You might not know it yet, but much of the music you know and love is built with easy chord progressions. From pop songs to jingles heard in commercials, easy chord progressions are the foundation of lots of the music surrounding us in our daily lives. But music built using simple chord progressions doesn’t mean the music itself is simple or boring. We’ve got five excellent songs to teach you that feature easy chord progressions, but first, let’s talk a little bit about what chord progressions are and how to build them.
chord progressions

 

What are chord progressions?

 

A chord progression is a series of repeating chords. Chord progressions can be as simple as a repeating sequence of one chord transitioning to another or as complex as a progression featuring ten or more distinct repeating chords. Generally, the popular music we all know and love tends to be built with chord progressions that use three to four repeating chords while classical and art music usually relies on longer sequences of unpredictable progressions of chords.

 

Songs are usually built with distinct chord progressions for verses, choruses and bridges, but not always. Some songs feature the same chord progression for the entire song. An easy chord progression is one that features just a few chords that repeat in a predictable way.

 

“Fallin,” by Alicia Keys

 

 

alicia keys
Photo credit: Sean Nel / Shutterstock.com

Chord progressions don’t get any easier than the one found throughout the song “Fallin” by Alicia Keys. It’s remarkable how interesting this song is considering the fact that it’s built with the same repeating sequence of chords for the entire song. This song was recorded with a piano, but the chord progression sounds great when it’s arpeggiated with a guitar.
alicia keys chords

[Verse]

I keep on fallin’
       Em           Bm7
in and out of love
     Em     Bm7
with you
            Em      Bm7
Sometimes I love ya
                     Em         Bm7
Sometimes you make me blue
                 Em         Bm7
Sometimes I feel good
                Em          Bm7
At times I feel used
          Em       Bm7          Em
Lovin’ you darlin’ makes me so confused


[Chorus]

Bm7          Em
I keep on fallin’
      Bm7
In and out
   Em
Of love
     Bm7
With you
  Em
I never
         Bm7
loved someone
            Em
The Way that I
    Bm7
Love you


[Verse 2]

       Em   Bm7
Oh, oh, I
               Em   Bm7
never felt this way
                          Em      Bm7
How do you give me so much pleasure
                    Em   Bm7
And cause me so much pain
           Em   Bm7
Just when I think
                           Em   Bm7
I’ve taken more than would a fool
       Em     Bm7                Em
I start fallin’ back in love with you


[Chorus]

Bm7          Em
I keep on fallin’
      Bm7
In and out
   Em
Of love
     Bm7
With you
  Em
I never
         Bm7
loved someone
            Em
The Way that I
    Bm7
Love you


[Bridge]

Bm7
Oh baby
Em    Bm7    Em Bm7
I, I, I, I’m fallin’
Em    Bm7    Em Bm7
I, I, I, I’m fallin’
Em    Bm7    Em    Bm7    Em    Bm7    Em
Fall   ‘in   Fall   ‘in   Fall  ‘in


[Chorus]

Bm7          Em
I keep on fallin’
      Bm7
In and out
   Em
Of love
     Bm7
With you
  Em
I never
         Bm7
loved someone
            Em
The Way that I
    Bm7
Love you

Bm7          Em
I keep on fallin’
      Bm7
In and out
   Em
Of love
     Bm7
With you
  Em
I never
         Bm7
loved someone
            Em
The Way that I
    Bm7
Love you

Bm7          Em
I keep on fallin’
      Bm7
In and out
   Em
Of love
     Bm7
With you
  Em
I never
         Bm7
loved someone
            Em
The Way that I
    Bm7
Love you

 

“Wraith Pinned To The Mist and Other Games,” by of Montreal

 

The melody from catchy and bizarre tune somehow made its way to mainstream and was featured in the “Let’s Go Outback Tonight” theme song we all couldn’t get out of our heads in the mid 2000’s. The easy chord progressions in this song barely change from section to section, so this is a great song to learn if you’re in the mood for something easy and a little bit weird (in a good way).

of montreal chords

[Verse]
            Bb                C
Let’s have bizarre celebrations
     F                             Bb
Let’s forget who forget what forget where
            Ab                C
We’ll have bizarre celebrations
             Bb             
I’ll play the satyr in Cyprus
F
You the bride being stripped bare, bare


[Chorus]
                      Bb
Let’s pretend we don’t exist
                        F         
Let’s pretend we’re in Antarctica
                      Bb
Let’s pretend we don’t exist
                        F       Bb
Let’s pretend we’re in Antarctica


[Verse]
          Bb                  C
Let’s have bizarre celebrations
        F                           Bb
Let’s forget when forget what forget how
            Ab               C
We’ll have bizarre celebrations
           Bb
We’ll play Tristan and Isolde
        F
But make sure I see white sails, sails


