ACOUSTIC BEGINNERS
Before tackling this course, you should be comfortable with all the material from Essentials Part 2

Welcome to Beginners Acoustic Guitar Lessons Part 3! In this course, we'll be learning three more open chords, including the notoriously tricky F major! We'll then explore the difference between swung and straight rhythm patterns and finally tackle a new song with a hint of Van Morrison about it! As always, take your time and enjoy the process of learning.

Summary: New Chords

It's time to take another step up in difficulty by learning the last open chords we'll need for now. The new minor chords should be easy to pick up, but F major can be very tricky. We have provided you two versions of the chord just in case you find the barred version a bit tough for now.

Exercise: Changing chords

As always we will begin to practice by changing between these new chords to a beat. The chord chart is as shown below, and you should try to apply the "universal strumming pattern" to the changes as soon as you feel confident in doing so.

  • Practice chord chart
  • Am /// //// Dm /// //// F /// //// F (alternate) /// ////

Summary: swung rhythms

Everything we have played up to this point has been "straight", rhythmically speaking. You could compare a straight rhythm to the sound of an army marching! 1-2-3-4! Perfectly uniform and consistent beats; the sound of an army marching is totally straight, just like everything we have played until now.

"Swung" rhythms, however, are somewhat like the sound of horses walking! This more uneven rhythmical sound is known as swing. If that's difficult to understand, don't worry! It's a difficult concept to describe in text alone, so let's simplify things by taking the universal pattern we're already familiar with and changing it to make it swung!

Exercise: Changing chords with swing

Let's take a simple chord chart and the universal strumming pattern, and use it to compare straight and swung beats. Listen to the audio tracks below to hear the difference. Both tracks use the same chords and the same strumming pattern, but sound different to each other. The chord chart and strumming pattern are as follows:

  • Practice chord chart
  • G /// //// D /// //// Am /// //// C /// ////

This concept can be really hard at first, as you train your ear to recognise the difference between the two rhythms. One of the best things to do to get used to the difference is simply to listen to well-known music that is either straight or swung. For example, blues music is almost always swung. Try a modern classic like "Sweet Home Chicago" by Robert Johnson to get a feel for that swung sound. On the other hand, most indie bands will play straight rhythms. For example, "I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor" by Arctic Monkeys. Take your time with this as the next tune we'll cover is going to be swung!

Summary: "Can't hold me back"

This cool new tune is all about mastering swing! The song features a few new chord shapes and some tricky changes, but the rhythm is consistent throughout to help you perfect the swung sound. As with all the songs we cover on the course, there are a lot of possible distractions (vocals, keyboards, other guitars, etc...) but you need to learn to focus only on your part at these early stages, so this is great practice! Listen to the full song and then move on to the next lesson!

Summary: intro and verse

The first thing we will do is look at the intro and the verse. We will be playing the following four chords:

Materials: Chord chart and rhythm

Handily, the intro and verse follow exactly the same chord progression! The only difference between the two is that the verse has vocals, but the intro doesn't. The rhythm is the good old universal strumming pattern!

  • Intro
  • G /// Cadd9 /// Em7 /// D /// G /// Cadd9 /// Em7 /// D ///
  • G /// Cadd9 /// Em7 /// D /// G /// Cadd9 /// Em7 /// D ///
  • Verse One
  • G /// Cadd9 /// Em7 /// D /// G /// Cadd9 /// Em7 /// D ///
  • G /// Cadd9 /// Em7 /// D /// G /// Cadd9 /// Em7 /// D ///

Materials: song tab

Below is a link to the full chord chart / tab of the song. You only need to look at the intro and verse at this point. Take advantage of the slow down and looper features to make sure you get these parts correct.

Summary: chorus

In the chorus we are using some quite tricky chords and still moving at the same brisk pace, so it will be a challenge. The good news is that we're still following the universal pattern, which hopefully should be feeling very comfortable by now. So, here's the full chord chart, including the chorus part.

  • Intro
  • G /// Cadd9 /// Em7 /// D /// G /// Cadd9 /// Em7 /// D ///
  • G /// Cadd9 /// Em7 /// D /// G /// Cadd9 /// Em7 /// D ///
  • Verse One
  • G /// Cadd9 /// Em7 /// D /// G /// Cadd9 /// Em7 /// D ///
  • G /// Cadd9 /// Em7 /// D /// G /// Cadd9 /// Em7 /// D ///
  • Chorus One
  • Am /// C /// Em /// D /// Am /// C /// Em /// D ///
  • Am /// C /// Em /// D /// Am /// C /// Em /// D (/// ////)
  • Verse One
  • G /// Cadd9 /// Em7 /// D /// G /// Cadd9 /// Em7 /// D ///
  • G /// Cadd9 /// Em7 /// D /// G /// Cadd9 /// Em7 /// D ///
  • Chorus
  • Am /// C /// Em /// D /// Am /// C /// Em /// D ///
  • Am /// C /// Em /// D /// Am /// C /// Em /// D ///
  • Am /// C /// Em /// D /// Am /// C /// Em /// D ///
  • Am /// C /// Em /// D /// Am /// C /// Em /// D (/// ////)

Materials: song tab

Below is a link to the full chord chart / tab of the song. You can now piece the entire song together! Take advantage of the slow down and looper features to make sure you get these parts correct.

Audio: song Audio

Finally, here are the complete audio tracks to play along with. These are all at full speed so make sure you have practiced with the tab version before trying these.

Ready to move on? Remember to check out every lesson in this unit first – then try the next unit...

Essentials Part 4

We will now bring together everything we have learnt so far by tackling the hardest song yet! This song has multiple chord parts, three different rhythm patterns, dynamics and a pretty cool riff to learn... let's go!