14 Easy Alternate-Strum Songs With SIMPLE Chords G, Em, C and D7 (Songs For Absolute Beginners Class 4)

14 Easy Alternate-Strum Songs With SIMPLE Chords G, Em, C and D7 (Songs For Absolute Beginners Class 4)

14 Easy Four Chord Songs for Guitar Beginners With G, Em, C and D7

Guitar may take a lifetime to master–but unlike the harpsichord and trombone, beginning guitar players can start making beautiful and awesome music RIGHT AWAY.

Of course, as a beginner, it can be hard to find songs that match your level. This blog post is written EXPRESSLY for students who know D, G, A7 and/or G, Em, C and D7, and who are getting into simple alternate strumming. I’m giving you a list of 14 songs which can be played with only those chords, and which sound great with a steady down-up-down-up strumming pattern–aka “alternate strums” or “alternate eighth notes strums.” And I’m even giving you links to the audio and music charts, and sometimes even links to video tutorials. This is guitar platinum!

If you DON’T yet know these chords or alternate strums, FEAR NOT! Immediately either click this link for FREE and easy online tutorials on how to play those chords or sign up for a lesson or class right away at NYC Guitar School.

If you DO know D, G and A7, and/or G, Em, C and D7, and are ready to get into alternate strumming then I SALUTE YOU. You, guitar player, are ON YOUR WAY! 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.

One more quick tip: it don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing! In music, rhythm rules. Keep your alternate strum going even when you are changing chords–if you are strumming during a transition, that is not only cool, it even sounds cool. But if you stop strumming to change chords, it sounds super clunky and weird. So keep that hand strumming down-up-down-up!

OK, take it away! 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 4 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!

Pumped up Kicks – Foster the People

YOUTUBE: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SDTZ7iX4vTQ

TUTORIAL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9aOYXJcG77A

CHART: https://tabs.ultimate-guitar.com/tab/foster_the_people/pumped_up_kicks_chords_1098165

Em – G – D – A7 (capo 1)

Indie Rock (2011)

Medium

Try – Pink

YOUTUBE: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yTCDVfMz15M

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/pnk/try_chords_1181779 (transpose -5) Em – C – G – D; C – G – D – Em (capo 7)

Pop (2012)

Medium

Sympathy for the Devil – Rolling Stones

YOUTUBE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jke7e8C2XfA

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/the_rolling_stones/sympathy_for_the_devil_chords_1720348

D – C – G – D ; D – A7 (capo 2)

Classic Rock (1973)

Easy

Boulevard of Broken Dreams – Green Day

YOUTUBE: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Soa3gO7tL-c

TUTORIAL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FtgI2UOG_Fc

CHART: https://tabs.ultimate-guitar.com/tab/green_day/boulevard_of_broken_dreams_chords_146744

Em G – D – A7 (capo 1)

Rock/Pop (2004)

Difficult

Say – John Mayer

YOUTUBE:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WQtGqmi2O2U

TUTORIAL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQ7qgJ0dLS0

CHART: https://tabs.ultimate-guitar.com/tab/john_mayer/say_what_you_need_to_say_chords_1181539

G – C – Em – D (capo 3)

Pop (2007)

Difficult

Diamonds – Rhianna

YOUTUBE:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lWA2pjMjpBs

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/rihanna/diamonds_chords_1185082 (transpose +5) C – Em – D (capo 7)

Pop (2012)

Easy

Perfect – Pink

YOUTUBE: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-BIye98Ryic

TUTORIAL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q_q8YgoEPBQ

CHART: https://tabs.ultimate-guitar.com/tab/pnk/fuckin_perfect_chords_1023109

G – D – Em – C (no capo)

Pop/Rock

Easy

I Gotta Feeling – Black Eyed Peas

YOUTUBE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uSD4vsh1zDA

TUTORIAL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pjPVnyWNIhs (part 1) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=krcYnjbRjsY (part 2)

CHART: https://tabs.ultimate-guitar.com/tab/the_black_eyed_peas/i_gotta_feeling_chords_832775

G – C – Em – C (no capo)

Pop

Easy

First Cut is the Deepest – Cat Stevens

YOUTUBE: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aBccr-aLu4I

TUTORIAL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M3gJgQgNxLo (part 1)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nzc_jqUwqGI (part 2)

CHART: https://tabs.ultimate-guitar.com/tab/sheryl_crow/the_first_cut_is_the_deepest_chords_97085

D – A7 – G – A7 (no capo)

Folk

Difficult

Winter Hymnal – Fleet Foxes

YOUTUBE: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DrQRS40OKNE

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/fleet_foxes/white_winter_hymnal_chords_932697 (transpose -2)

Dx4 – Gx2 – Dx2 – Dx4 – Emx4 – Gx2 – A7x2 (capo 2)

Indie Rock

Easy

I Can Tell That We Are Gonna Be Friends – White Stripes

YOUTUBE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PKfD8d3XJok

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

CHART: https://tabs.ultimate-guitar.com/tab/the_white_stripes/were_going_to_be_friends_chords_22094

G – G – C – G – D – C – G – D – C – G (no capo)

Folk/Rock (2005)

Easy

Zombie – the Cranberries

YOUTUBE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3G29A4ijuzU

TUTORIAL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8wdYqdV6WLg

CHART: https://tabs.ultimate-guitar.com/tab/the_cranberries/zombie_chords_844902

Em – C – G – D (no capo)

Rock (1994)

Medium

My Name Is Jonas – Weezer

YOUTUBE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vZj3QQOdRIo

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/weezer/my_name_is_jonas_chords_1698583 (transpose -5)
G – D – Em – C

Rock (2014)

Difficult


We Are YoungFun

YOUTUBE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sv6dMFF_yts

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/fun_/we_are_young_chords_1108578 (transpose +2)

G – Emin – C – D (capo 12)

Pop (2011)

Medium

(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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