Fast Car

Fast Car

Chords and fingerstyle arrangement

Preview Video Lessons

Fast Car chords and finger style arrangement


Tracy Chapman‘s ‘Fast Car’ was one of three massive hits from her self-titled debut album.

The other two songs, ‘Baby Can I Hold You’ and ‘Talkin’ About A Revolution‘ firmly cemented Tracy as the world’s favorite busker.

My one guitar version of ‘Fast Car’ varies slightly from how Tracy play the riff. Instead of moving up the neck, I found a way to play it using open position chords. The two video lessons demonstrate how.

Take the intermediate course and I’ll reveal how Tracy does it as well.

Chord progression

The chords in ‘Fast Car’ are simple, using only chord IV – I – VI – V on a loop over the seemingly never-ending verse.

| Cmaj7 G | Em7 D |

During the chorus, we change from playing a fingerstyle picking pattern to a strumming technique instead. The chords first remain the same, just take up a bar each, like this:

| C | G | Em | D |

| C Em | D | x2

| C D |

Apply a capo to fret 2 and you’re actually in the key of A, saying that, you want to think of it as if you’re in the key of G.

Spy Tunes Vs Tracy’s version

You might have noticed that my version look different from Tracy’s version. Tracy Chapman plays this song further up the neck. I found it easier to play the same part using open position chords.

The part can also be adapted to using an open G tuning, or alternatively, a dropped G tuning.

Find out more in the intermediate guitar course where we study ‘Fast Car’ in depth, including how Tracy plays the part.

Related Pages

Fast Car – Lyrics

Fast CarYou got a fast car, I want a ticket to anywhere
Maybe we make a deal, maybe together we can get somewhere
Any place is better, starting from zero got nothing to lose
Maybe we’ll make something but me myself I got nothing to prove
You got a fast car, I got a plan to get us out of here

For complete lyrics, go to Fast Car lyrics.

Tracy Chapman – Biography

tracy-chapman-thumbTracy Chapman is an American singer-songwriter, best known for her singles ‘Fast Car’, ‘Talking About A Revolution’ and ‘Baby Can I Hold You’ from her self-entitled titled debut album ‘Tracy Chapman’.

Amazingly, these were the three first songs on the debut. Tracy sold multi-platinum and won her three Grammy Awards.

To find out more, go to Tracy Chapman biography.


Learning how to play guitar is best done through playing and learning from songs.

The intermediate songs require you to learn barre chords and pentatonic scales. This will be revolutionary for your understanding of the guitar fretboard.

To see all lessons in the intermediate course, go to Intermediate Guitar Course


All those open position chords you learned in the beginner course now become barre chords and pentatonic scales.

You’ll map out the entire fretboard at this stage. Chord progressions become easier to see once played as barre chords and little licks will start appearing in your playing.

Preview the exercises from the course here: Intermediate Guitar Lessons


Learn how to play famous intermediate songs.

‘1234’, ‘A Change Is Gonna Come’. ‘American Pie’, ‘Angie’, ‘Babylon’, ‘Beautiful’, ‘Breakfast At Tiffany’s’, ‘Dreadlock Holiday’, ‘Empire State Of Mind’, ‘Fast Car’, ‘Hey There Delilah’, ‘I Can’t Stand The Rain’, ‘I’m Yours’, ‘Kiss Me’, ‘Last Request’, ‘Mad World’, ‘Red’, ‘The Scientist’, ‘Starman’, ‘Sunny Afternoon’, and ‘Whistle For The Choir’.

To preview each song, go to Intermediate Acoustic Songs

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