How to tell the measures when reading chord & lyric charts in the Beginner Songbook

I bought Justin’s Beginner’s Song book in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The very first song 3 Little Birds doesn’t show the measures.
It shows the lyrics in the first line:
Don’t worry about a thing
'cause everything little thing gonna be all right

Does this mean you only strum the A twice on the first line and the D once and the A once on line two. Bob Marleys shows 74 bpm. I have done Justin’s beginner grade 1 and haven’t seen music written this way before.
Thank You

Hi John @Jack255, when you look on the right hand page, under “easy strumming and counting”, you’ll see it says: “Make sure that you strum four times each time a chord is shown above the lyrics.”. The place of the chord above the text indicates the first strum (of four) for that chord - and so the start of the measure. Translated to the left page (with the song text and the chords), this means:

  • On the first line, you have 2 measures of A, so eight strums. First measure starts at the ‘wor’ of “worry”, second measure starts at ‘thing’.
  • On the second line, again 2 measures, D and A. D starts at the ‘ev’ of ‘every’, A at ‘thing’.

Listen to the song, try to tap the rhytm - you’ll get the hang of it.

Good luck!


Thank You.

with this kind of notation, and with tab, unlike standard notation, there’s no written instructions to tell you the rhythm. General instructions like "strum four times each time a chord is shown above the lyrics” can give you a general idea to get you started learning the chords, but can only get you so far. I believe the best way to understand the rhythm of a song is to listen to recordings, several times, and tap your foot, drum your fingers, or otherwise move the body part of your choice with the beat. You’ll most likely “get it” within a few repetitions.

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Thank You

Must say that lots of guitar lesson and song sites do the same. For me I prefer the notes and lyrics in proper measure. Hard to play a song that you aren’t familiar with just using chords above words.
If I learn a song I write it down into proper measures. Also like to see the time signature and the most common bpm.

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What do the vertical lines mean on the chord line?

Hi Baylan , @glc
Welcome here and have a lot of fun :sunglasses:

Bar lines are the vertical lines that run across the staff at regular intervals. Bar lines have no influence on the sound of the music… I hope this helps
Greetings Rogier

Absolutely, which is why you should be familiar with a song before attempting to learn it. I believe Justin says to listen to a song 5 times in a row (really listen to it, not just have it on while you do something else) before even starting to work on it. That’s good advice.