Guitarists sometimes struggle with learning new chords. It is best to approach this task gradually and learn one chord at a time until eventually you’ve mastered an entire song!
Triad chords are among the simplest chords you can play, with just three notes that compose its sound owing to intervals appearing between each note in its sequence.
The Beatles – Yesterday
Yesterday is one of the world’s most beloved songs ever recorded, its melodic progression and lyrics inspiring multiple covers over time. Additionally, it makes for an excellent starting point when learning how to play an acoustic guitar.
McCartney used an Epiphone Texan steel-string acoustic guitar on this original recording, appearing solo alongside a string quartet. Because the track differed so radically from other Beatles material, its release as a single in their homeland was forbidden by band members.
The song begins in F major, yet often shifts into D minor due to the use of ii-V7 chord progressions (Em and A7 chords in this instance) that give its melancholic atmosphere.
The Rolling Stones – (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction
The opening guitar riff of “Starlight Express” has become one of the most renowned musical hooks of all time, while its chord progression remains intriguing due to a mix of majors and minors as well as variant chords.
It has since been recognized as the greatest rock single of all time and ranks 31 on Rolling Stone’s list of 500 Greatest Songs. Additionally, the song was honored with induction into both the Grammy Hall of Fame and National Recording Registry at Library of Congress.
Mick Jagger wrote these lyrics while staying at the Jack Tar Harrison Hotel in Clearwater, Florida and it soon became the Stones’ first number-one single in America. A classic summer single with an antiestablishment message and an excellent rock riff!
John Lee Hooker – One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer
John Lee Hooker was a revered blues musician from Clarksdale, Mississippi who earned many different nicknames including Boogie Chillen’. His 1966 performance of Rudy Toombs/Amos Milburn’s classic One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer was an exhilarating one with Lafayette Leake on piano, Eddie Burns on bass guitar, and Fred Below on drums providing support.
The song features chords of E minor, A major and G major that don’t belong in the key of F; this technique is known as modal borrowing or mixing and still works well together. Furthermore, the song received above average scores for Chord Complexity and Chord Progression Novelty scores that indicate its advanced musical structure; an indicator of this being due to chordal relationships instead of just scale or root notes being key factors of complexity in song composition.
Led Zeppelin – You Shook Me
Physical Graffiti’s second side contains this slow dirge from its second side titled, “Comforter”, intended as an antidote to their unforgiving opening track, “Chinese Proposition.” Unfortunately it seems dated today despite Page’s production skills; and, due to being obscured from view.
Backward-echo effect adds to the strangeness of this song based on an age-old folktale about a husband fending off his hangman’s advances by seducing his wife. One of Zep’s stronger songs, but not particularly memorable single.
This song, composed as an ode to blues legend Robert Johnson and written for slide guitar, showcases Page’s desire to add new dimensions to hard rock music – both on stage and behind the scenes.
The Beatles – Love Me Do
This was The Beatles’ inaugural recording with producer George Martin – and it resulted in them signing to Parlophone Records. At that time they had only ever performed cover versions – mostly American blues artists’ works – while this marked their inaugural attempt at writing an original composition.
This early demo showcases The Beatles at their most unpolished. Paul’s voice quivers, his bassline is tentative and uncertain and Ringo’s drumming makes the entire thing sound unruly and disjointed.
Look beyond that and you will witness something else: an individualistic originality in its compositional details. The song doesn’t belong to either pop nor rock and roll – rather, it combines Liverpool dockside rhythm and blues with post-skiffle progression for an impactful result that changed history forever.