Need Songbook help - how do I read the chords on the pages?

I have no musical background but have been learning how to play for about 3 months now. My changes are decent and I can play along reasonably well with Justin and/or the songs on the app and incorporate different strumming patterns. I decided to order Justin’s beginners songbook and got it from Amazon in 2 days. Only problem is I have no idea how to read it. I understand the chord above the words but some lines have 1 chord, others have 2 or 4, the chords are placed and spaced differently on different lines. I am not sure what it all means or how to play it. I looked around the site to see if it was explained in a lesson but could not find anything. Is there an article or a site that I can go to to try and figure this out?

You play each chord for a bar unless it states it. The chord is above the word that you should be at the start of the bar.

You start strumming the Em bar at blah and it should end and start G at sad

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And when you see this from Edwyn Collins A Girl Like You …

      Am                     | Dm      Em |  
 I've never known a girl like  you before

Then the two chords between ‘|’ are each played for half a bar.


if you would play 1 strum down on every beat, it would be played like this:

| Am    Am    Am    Am  | Dm  Dm  Em  Em |  

2 measures with 4 beats each,
first measure is 4 times Am

You split the next measure in half:
2 times Dm and
2 time Em

If that works for you, try a downstrum on the beats and an upstrum in that chord between the beats.

Check this lesson for more info on that:

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