Once you can hold your guitar, make a few chords and strum the strings, it’s time to learn a song! And what better song to learn than one just about everyone you know can sing along to? John Denver’s Take Me Home, Country Roads is the perfect song for beginners. We won’t worry about the complicated picking pattern that’s used in the recording, instead, we’re going to focus on supporting the main melody with basic guitar chords and a simplified strumming pattern.
Level 1: Simplified Chord Shapes
To kick things off, we’ll play through the main chord progression using simplified, two-finger chords. The chord progression for this song uses a G major chord, D major chord, E minor chord, and C major chord. Thankfully, we can play variations of each of these open chords with just two fingers, making this song quite easy to start playing.
Level 2: Full Chord Shapes
Once you get the hang of playing the two-finger chord shapes, you can add a couple more fingers to the mix to play the full shapes. These chord shapes are ones you’ll use for the rest of your life and are important to learn at some point.
The Strumming Pattern
At first, it’s best to use a very straightforward strumming pattern while you learn the chords. So we’ll just strum on every fourth beat. This will give you plenty of time to make the change between each chord nice and smooth!
Level 3: Doubling Up The Strumming Pattern
For the third level, we’ll increase the difficulty of the strumming pattern – but not by much. All you need to do is strum every two beats instead of four. Be sure to listen to the video for an example of how this will sound.
Bonus: The Ultimate Strumming Pattern
popular strumming patterns ever: the down, down, up, up, down, up pattern. This one is going to prove itself difficult to play at full speed, so you might want to start off slow and make sure you’re nailing the chord changes before speeding up.
And that’s it! It’s important to spend time learning the songs you love, and in the age of the internet, it’s pretty easy to type a song name into the search bar and find the chords instantly. If you come across some chords or techniques you don’t know, be sure to join us in the Guitareo members area where you can get lessons on every topic imaginable by real teachers (like me!).
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