13 Easy Basic-Strum Songs With G, C and D (Songs For Absolute Beginners Class 6)

13 Easy Basic-Strum Songs With G, C and D (Songs For Absolute Beginners Class 6)

13 Easy Basic-Strum Songs With G, C and D

Have you started to mix down strums with up strums? Awesome! That probably means that you have learned the “basic-strum,” also descriptively referred to as the “down, down-up” strum or the “boom chuck-a” strum. And it means you will benefit from playing your basic strum with real songs!

But as a beginner, it can be tricky to find songs that match your level. That’s why I wrote this blog EXPRESSLY and EXACTLY for students who have just learned the basic strum and want to practice it with easy chord changes. These songs all sound great with a basic strum, and can all be played with G, C and D (with occasional guest starring roles from Am and Em). And I’m even giving you links to the audio and music charts, and sometimes even links to video tutorials. This is guitar ambergris–it’s that valuable!

The basic strum is one of the most common strum patterns in guitar! In a song in a 4/4 time signature, you just play down on the “one”, down-up on the “two-and”, and then you do it again for the “three” and the “four-and”. Not only does it sound terrific, but it is the foundation for learning all sorts of other, even trickier, combination strums.

If you DON’T yet know the basic strum, FEAR NOT! Immediately either click this link for easy online tutorials on beginning guitar or sign up for a lesson or class right away at NYC Guitar School.

And if you DO know the basic strum, then grab your guitar and get ready to start playing along!

Keep in mind:

  • Sometimes I transposed the song in order to avoid chords like F, Bb, Qrelative, and Zsharp minor 7th! Let’s stick with our great beginner chords for now!
  • If that means that you need to transpose a chart, the notes on the song will tell you how many half-steps to transpose the song–sounds tricky, but it is easy, just hit the “transpose +” or the “transpose -” button on the song until you know all the chords.
  • If that means you need to use a capo, the notes on the song will tell you what fret to put the capo on.
  • And yes, sometimes the transposed chords or the basic strum are a little simpler than the “real” song. Don’t worry! You can always go back and learn the “real” chords later. Check out a baby…crawl…walk…run…get bitten by a radioactive spider. I promise, the best way to do something super cool later is to get started with something pretty cool now!!!!

Here’s the list of songs, along with where to place your capo (if applicable) plus links to the song, tutorials and charts. For super convenient playing along, grab your guitar, then check out our YouTube Beginners 6 playlist or our Spotify playlist. How convenient is that?

(Do you want to play more guitar or better guitar? Or both? We invite you to join our friendly guitar community at NYCGuitarSchool.com. If you’re not in NYC you can still get the step by step goodness at guitarlessons.nyc.)

***Every once in a while links break…please let us know if you notice a broken one!

I’m Yours – Jason Mraz

YOUTUBE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EkHTsc9PU2A

TUTORIAL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ugeJWAMz6w

CHART: https://tabs.ultimate-guitar.com/tab/jason_mraz/im_yours_chords_373896

G – D – Em – C (capo 4)

Acoustic Pop (2008)


Somebody that I Used to Know – Gotye

YOUTUBE: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8UVNT4wvIGY

TUTORIAL: (Oh no, we don’t have a good tutorial to share! Let us know if you find one.)

CHART: https://tabs.ultimate-guitar.com/tab/gotye/somebody_that_i_used_to_know_chords_1094597

Transpose Down 5

Em – D ; Em – D – C (tune song up 1 step)

Pop/Indie (2011)


Take Me Home, Country Roads – John Denver


TUTORIAL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PR_k8knLero

CHART: https://tabs.ultimate-guitar.com/tab/john_denver/take_me_home_country_roads_chords_57606

G – Em – D – C – G (capo 2)

Folk (1971)


Anyone Else But You – Moldy Peaches

YOUTUBE: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-N3BjVMWziE

TUTORIAL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-N3BjVMWziE

CHART: https://tabs.ultimate-guitar.com/tab/the_moldy_peaches/anyone_else_but_you_chords_630353

G – C (no capo)

Indie (2001)


Ho Hey – Lumineers

YOUTUBE: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zvCBSSwgtg4

TUTORIAL: *No Tutorial in Our Key BUT we have an NYC Guitar School in the Original Key*


CHART: https://tabs.ultimate-guitar.com/tab/the_lumineers/ho_hey_chords_1047662

Transpose Down 5

G – C; Em – D – G (capo 5)

Pop (2012)


Thinkin Bout You – Frank Ocean

YOUTUBE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eLWJSFJ7D1Y

TUTORIAL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zbpwsWkoDVE *The chords and fingerings don’t exactly match, but you can still play along with it.

CHART: https://tabs.ultimate-guitar.com/tab/frank_ocean/thinking_about_you_chords_1115436

C – G – D – Em (capo 5)

R&B (2011)


Ripple – The Grateful Dead


TUTORIAL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4chk7EuNyOY

CHART: https://tabs.ultimate-guitar.com/tab/grateful_dead/ripple_chords_462863

G – C ; G – D – C – G ; Am – D – G – C – A7 – D (no capo)

Classic Rock (1970)


Wish You Were Here – Pink Floyd

YOUTUBE: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DPL_SV3n7IU

TUTORIAL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IzxMeQgtyYE

CHART: https://tabs.ultimate-guitar.com/tab/pink_floyd/wish_you_were_here_chords_1088963

G – C – D – Am (no capo)

Classic Rock (1975)


Leaving On A Jet Plane – Peter, Paul, & Mary

YOUTUBE: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qc-7SnMnX78

TUTORIAL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1KK9pUsqn_Q *Not The same key, but correct chords*

CHART: https://tabs.ultimate-guitar.com/tab/peter_paul_and_mary/leaving_on_a_jet_plane_chords_1048668

G – C – D (capo 2)

Folk (1969)


Bad Moon Rising – Creedence Clearwater Revival

YOUTUBE: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5BmEGm-mraE

TUTORIAL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IfQIqnEfyqU **These tutorial is in the original key (D A7 G)

CHART: https://tabs.ultimate-guitar.com/tab/creedence_clearwater_revival/bad_moon_rising_chords_15892

Transpose Up 5

G – D – C (capo 7)

Classic Rock (1969)


Skinny Love – Bon Iver

YOUTUBE: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ssdgFoHLwnk

TUTORIAL: (Oh no, we don’t have a good tutorial to share! Let us know if you find one.)

CHART: https://tabs.ultimate-guitar.com/tab/bon_iver/skinny_love_chords_1050843 *Hard to find a good chart, but this one kinda mirrors a version I saw one of our Absolute Beginners Classes doing on Youtube*

Em – C – G (capo 4)

Indie Folk (2008)


Someone Like You – Adele

YOUTUBE: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hLQl3WQQoQ0

TUTORIAL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ts2W_Q1Q9o0

CHART: https://tabs.ultimate-guitar.com/tab/adele/someone_like_you_chords_1006751

G – D – Em – C (capo 2)

Pop (2011)


Turn the Page – Bob Seger

YOUTUBE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GONmFCkCGCc

TUTORIAL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TJKAJMN0fYo

CHART: https://tabs.ultimate-guitar.com/tab/bob_seger_and_the_silver_bullet_band/turn_the_page_chords_1787164

Em – D – A7 – Em

Classic Rock (1976)


(And don’t forget–if you want to play more and better guitar, we invite you to join our friendly guitar community at NYCGuitarSchool.com. If you’re not in NYC, you can still get the step-by-step goodness at guitarlessons.nyc.)

New York City Guitar School is dedicated to fostering personal greatness through guitar lessons.

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