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Author Topic: 4-chord songs for newbies  (Read 440 times)

Tom

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4-chord songs for newbies
« on: May 06, 2017, 09:07:47 PM »
I often explain to ukulele newcomers the 4-chord progression used in numerous pop songs; One of my arrangements for the ukulele band was a "rock & roll medley" using the C Am F G7 progression aka I Vi IV V progression in the key of C.

One of numerous YouTube videos is by The Axis of Awesome, illustrating how numerous songs can be played with the same 4-chord progression; One caveat - a little colorful language at the beginning and end:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Co9mW_9hH2g

While attending the recent William Florian (of the New Christy Minstrels) show, he explained that numerous songs can be played on guitar using G C & D chords, and proceeded to demonstrate with the help of his band. In musician terms, this is the I-IV-V progression in the key of G. Actually, the IV-I-V progression will be found in more songs. He added a comment that "Em will be found in there somewhere". So, the progression would be Em-C-G-D, or vi-IV-I-V or some such in the key of G.

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Tom

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Re: 4-chord songs for newbies
« Reply #1 on: May 07, 2017, 08:47:24 PM »
I initially posted, then removed this message, because it's too elementary for experienced musicians. On reflection, I figured I'd re-post it for the benefit of newbies to playing music.
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SeilerBird

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Re: 4-chord songs for newbies
« Reply #2 on: May 07, 2017, 08:52:45 PM »
Good info Tom. That should be the first thing any string player learns is a C-Am-F-G7 chord shapes. It is used in a million songs. I have taught many beginning uke players and I always start them there.
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Tom

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Re: 4-chord songs for newbies
« Reply #3 on: May 07, 2017, 08:57:13 PM »
Aye Tom, thanks. Chords in the key of C is the first thing our beginners uke classes teach. Next are a few other keys, and they need to be able to switch on the beat to graduate. Simple requirements, and further learning occurs in the main band.
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SeilerBird

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Re: 4-chord songs for newbies
« Reply #4 on: May 07, 2017, 09:08:19 PM »
The usual beginner I teach is positive they can never learn how to play an instrument. I tell them to put a finger on the third fret of the high string and strum. Magically they are playing a chord. Then I have them switch to the second fret on the low string and strum. Suddenly they are playing and at that point they usually realize it is possible for them to play. Then I add the F and G7 and they can usually go to town. I love it when it dawns on them that it is not impossible to play an instrument. A big ah-ha moment. ;D
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Tom

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Re: 4-chord songs for newbies
« Reply #5 on: May 08, 2017, 01:17:32 AM »
Aye, that's usually the reaction, and it happened to me just 6 years ago when I asked my long-time friend (now our MD) for help. I'd played keyboard, but had never previously played a stringed instrument. Four weeks after buying my first ukulele, I was ready to give up, then my buddy rang my doorbell with a uke in his hand and a smile on his face.
« Last Edit: May 08, 2017, 01:23:37 AM by Tom »
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SeilerBird

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Re: 4-chord songs for newbies
« Reply #6 on: May 08, 2017, 05:20:56 AM »
I met a girl online who claimed she was too uncoordinated to ever play a uke. I told her that within the first minute I would have her playing a Beatles song. She thought I was nuts. When we got together I told her I lied. She would be playing a Beatles song in thirty seconds. I showed her the C chord and played Tomorrow Never Knows on my phone. It only uses a C chord in the entire song. She was shocked.
I would like to apologize to anyone I have not yet offended. Please be patient and I will get to you shortly.
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SkateBoard

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Re: 4-chord songs for newbies
« Reply #7 on: May 08, 2017, 05:54:20 AM »
When I was young and taking guitar lessons I always cringed when he brought out sheet music for a new Beatles song. I swear, every song the Beatles did were cords not normally used. Forget G, C and F

SeilerBird

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Re: 4-chord songs for newbies
« Reply #8 on: May 08, 2017, 06:50:26 AM »
The average person learning to play guitar takes about a week to get the C-Am-F-G7 chords to the point where they can be played comfortably and sound good. On a uke it takes about five minutes, hence the massive popularity of ukuleles today.
I would like to apologize to anyone I have not yet offended. Please be patient and I will get to you shortly.
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Tom

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Re: 4-chord songs for newbies
« Reply #9 on: May 08, 2017, 11:00:29 AM »
Board and magnetic buttons used in our beginners class. Folks find it easier to see/visualize than looking at someone's fingers on a fretboard.
« Last Edit: May 08, 2017, 12:48:58 PM by Tom »
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Larry N.

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Re: 4-chord songs for newbies
« Reply #10 on: May 08, 2017, 12:34:59 PM »
Ahhh, a Tom-Tom thread...   ::) :o ;D ;D
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Tom

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Re: 4-chord songs for newbies
« Reply #11 on: May 08, 2017, 12:49:28 PM »
The jungle drums are calling  ;D
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SeilerBird

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Re: 4-chord songs for newbies
« Reply #12 on: May 08, 2017, 12:49:48 PM »
Ahhh, a Tom-Tom thread...   ::) :o ;D ;D
Yep, it beats me. ???
I would like to apologize to anyone I have not yet offended. Please be patient and I will get to you shortly.
My new Pixel camera:
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My portfolio:
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My Grand Canyon shots:
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