Four Chord Songs

C major, G major, F major, and A minor

Our lesson series on easy guitar songs that you can play with just some basic chords continues here. In the past tutorial we talked about ; here in this article is where our songs really start to expand, by adding the A minor to our C major, G major, and F major chords. In fact, the progression I-V-vi-IV or C-G-Am-F is known as the "Axis of Awesome" because so many songs have this chord progression. It is actually a little crazy how many tunes follow the pattern of C-G-Am-F. Also, there is the Doo Wop progression I-vi-IV-V or C-Am-F-G which is made up of the same chords. There are so many choices for 4 chord songs that below we will simply pick the easiest ones to represent them.

Chords you need to know:

basic guitar chords for easy songs

Barrè tip:If you find difficult playing the F major chord with full barrè (133211) you can always play it like this: XX3211

Earth Angel

The Penguins released the song Earth Angel in 1954 and it was one of the first songs to crossover from the rhythm and blues charts to the pop charts. Which along with a few other songs from that era helped pave the way for the Rock explosion. Doo Wop songs nearly always followed this same progression as Earth Angel.
Song Chords

Monster Mash

Yes of course this is a novelty song by Bobby Boris Pickett, but it is so easy to play and fun. Halloween really isn’t a holiday of many songs, so this is always a great one to know. And Monster Mash follows the exact progression as most other Doo Wop songs.
Song Chords . Note: the tab is in the key of G: G - Em - C - D, transpose it to C - Am - F - G

I'm Yours

This is the first song on this list to follow the exact “Axis of Awesome” progression as mentioned above. This was the first single released by Jason Mraz, and most of us have heard this tune plenty so it shouldn’t be too hard to play!
Song Chords

Hey Soul Sister

If you happen to play the ukulele along with the guitar you probably already know this song! However, it is another Axis of Awesome progression and still sounds great on the guitar. Like Nickelback some people love Train, some don’t… but this song will always impress at least half your audience!
Song Chords

Right Here Waiting

A little softer of a song so far than the rest on this list, this tune has been composed by Richard Marx back in the 80’s. He writes really catchy songs and they are always great for the guitar. Right Here Waiting is perfect for a beginner to play for a loved one.
Song Chords

No Woman No Cry

Bob Marley is truly a legend; one can only wonder what songs he would be writing today if he were still around. No Woman No Cry is not only four chords, it is a simple strum. It doesn’t have the ska feel of other reggae songs so it is often easier for a new player. This song is perfect for summer campfires, a must for any guitarist! If you notice in the chord link, there is a G/B chord. This is simply a G chord with a B note in the bass instead of a normal G. Until you are comfortable with that concept it is fine to play the normal G chord.
Song Chords. Note: in the tab you find the G/B chord, it means a G major with a B as a bass note. If you are a beginner you can simply play G major

Soul to Squeeze

This Red Hot Chili Peppers song was a B-side that happened to be an unexpected hit. The video was hugely popular being played in heavy rotation. If you know C, G, Am, and F this song is easy to play, a true crowd pleaser.
Song Chords. Note: the tab is in F major key (F - C - Dm - Bb), in C key you play these chords: C G Am F

Beast of Burden

This song was primarily written by Keith Richards for the Rolling Stones album Some Girls. This song almost uses a Doo Wop progression but leaves out the G at the end for most of the verses. By rarely using that last G chord it gives the song a completely different feel than a regular Doo Wop song.
Song Chords. The tab is in E major (E - B - C#m - A), in the key of C is C - G - Am - F

Save Tonight

This was the popular song by the Swedish rock musician Eagle Eye Cherry back in 1997. This particular tune is different than the other Axis of Awesome and Doo Wop tunes in that it starts in A minor. It uses the same four chords, but that slight switching up of the chords gives it a whole new vibe compared to the rest.
Song Chords

Hey Ya

Anyone alive in 2003 would have heard this song played all the time, the video was a huge hit. Later it was released as an acoustic version by the artist Obadiah Parker, that is why I have included it in this list, it is a great acoustic guitar song. Like the last one this song uses these 4 chords in a different way, ending on the A minor this time.
Song Chords

More resources useful to master chords

Ok, now you have new songs to include in your repertoire. In the list below you find some more resources that will help you getter better with chords. Happy practice!

If we add the E minor to chord to our 4 basic chords, we have other to learn.

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