[Chorus]
                      Bb
Let’s pretend we don’t exist
                        F         
Let’s pretend we’re in Antarctica
                      Bb
Let’s pretend we don’t exist
                        F       Bb
Let’s pretend we’re in Antarctica


Bb


[Bridge]
Bb               C
Maybe I’ll never die
                      F
I’ll just keep growing younger with you
   A
And you’ll grow younger too
Bb               C            F      
Now it seems too lovely to be true
     Bb                           C
But I know the best things always do


[Chorus]
                      Bb
Let’s pretend we don’t exist
                        F         
Let’s pretend we’re in Antarctica
                      Bb
Let’s pretend we don’t exist
                        F       
Let’s pretend we’re in Antarctica

 

“Soul Meets Body,” by Death Cab For Cutie

 

death cab for cutie
Photo credit: Christian Bertrand / Shutterstock.com

The dazzling production elements in this song might lead you to believe that it’s complicated or tough to learn, but it actually is built using two easy chord progressions. You’ll need a capo on the 5th fret to play this song in its original key.

 

death cab for cutie chords            

 

Capo: 5

 

[Verse 1]

Am                   C
I want to live where soul meets body
Am                       C
And let the sun wrap its arms around me
Am                         C
And bathe my skin in water cool and cleansing
   G                              Am
And feel, feel what it’s like to be new

                          C
Cause in my head there’s a greyhound station
Am                          C
Where I send my thoughts to far off destinations
Am                           C
So they may have a chance of finding a place
             G
where they’re far more suited than here

Am                  C
I cannot guess what we’ll discover
Am                        C
We turn the dirt with our palms cupped like shovels
     Am                       C
But I know our filthy hand can wash one another’s
   G
And not one speck will remain


[Chorus]

Am   C            G
I do believe it’s true
              Am            C           G
That there are roads left in both of our shoes
      Am            C
If the silence takes you
      G
Then I hope it takes me too

     Am         Am    C  Am       Am     
Where soul meets body                      
     Am         Am    C
Where soul meets body
G
Where soul meets body


[Chorus]

Am   C            G
I do believe it’s true
              Am            C           G
That there are roads left in both of our shoes
      Am            C
If the silence takes you
      G
Then I hope it takes me too

  Am           C        G
So brown eyes I hold you near
                Am          C       G
Cause you’re the only song I want to hear
     Am        C       G
A melody softly soaring through my atmosphere


[Outro]


     Am        C       G
A melody softly soaring through my atmosphere       
     Am        C       G
A melody softly soaring through my atmosphere
     Am        C       G
A melody softly soaring through my atmosphere

 

“The Only Exception,” by Paramore

 

Other than the bridge and ending, this song features the same easy chord progression the entire time. This 2009 song by the band Paramore revealed the band’s more sensitive side. You’ll need to play these shapes on the fourth fret with a capo to play the chords in the same key as the song.

 

paramore chords

 

Capo: 4

 

[Intro]
  
G  Dm  Cmaj7  x2


[Verse 1]

G                                 Dm                    Cmaj7
When I was younger I saw my daddy cry and curse at the wind
  G                                                Dm          Cmaj7
He broke his own heart and I watched as he tried to re-assemble it
   G                                      Dm         Cmaj7
And my mama swore that she would never let herself forget
   G                                                  Dm
And that was the day that I promised I’d never sing of love
               Cmaj7
if it does not exist, but darling


[Chorus]

G
You are the only exception
Dm          Cmaj7
You are the only exception
G
You are the only exception
Dm          Cmaj7           G
You are the only exception


[Verse 2]

                                 Dm                   Cmaj7
Maybe I know somewhere deep in my soul that love never lasts
   G                                         Dm                     Cmaj7
And we’ve got to find other ways to make it alone or keep a straight face
   G                                        Dm        Cmaj7
And I’ve always lived like this, keeping a comfortable distance
   G                                              Dm              Cmaj7
And up until now I had sworn to myself that I’m content with loneliness

Because none of it was ever worth the risk


[Chorus]

G
You are the only exception
Dm          Cmaj7
You are the only exception
G
You are the only exception
Dm          Cmaj7        Am
You are the only exception


[Solo]

G  D  Am  G  D


[Bridge]

          Am
I’ve got a tight grip on reality, but I can’t
   G                           D
Let go of what’s in front of me here
             Am
I know you’re leaving in the morning when you wake up
        G                                  D          C
Leave me with some kind of proof it’s not a dream, whoa


[Chorus]

G
You are the only exception
Dm          Cmaj7
You are the only exception
G
You are the only exception
Dm          Cmaj7
You are the only exception

G
You are the only exception
Dm          Cmaj7
You are the only exception
G
You are the only exception
Dm          Cmaj7
You are the only exception


[Outro]

   F          C                G
And I’m on my way to believing
       F          C                G
Oh, and I’m on my way to believing.

