Two chord song problem

This may seem like a stupid question but at this point in my guitar journey I’m still having to count the rhythm for songs I’m learning in my head. So singing along is not an option right now. I find when I’m learning songs that have the same two chords all the way through the song I lose track of where I am in the song, unless I’m playing along with the app or the original song. Is there a trick I can use to keep track without being able to play and sing at the same time?


Hi John and welcome to the Community! :blush:My trick is to write the same chord on the Lyrics sheet exactly where each bar starts, to me the lyrics are a good indicator of where the beats are, as I tap my foot all the time, while I’m only listening and also while I’m just singing without the guitar. Take it with a pinch of salt though, this works for me, as learning the guitar part and the singing separately seems to be the main approach. I have to say that while progressing my sense of time is improving a little bit and I’m more confident to say where I’m in the bar.

I really wouldn’t worry about it.
If it’s a 2-chord song, there’s little point learning to play it exactly from start to finish. It is going to sound quite monotonous. The fact that you can play along to the app and original suggests that when you move on to singing, the chord changes will come naturally.
Things to focus on first: smooth chord changes. Regular rhythm, if necessary slowly with metronome until you are up to speed. Practice the strumming pattern you choose until you can do it ‘automatically’, i.e. without consciously thinking of it.
Once all those are in place you can start adding vocals, (at first best with downstrums only)
Oh yeah, think of posting a quick video with your progress if you want more concrete feedback.
Have fun :smiley:

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Maybe not every 2-chord song :grinning:

Hi John, My approach is the same as Sylvia’s I print out the words and write the chord changes above the word that it changes on. I find that works well for me. After a few times of playing the song you get to know where the chord changes are, especially as the pattern usually repeats itself throughout the song.

I don’t think I expressed myself properly. There are loads of superb 2-chord songs :smiley:
But if you strip away the vocals and all accompaniment and just strum the guitar, they will all sound monotonous (unless you are a virtuoso).
I’m just saying that if he gets his technique down properly, when he starts singing, keeping track of where he is in the song will be much easier :smiley:


I know, I was just happy to have an excuse to post some Cocaine Blues :slightly_smiling_face:

(Sorry for going off topic)


Welcome, @Jjhill !!!

that’s exactly what I found when I started singing. It was a LOT easier to know where I was in the song,

Hello @Jjhill and welco.e to the community.
Are you still in grade 1 with 2 chord songs?
As you count try to do so melodically and in that way you can shape the melodic nature of your counting to approximate the vocal melody. It will not come immediately and you will have to spend conscious effort on it. Eventually you may find you naturally incorporate some fragments of lyrics in with the counting and eventually replace the counting with more and more lyrics until you can do the whole vocal.

For playing aling to a track and counting check this topic.

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I’m currently in the consolidation process of grade 2. For the most part I just didn’t like many of the song choices in grade 1. So far I’ve memorized songs like Wonderful Tonight, have you ever seen the rain, stay with me , and take it easy. I’m currently working on Sitting on the dock of the bay. So I didn’t realize I was gonna have this problem till I tried learning Horse with no name and dance the night away.As most of the other songs I was learning had different chord progressions between verse, chorus, bridge…ect.

That’s a pretty unique situation. It’s your own originality that got you into this issue, so just trust your own sense on how to work through it. At the end of the day you may need to change up the rhythm and therefore find your own voice on these songs. Keep at it, find your groove. :slight_smile:

Hi mate

Thanks for posting.

I don’t think its a two chord song problem, I think what you have mentioned above is the problem.

Unless I have misunderstood, you are at the end of beginner course 2 (module 14). In my opinion being able to play chords and singalong to songs at the same time should be second nature by this stage in the guitar journey. Rather than looking for a trick to keep track when playing simple songs, I would make it an aim to learn to sing and play at the same time even if you have to go back a few steps to get there.

Good luck with everything.

Yes it would seem the solution is more strumming practice till I can sing and play at the same time.

Justin’s lesson on singing in Grade 3 is a really good place to start. I don’t think there’d be any problem skipping ahead to that lesson.

However, the ability to sing and play at the same seems to vary widely. Some people seem to be able do it almost effortlessly right out of the gate. While others - such as myself - need a step by step course outline, and a lot of practice.

I suspect that’s why Justin doesn’t introduce the lesson till Grade 3. But it’s well worth learning - I find singing enhances my guitar playing, and vice versa, in a positive feedback loop of increasing ability and enjoyment.

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