In the past articles we have discussed songs that you can play with just two, three, four, five, and six chords. We have stayed in the key of C major to keep it easy with the chords C, Dm, Em, F, G, and Am. Of course there are many songs out there that don't stay in one key, and some songs that have strange chords in them, but we are going to take the next logical step; B flat and E flat. Now why is this the next logical step in the Key of C? Well lots of songs use the Key of C blues scale, especially Rock N Roll and pop rock, which means these songs will have a flattened 3rd and flattened 7th. In the Key of C that flattened 3rd is Eb and the flattened 7th is Bb. Adding these two chords to your previous six (C, Dm, Em, F, G, Am) will greatly increase your song knowledge.
After all these chords that work in the Key of C, we have finally come to the two most difficult. For many guitar players the Eb and Bb chords are left to the very end. However, these flattened 3rd and 7th chords really add a whole new dimension to our playing. In the examples below you will notice the variety of classic rock and pop rock songs that can be covered with these two extra guitar chords!
Barrè tip:If you find difficult playing the F major chord with full barrè (133211) you can always play it like this: XX3211
The normal Bb chord is going to take some time to get used to, but a good starter song is You Got It, by Roy Orbison. This song was released shortly after his death and reminded
everyone what a
great contributor he was to Rock N Roll. Here he turns a simple rock progression into an emotional ballad, notice during the bridge and chorus you will be back into familiar
Here we have a simple C to Bb progression most of the time, switching between these chords will not be easy. This song made popular by the Youngblood’s is often used in movies
and media when
representing the the vibe of the 60’s. With good reason, it is a wonderful folk song to play around a campfire! Notice how the chorus switches all to major chords to give an uplifting feel after
The Vogues made this song popular back in the mid-60’s, a nice upbeat tune fitting for your guitar. The C to Bb progression mentioned above is actually very common in Rock N
Roll, here we share
a similar chorded song, but with an added C7. The C7 is a one finger difference and hopefully will, not
throw you off!
Now if you thought Bb was hard to play, try adding Eb into the progression! Whether you play the Harry Chapin version above or the more recent Ugly Kid Joe,
this is a great starter song adding
in both of our difficult chords. Take your time in the beginning and it will slowly get easier.
I hesitated to add this Doors classic in, it fits a perfect common progression of C-Bb-Eb-C. The big surprise is that the end of the song jumps up in key by
half a step. However, notice that
even in the slightly higher key it still follows the I-VIIb-IIIb-C pattern. As you progress in your song playing with Eb, Bb, and beyond; it is good to notice these patterns, it
will help your
future jamming abilities.
Speaking of jamming this is a great blues-rock song by Joe Walsh to know, mostly utilizing a C-F-Eb-C chord progression. We already mentioned seeing 7th chords
and here we see C7 again and F7,
neither should be too difficult to play. At this point anything is easy compared to the Bb and Eb chords!
The great debut album had Sam and Dave with music by Booker T and the MG’s, all that talent together created this awesome song. If you notice this simply
switches the Eb and F from the last song
making this C-Eb-F-C, and again there are the same 7th chords.
This song uses a chorus progression of C-Eb-Bb-C (with a F6 and Fm thrown in, these are both easy if you switch from the F barre chord). This song was attributed to a band name
Steam that didn't
even exist! They were simply studio musicians who collaborated to make a one hit wonder.
Normally Billy Joel songs work best on the piano, but this upbeat number makes a fine guitar cover. It takes us back to many of the chords we have learned in the past and with
the Bb. Again and
again we will see this flattened seventh in plenty of rock songs.
This last song was a hit for Paul Revere and the Raiders and The Monkees both. It is going to challenge you with one new chord and a progression that is hard to play, but worth
the effort! Of
all the chords we often see in rock songs along with Eb and Bb, it is common to see Ab. Before
we learned that the vi chord was A minor in the key of C, well sometimes in rock they turn it to A
major and flatten it! This VIb, is actually known as the Buddy Holly chord because he popularized it during the chorus of Peggy Sue. As you search for songs with the dreaded Eb
and Bb you will
often see this Ab thrown in the mix. So it can't hurt to learn it now on such a funky and fun song for your guitar.
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