Two  Chord  Songs  Using  G  and  D  Chords

Follow these simple two-chord song rhythm lessons, and you'll discover new and essential concepts with each one.  Don't skip any.

The goals of these lessons are to: 

  • get you changing between these two-chords easily and quickly 
  • count out a basic rhythm
  • learn how to listen and apply what you hear. 

You'll also have an opportunity to create a complementary rhythm to "jam" with the music.

I recommend you keep practicing switching between the G and D chords until you can change smoothly.  Then have some fun by playing along with some of these songs.  These two-chord songs only use the G and D guitar chords, or the same G and D chord shapes played higher up the neck.

Practice these two-chord songs for a few days or weeks until you develop a steady rhythm, and you can play along well.

Redo any earlier lessons that you may have hurried through or skipped that are causing issues now, or if you are severely frustrated, read lessons 1 and 4 over again.

The following songs only use two-chords, and they're easy to jam with because of their steady rhythms.

Learning to strum with a song is a fun way to learn and is usual with self taught guitar. Enjoy playing the easy parts, and don't worry about the parts you find challenging, they won't be challenging for long.  Don't give up, eventually you'll be strumming rhythmically without even thinking about it!


Music starts with listening.  Use these simple two-chord songs to nurture your listening skills.  Count the rhythms using 1 2 3 4 for your downstrokes, then add the "and" for the upstrokes. If you don't hear a strum, don't count that number or the "and."

For example, you would count: Down Down Down Up Down as 1  2  3and4.  REMEMBER Strum evenly with the downstrokes always on the number count.s

Listen carefully to the songs and find the count of the rhythm, then strum along.  Remember to only hit four strings on the D chord, not all six.

Anticipate the chord change and switch smoothly.  And remember, this is supposed to be fun!  Jam with the songs!  Don't go any further with the next lessons until you feel that you can play along reasonably well. 

It's crucial to move ahead slowly and master the basics because that will be faster in the long run. 

You may not prefer the style of music of these songs, but play them anyway, there aren't many two-chord songs that use these chords.

Two  Chord  Song  Lessons

"What I got" by Sublime  ... G+D

This two-chord song starts on G  with a quick rhythm and switches between G and D after the four counts. 

Strum the G chord Down Down Down Up Down and count:  1 2 3+4. Strum the D chord using the same rhythm:  1 2 3+4. 

This song gets played "around the clock," which means the strumming pattern and chords repeat throughout the song.  Because this song is quick-paced,  you may have difficulty changing chords on time to play the full measure.  Keep trying calmly, and it will become more comfortable,  I promise.

If it gets too frustrating, try another song then return.

"Snowstorm" by Galaxie 500 ... D+G  

Here is another two-chord song that gets played "around the clock"   However, there is a short section of the song where they don't switch chords as often, listen for it.  

Strum:  Down Up Down   Down Up Down,  as you count 1+2 3+4. Experiment with different rhythms that go along with or compliment the song.

“Lively Up Yourself” by Bob Marley ... D+G

This song uses more than these two-chords, however, playing only the D and G chords along with the song works.  Get that steady rhythm into your system and then play the same rhythm for the same length of time with both chords.  You'll know when it clicks. This song begins with the D chord.

"You Never Can Tell (C’est la Vie)" by Chuck Berry ... D+G

Starts with the D chord.  There aren't many chord changes in the song so keep playing till you catch the groove.  

Having fun yet?

Use  a  Capo  for  More  Two  Chord  Songs

Now that you can play along with these two-chord songs using the G and D guitar chords, using a capo will allow you to play more songs in different keys without learning any new guitar chord shapes.

Here's a capo, and this is how it's used.

Hopefully, you have one.  Capos are inexpensive, and you can get a capo at any music store.

If you don't have a capo,  you could keep practicing with the G and D two-chord songs until you get one,  or you could learn the C chord, and come back to play the following C+G two-chord songs.  C GUITAR CHORD


Make sure that your guitar is in tune before you use a capo!  If you don't have a tuner, you can tune your guitar here.

If you want to capo at the 5th fret,  for example,  you would squeeze the handle and put the rubber part across the strings behind the fifth fret. Make sure that all the strings ring out clearly when you strum in the open position.
 
If the notes don't ring clearly,  adjust the capo until they do.  You'll find that the farther from the fret you place the capo, the easier it is to play the chord.

Using the same G and D chord shapes and a capo, you should be able to play any song that uses the two-chord combinations below. 

For example, if you place the capo on the second fret and play the same G chord shape (the same finger positions), it sounds the same as an A chord, and the D chord becomes an E chord.  The notes increase in pitch by a semi-tone every time the capo goes up one fret.

For example, Give peace a chance, by John Lennon can be played with a capo on the seventh fret.  Use the same G chord shape, and it becomes a D, and the open D chord shape now played at the seventh fret becomes an A chord.

Use this capo chart to find the right position and play some of the other two-chord songs listed below.

Please note!  The farther up the fretboard you go with the capo, the less room you'll have for your fingers, and the chords will sound sort of high pitched.

Hopefully, you have capo.  They're inexpensive, and you can get a capo at any music store.

If you don't have a capo,  keep practising the G and D two-chord songs until you get one,  or you could learn the C chord and come back to play the following C+G two-chord songs.   C GUITAR CHORD

Two  Chord  Song  Capo  Chart

At the twelfth fret all the notes repeat, but they are one octave higher.

The following two-chord songs are easy to play without a capo if you know how to play a C chord, which is the next lesson. 

If you don't have a capo, go to the C chord page and learn how to form it.  Practice switching between G, D and C using the tips that I reveal here.  Then, come back to these songs and play them in the open position without a capo. 

If you have a capo, play these songs anyway, and keep having fun with them.

Two  Chord  Songs  Capoed  at  the  Second  Fret

"The Cross" by Prince ... A+E

"When Love Comes To Town" by U2 and B. B. King ... A+E

Two  Chord  Songs  Capoed  at  the  Fifth  Fret

“Achy Breaky Heart” by Billy Ray Cyrus ... C+G

A fun two-chord song for country music lovers, and folks that love to dance.  See if you can pick out the rhythm. It might be a little confusing at first, because this song uses a three count, not a four count as in the previous tunes. Answer:  1 2+3 repeat.

"Jambalaya (On the Bayou)" by Hank Williams ... C+G

This Cajun two step is a lot of fun around a campfire or party. There have been tons of covers made of this two-chord song.

"Give Peace A Chance" by John Lennon ... C+G 

This famous two-chord song uses a count of 1 2+3+4 and accents the first beat heavily.  An accent is a note or chord that is played slightly louder than the rest.  Use the accent when you're playing to add depth to your music.

For the rest of these two-chord songs, listen carefully and copy the beat to the best of your present, and remember that you will improve with practice.

"Unknown Legend" by Neil Young ... C+G

"Paperback Writer" by The Beatles ... C+G

"Molly's Lips" by Nirvana ... C+G

"Everyday People" by Sly and The Family Stone ... C+G

Two  Chord  Songs  Capoed  at  the  Seventh  Fret

"Boys Around Here" by Blake Shelton ... A+D



Next up is the C chord lesson. You'll also find a chord changing tip that will help you play hundreds of three chord songs.