Chords and strumming

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Red chords and strumming


‘Red’ is a single by Daniel Merriweather, produced by the hugely successful Mark Ronson.

This song is in the key of E major and only uses the I, IV, V and VI chords throughout the entire song.

To spice things up and compensate for the lack of huge production, open strings have been incorporated into the one guitar arrangement. These open strings create some unique extensions to the chords.

Chord progression

The intro/instrumental section is harmonically super simple.

| E | Eadd9 |

The verse only adds one chord, spiced up with a couple of extensions it looks like this.

| Asus2 | Asus2 | E Eadd9 | E | x2

The bridge introduces some new chords, taking the song to chord VI for the first time, like this.

| C#m | Bsus4 | Asus2 | Asus2 | x2

The chorus is very similar to the verse, just swapped around with a VI chord snuck in.

| E | E | C#m | A | x2
| E Eadd9 | E Eadd9 |

Extend chords using open strings

There are another couple of chord progressions in the song before the m8 and during the outro that hasn’t been listed above, too many little details to get into here.

What’s really unique about this one guitar arrangement is how some of the chords in ‘Red’ have been extended.

Using the same open strings throughout, we get different extensions depending on which chord is used.

For example, the C#m with an open B and E string produces a C#m7 but over an A chord, you get an add9 extension.

You’ll get to the bottom of this concept when you take the intermediate guitar course which is great as it can be applied to other songs too.

Related Pages

Red – Daniel Merriweather

RedAnd I’m alright
Standing in the streetlights here
Is this meant for me
My time on the outside is over
And we don’t know how you’re spending all of your days

For complete lyrics, go to Red lyrics.

Daniel Merriweather

daniel-merriweather-thumbAustralian Daniel Merriweather first started working with Mark Ronson in ’03, appearing on his ‘Here Comes The Fuzz’.

After a few more collaborations with Ronson, they finally made a solo album for Merriweather that was released in ’09.

To find out more, go to Daniel Merriweather 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

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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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