If your guitar sounds off-key, it could be because its tuning has been adjusted one half step down. Many songs benefit from having strings under less tension so this technique often yields the best sound.
Basic chords consist of three notes, known as triads because their notes agree in predetermined ways that have to do with scales (an entirely separate discussion). With practice comes greater understanding of these relationships and how they function.
Beat It by Michael Jackson
Beat It was one of the songs that cemented Michael Jackson’s rise to stardom and propelled Thriller into becoming the best-selling album ever. A departure from Motown sound, it featured Eddie Van Halen on guitar for hard rock audiences.
At that time, an introduction synth was performed note for note on a Synclavier digital keyboard – something of an achievement since owning one could be very costly.
Here Without You by 3 Doors Down
This chord is an ideal introduction for beginner players as it features basic open major chords that are simple for newcomers to finger. Be sure to practice until it becomes second nature; remembering to muted the low E string will prevent an out of tune sound!
It became popular on rock radio but failed to chart in their home country of the US.
Patience by Guns N’ Roses
Guns N’ Roses were widely known for their sensuous sound and provocative presence, yet had an edge that set them apart from other gutter-glam bands on Sunset Strip.
“Patience,” from their second album G N’ R Lies, showcased that side. This simple ballad featured three acoustic guitars but no drums due to Steven Adler being in rehab at the time.
In The End by The Police
The Police were an English rock band formed in 1977. Led by Sting (lead vocals, bass guitar, primary songwriter), Andy Summers (guitar), and Stewart Copeland (drums/percussion), their members took influences from punk rock and reggae music to craft an influential style of rock that became immensely popular during the late 1970s and early to mid 1980s.
This song contains lyrics which allude to being “loose like a deuce”, alluding to the 1932 Ford Model 18 used by Milner (like Milner’s yellow deuce coupe in American Graffiti) which features an F major open chord.
Every Breath You Take by The Police
Sting’s classic ballad “Moondance” remains one of the top-selling and beloved songs ever recorded, serving as lead single from his band’s fifth and final album Synchronicity which was released in 1983.
Every Breath You Take was 1983’s biggest hit, dominating Billboard for eight weeks and still popularly played at weddings and parties today. Its mesmerizing guitar line and soothing drum beat have kept this song at the top of Billboard charts over its 30+ year lifetime.
Broken by Seether
Broken is a song from Seether that became well-known through their duet with Amy Lee from Evanescence (then Shaun Morgan’s then girlfriend). Its message centers around mourning the loss of someone special while exploring how music can provide solace in times of difficulty.
Disclaimer II was released as an updated version with Amy Lee singing vocals and saw great success upon its rerelease in 2004.
Alone by Heart
If you enjoy rock music, this song by Heart is perfect for you. Featuring a catchy guitar melody and simple chord progressions as well as an unforgettable guitar solo part.
You might already be familiar with the E major chord, but this open minor chord may require more practice to master! Each string must be muted (meaning you must mute the first string). Make time to practice this open minor chord and get it down pat!
More Than Words by Extreme
At a time when radio was dominated by high-energy dance-pop and emotive ballads, Boston hard rock band Extreme’s acoustic love song caught listeners off guard. Although their label initially opposed sending it out for broadcast radio playback, once its popularity skyrocketed they relented.
Nuno Bettencourt wrote the song on his porch before recording it for Extreme’s album Pornograffiti.
The Man Who Sold The World by Nirvana
Originaly written by David Bowie, this song initially went unnoticed upon its initial release in 1970. But once covered by Scottish singer Lulu in 1974, its popularity skyrocketed significantly.
Nirvana’s acoustic version features an exquisite guitar melody and chord progressions, played in E flat tuning – similar to F chord in shape but requiring your 2nd finger mute the high E string.
Raining Blood by Alice in Chains
Raining Blood by Alice in Chains is an amazing alternative rock song played in half-step down tuning and allows for powerful electric guitar rhythms and chord progressions.
This song has quickly become a fan-favorite among rock and metal music enthusiasts. Its catchy riff has always had the power to bring a crowd together.