’ In The Wind keeps up the interest by adding bass lines and a mystery half time bar.

This was Bob Dylan’s first hit, half a century later, he regularly plays this classic at gigs.

Go to Blowin’ In The Wind Chords.


5. Kiss Me

Kiss Me uses a static chord for the verse, changing the extension from major to maj7, to dom7, and then back to maj7 again.

The chorus uses a standard progression although we start it from a slightly unusual point.

Go to Kiss Me Chords.


6. Babylon

This song has a great maj7 chord lick as the main riff, just like another song in the intermediate course, Fast Car.

The chorus has a repetitive progression that is only varied at the end of each line. Progression tricks like this are very common in songs that become hits.

Go to Babylon Chords.


7. Fast Car

This song is played differently to how Tracy Chapman played it. Instead of finding the chords higher up the neck, I use open position chords.

Perhaps the most difficult part is to move from a fingerstyle verse to a strummed chorus.

Go to Fast Car Chords.


8. Angie

Angie’s chord progression constantly strives to go back to Am, which is chord VI. This makes the song in the key of Am.

All chords are very common, open position chords. The melody uses the minor pentatonic exclusively.

Go to Angie Chords.


9. American Pie

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 memorize the progression.

Go to American Pie Chords.


10. A Change Is Gonna Come

The intro to A Change Is Gonna Come is a guitar version of the string arrangement from 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 key of A.

Go to A Change Is Gonna Come Chords.


11. Sunny Afternoon

Sunny Afternoon’s bass line create a looped pattern for the intro/chorus tag in a minor key. When the chorus starts, the same major key is applied.

Going from minor to major like this is one of the best tricks to apply when you want to create a feeling of release in a song.

Go to Sunny Afternoon Chords.


12. Dreadlock Holiday

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 Dreadlock Holiday Chords.


13. I’m Yours

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 I’m Yours Chords.


14. Red

Red, by Daniel Merriweather, is in the key of E major and only uses 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 through all chords.

Go to Red Chords.


15. Starman

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. For example, the open position Gm chord.

Go to Starman Chords.


16. I Can’t Stand The Rain

This classic soul/blues classic mainly relies on a repetitive dom7 chord riff.

As the chorus kicks in, we find chords from outside of the key that creates a great contrast to the first, blues-influenced riff.

Go to I Can’t Stand The Rain Chords.


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