How Many Guitar Chords Do I Have to Learn to Play Songs?

How Many Guitar Chords Do I Have to Learn to Play Songs?

One question that comes up occasionally is:

How many chords do I have to learn before I can play songs – the short answer it is best to learn at least four. This video demonstrates the truth of this!



There are also lots of songs that have just 3 chords or even only 2! Tomorrow Never Knows, by the Beatles has only one chord for the whole song, but admittedly it does sound more complex.

The important point here is that even as a beginner learning songs will help improve your guitar skills faster. It will help you learn the chord shapes and also improve the speed of your chord changes with thoughtful practice.

One further point – always learn the whole song – there is nothing worse than playing a song and not knowing the chorus! An example of this is the great verse riff for Tracey Chapman’s “Fast Car” – many people learn the riff but not the chorus. This is fine when palying on your own, but very disappointing when everyone is poised to go into the chorus during a singalong. After all for many songs the chorus is the bit people remember.


The exception to this is early beginners – at this stage at the beginning of your guitar journey it is fine to just learn the riffs, you can learn the rest of the song as you learn more chords and become more confident strumming.

If you have any questions then send me a message.

Guitar Lessons in Bristol, Backwell, Nailsea and Keynsham.


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