 

“Little Secrets,” by Passion Pit

 

Catchy synth-driven pop created by bands like Passion Pit seemed have dominated the musical landscape for the past decade, and it’s not showing any signs of slowing. This song primarily features synthesizers, but the easy chord progressions in it can be played with an acoustic or electric guitar.

 

passion pit chords


[Intro]
Bb F C  Dm
Bb C Am Dm
Bb F C  Dm
Bb C Am Dm

[Verse 1]
Bb                                       C G Am
  When I came down the dawn poured into me
Bb                                       C G Am
  I shook ’em up, the walls came crumbling
Bb                                              C G Am
  My thin skin trembling with these salty wounds
Bb                                       C G Am
  My stolen gold inside the emperor’s tomb
Bb                                       C G Am
  Now painting rainbows on my ugly face
Bb                                             C G Am
  I built this cardboard neighborhood’s disgrace
Bb                                            C G Am
  But I ascend and serve my feverish need
Bb                                    C G Am
  Within the confines of such chemistry

[Pre-Chorus]
F              Bb
It’s the way I see
              Dm
Everything I need
              C
It’s the way to be

[Chorus]
Bb              F
Let this be our little secret
C               Dm
No one needs to know we’re feeling
Bb         F
Higher and higher and higher
Bb         Dm
Higher and higher and higher
     Bb               F
But I feel alive and I feel it in me
C           Dm
up and up I keep on climbing
Bb         F
Higher and higher and higher
C          Dm
Higher and higher and higher

[Refrain]
Bb F Am Dm
Bb F Am Dm
Gm Am Bb

[Verse 2]
Bb                                    C G Am
  My face blew up at such a casual sight
Bb                                      C G Am
  The smattered colors of ecstatic fright
Bb                           C G Am
  The rush above me to oblivion
Bb                                  C G Am
  Outlining wet sidewalks with halogen
Bb                                     C G Am
  Oh have you ever felt so goddamned strong?
Bb                                         C G Am
  How come it takes some people so damn long
Bb                                          C G Am
  He turned to squeeze the lemon juice to rain
Bb                                         C G Am
  The citrus drawing out the scene it stains

[Pre-Chorus]
F               Bb
Watch the basin drain
                  Dm
As your life lines wane
              C
And you can’t explain
               Bb
As your friends complain
F                      Bb
You’ve caused all this pain
               Dm
And you proudly shame
                   C
Your whole family’s name

[Chorus]
Bb              F
Let this be our little secret
C               Dm
No one needs to know we’re feeling
Bb         F
Higher and higher and higher
Bb         Dm
Higher and higher and higher
     Bb               F
But I feel alive and I feel it in me
C           Dm
up and up I keep on climbing
Bb         F
Higher and higher and higher
C          Dm
Higher and higher and higher

[Bridge]
Bb                                 F
Mother I can tell what you’ve been thinking
              C
staring at the stars on your ceiling
C                                             Dm
Thinking once there was a power that you were wielding
                    C
And now I’ve hit the mark
               Am
Stabbing at the dark
                      Dm               C             Bb
And I cannot help but ignore the people staring at my scars

[Chorus]
Bb              F
Let this be our little secret
C               Dm
No one needs to know we’re feeling
Bb         F
Higher and higher and higher
Bb         Dm
Higher and higher and higher
     Bb               F
But I feel alive and I feel it in me
C           Dm
up and up I keep on climbing
Bb         F
Higher and higher and higher
C          Dm
Higher and higher and higher

 

chord progressionsIf you’re new to the guitar and are having trouble learning the easy chord progressions in this article, don’t be discouraged. Even simple things on the guitar can be difficult to master if you’re new at it. With time, effort and practice, you’ll be on your way to learning these songs. For more helpful articles about the world of music, check out the Musika Lessons blog.

1 thought on “5 Songs With Easy Chord Progressions For Guitar”

  1. You have a chord in the song "the only exception" by Paramore listed as a Gm on the first fret with pinky and ring fingers on the third fret (A&D strings). This is not a Gm, it is an Fm chord. The Gm chord is on the third fret (barre chord with pinky and ring fingers on the fifth fret A&D strings. So if the song requires a Gm chord it is to be played on the third fret and not the first. Otherwise it is an Fm chord that is the correct name for the chord shown.

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