Intermediate Acoustic Songs

Acoustic songs with barre chords

Chords, strumming and fingerstyle

Preview Intermediate Tunes

Sixteen Intermediate Acoustic Guitar Songs


Preview the 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, some extended chords and even a few 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 and eventually songs for yourself.

To find out more about each song, follow the links below.


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Including detailed, but bite-sized explanations on how the music theory of each song is applied to the neck.

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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 same key as the original, A.

When you take the intermediate course we first learn it as in the video, then create a second guitar part using barre chords.

Go to video lessons: A Change Is Gonna Come chords.


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 memorise the progression.

You’ll learn more about how to predict musical movements like this when you take the course.

Go to video lessons: American Pie chords.


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 actually very common in Angie, maybe even standard. However, the order of them is slightly unusual. Most unusually, the E7 doesn’t go to the Am, it goes to a G instead, very rock n roll…

Go to video lessons: Angie chords.


Babylon

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

Babylon is played using a capo on fret 1, so what you hear is in Eb, but you think in D.

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 video lessons: Babylon chords.


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.

The bass line is notated as slash chords and played with a capo so what you hear is in the key of D.

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

Go to video lessons: Blowin’ In The Wind chords.


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?

The guitar course discusses this further, you don’t have to have an assistant like I do in the video lesson!

Go to video lessons: Dreadlock Holiday chords.


Fast Car

This song is played differently to how Tracy Chapman played it. Instead of finding the chords higher up the neck, my arrangement is playing it using open position chords.

You’ll find out why and more about the original as well as the difference between the arrangements in the intermediate course.

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

Go to video lessons: Fast Car chords.


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 video lessons: Hey There Delilah chords.


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.

Ann Peebles had a hit with it and so seemingly has everyone else who covered it!

Go to video lessons: I Can’t Stand The Rain chords.


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!

Using the most common chord progression found in hit songs it is perhaps the unusual key of B that makes it feel slightly different.

Go to video lessons: I’m Yours chords.


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. This small change makes it feel new enough to be a hit.

Studying movements like this are what will enable you to write songs yourself.

Go to video lessons: Kiss Me chords.


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.

The intermediate course takes it all the way and explains how this is more common than you may have first thought.

Go to video lessons: Mad World chords.


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.

The original recording is a huge production, orchestrated by the genius that is Mark Ronson. Still, take all that away and we still find a great song.

Go to video lessons: Red chords.


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, I’ve managed to sneak in an open position Gm chord into this one guitar arrangement.

Go to video lessons: Starman chords.


Sunny Afternoon

Sunny Afternoon has a bass line to create a looped pattern for the intro/chorus tag in a minor key.

When the chorus starts, the same major key is applied and we get a great sense of positive relief.

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

Go to video lessons: Sunny Afternoon chords.


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 and what it means to the arrangement.

In the intermediate course, we learn from this as we play the same progression in all four keys, all over the neck!

Go to video lessons: Whistle For The Choir chords.


Sign Up Now

A monthly subscription with access to all acoustic and electric step by step lessons, each one designed to bring your guitar playing skills to the next level.

Including detailed, but bite-sized explanations on how the music theory of each song is applied to the neck.

To sign up now, go to Monthly Subscription.