Three  Chord  Songs in the Key of G

Now that you learned the C chord, there are plenty of three-chord songs that you should try to play using just the three chords G, C, and D, or using they're shapes and a capo. They are the three major chords in the key of G.

Usually (about 90% of the time) a song will start with the root chord of a key.  In the key of G most songs begin with the root chord, the G chord.

When you use a capo and the three-chord shapes you've already learned, you can try even more, three-chord songs.

After the next lesson, the very easy to learn E minor chord, which is the relative minor chord in the key of G, you will be able to try many more songs.

After these three-chord song lessons, there will be more new keys that you can use by adding just one new chord for a new key.

Play along with each of these songs, and read the lessons.  There are essential concepts to discover in each one!

Three  Chord  Songs  Using  Only  G  C  and  D

"Heroes" by the Wallflowers  G + C + D

Watch the video to catch the rhythm, and view some good strumming technique. 

Notice how the guitarist is strumming.  When you play a song, be sure to move your picking hand the same way, keep your movement to a minimum, and rotate your wrist instead of moving your arm.  This ensures accuracy and economy of motion.

“Ring of Fire” by Johnny Cash  G + C + D

The rhythm for this famous three-chord song is 1 2 3+4+ repeat.

“You Shook Me All Night Long” by AC\DC  D + C + G

You'll develop fast chord transitions once you catch on to this one!  Listen closely, and follow along the best you can.  And have fun.

“Leaving on a Jet Plane” by John Denver G + C + D

This three-chord song starts on the G chord.  It's finger picked, so you'll have to create a rhythm to strum along.  You should also try arpeggiating the chords.

An arpeggio is when the notes within a guitar chord are picked individually downwards or upwards. Instead of strumming a chord and hitting all of the notes at once, play them by picking the notes one string at a time.  If you try this, be sure to play with the tempo.

"Sweet Home Alabama" by Lynyrd Skynyrd  G + C + D

Most three-chord songs start on the root chord. A root chord is named the same as the key, in this case it's the G chord. 

TIP: When you jam with someone, watch what the first chord is that gets played, that's the key of the song 90% of the time.  This song is in the other 10%, it begins with the D chord.

"Copperhead Road" by Steve Earle G + C + D

The guitar plays a secondary role in this song.  A mandolin plays the main melody.  Listen closely for the guitar part, and try to copy it.

"Royals" by Lorde G + C + D

Can you create a rhythm to go with this? Give it a try, listen and let the tune guide you.

Capo  for  Three  Chord  Songs  on  the  Seventh  Fret

Here are a few more three-chord songs that use the same G,
C, D chord shapes in the key of D.  The key of D uses the root chord D, and the IV and V chords,  A and G.


When you capo the seventh fret,  the G chord shape becomes D, the C chord shape becomes G, and the D chord shape becomes A.

Because the capo is high up the neck at the seventh fret, the chords will sound more trebly than in the original tunes.

After you learn the A chord, play these songs without a capo.

"When You Say Nothing At All" by Alison Krauss D + A + G

The beginning of this beautiful song is played using Arpeggios. Use all down strokes, on four strings, one after another and count 1 2 3 4.  Farther along you'll hear strumming with an accent on the third beat.  Make sure to emphasize it when you strum.

Do not pick the strings individually, rather, slowly strum them in one steady motion.  Sweep the pick, don't pluck. This technique is called sweep picking.

"Back In The USA" by Chuck Berry D + G + A

Wow!  This is how TV was long ago.  We sure are lucky with all the wonderful things we can watch now a days.  For this lesson we are going to learn leg movements.  Just kidding, you have more important things to focus on.

"Barbara Anne" by The Regents D + G + A

A fun song from 1961.

Three-Chord Song List in the Key of D

Here are a few more three-chord sings in the Key of D for you.

  • "If You Wanna" by The Vaccines D + G + A 
  • "Authority Song" by John Cougar Mellencamp D + G + A 
  • "All Right Now" by Free D + G + A
  • "Breakfast At Tiffany's" by Deep Blue Something D + G + A
  • "Dead Flowers" by The Rolling Stones D + G + A
  • "What Makes You Beautiful" by One Direction D + G + A
  • "Margaritaville" by Jimmy Buffett D + G + A
  • "The First Cut is the Deepest" by Sheryl Crow D + G + A
  • "Up Around the Bend" by Creedence Clearwater Revival D + G + A