Transcribing Open Chords

Time to sort out songs that use open chords only! Here’s a list of 10 incredible tunes you can transcribe. :slightly_smiling_face:

View the full lesson at: Transcribing Open Chords |

3 posts were split to a new topic: Any advice on recognising the tuning of a song (e.g. half-step down) when transcribing single notes?

A few additional suggestions for open chord transcribing!

Take it Easy By The Eagles (5 Basic chords for most of the song).

Learning To Fly By Tom Petty (Four Open Chords)

Free Fallin’ By Tom Petty (3 Stuck 3/4 Chords)

Mr. Jones By Counting Crows (exception is one Barre Chord).

Eb, Social Distortion “Ball and Chain”
Frank Turner “I Still Believe” (quite a few Frank Turner songs are open/capo’d chords, tough rhythm on some)
Eddie Rabbit " I Love a Rainy Night"
For finger style something like White Stripes “We’re Going to be Friends”

Just some that jumped out at me after watching. Really dug this lesson. Loved the “Playing while standing” lesson too!

Several Cat Stevens songs have easy open chords (with the occasional F chord), or at least the song book I have uses standard common chords. I’m assuming it’s correct and it does sound correct to my ear when I tried playing them.

Sad Lisa
Father And Son
Where Do The Children Play
Tuesday’s Dead
How Can I Tell You
Peace Train

Is there any way to check our answers?

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The other day at a campsite session, someone asked me to play the chords The Lion Sleeps Tonight by the Tokens. I had to figure it out from memory on the spot, which means that it’s pretty easy. Fun challenge: the original recording is doo-wop instead of a guitar :slight_smile:

having a lot of trouble with these open chord transcribings. I really struggle a lot and keep listening but just cannot find the correct chord progression. I end up either giving up for some songs, or for others I feel like I finally nail it and then I look at the lesson and realize I’m all wrong with my chords.

Any idea what I can do to improve that? At this point it’s starting to be really disheartening

Do you have the right chord progression. What I mean is if the chords of the song are G C D and you come up with C F G this means you’re picking up on the chord progression(1 4 5) but not the Key.
Or are you just coming up with random chords that aren’t in the same key?
Knowing what chords are in the key of the song will help immensely. How well do you know the major scale?

@danmol Just so happens Justin posted a video today that should help you out

I see what you mean. I don’t know if I have the right progression or not, I wasn’t really paying attention to that. But it wouldn’t really help if I knew the chords in the key since I don’t know the key for the song anyways, right?

That’s what you figure out first. Listen to the bass guitar and try and match the notes he’s playing.
write then down this is the easiest why to figure out what key the song is in. It all takes time and practice to figure out the notes but once you have the notes you’ll know the chords.
Do you have software to slow the songs down? Even if you have to look up the key of the song at first. That’s OK transcribing is hard but the more you do it the easier it gets. Don’t quit trying it will come.