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Guitar heavyweight champion Em is chord of the week

You can’t get a lower chord on your six string than the E minor (Em). It’s a heavyweight that demands and deserves attention and it’s an inspiration for musicians in every genre, because it possesses an almost infinite number of possibilities. Below you’ll find five songs that honor the diversity of this triad.

The E minor is part of the Em scale, that consists of the pitches E, F#, G, A, B, C and D. Don’t be afraid, we’re not going to bore you with difficult theories. The pitches serve as a mental note, to show that the songs in Em often contain the chords that derive from the scale they’re in.

Livin’ on a Prayer – Jon Bon Jovi 

Livin’ on a Prayer by the New Jersey band Bon Jovi is a classic from the ’80s. It’s also their first song to hit the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart. The track was released in 1986 on the record Slippery When Wet and to this day it’s one of Bon Jovi’s most famous songs.

Looking at the chord progression we see that the whole song consists of four chords, namely the Em, C, D, and G. There’s an interesting thing happening at the end, where the band transposes the chorus to a G minor chord. That’s why you see the same intervals but played higher. You don’t have to do this in a jam. Stick to the normal progression and it’s likely that nobody will notice. But it never hurts to try.

I’d Rather Be with You – Bootsy Collins 

I’d Rather Be with You by funk legend Bootsy Collins transmits a completely different vibe than Livin’ on a Prayer. The 1976 track is one of the most sampled songs in hip-hop. For example, 2Pac, Eazy-E and even Beyoncé used the song in their tracks.

The funk classic produced by Bootsy Collins and George Clinton is built around an interesting bass line. The foundation of the track is made up of the chords E, Em, A, Am, C, D and G. The transition from minor to major may seem strange, but in funk it’s common to play around with the third, because it adds punch to the groove.

Nights in White Satin – Moody Blues

Well it seems that the chord of the week has turned into a list of classics, so why not throw in another epic song like Nights in White Satin by the British band The Moody Blues. The song appeared on the 1967 album Days of Future Passed and it’s about the silk sheets that front man Justin Hayward got from a friend. The song is radiating unrequited love and desire.

The track is written in Em and the chord is also dominantly present alternating with D, A, C, G and F. In the bridge where the famous fluit solo can be heard we hear a transition to B, Am and B7. In your own jam you could choose to leave this part out.

Losing Your Mind – Raury and Jaden Smith

The song gathered fame as a title on the soundtrack of the Netflix series The Get Down. At first sight Losing Your Mind, written by Raury and Jaden Smith, doesn’t fit in our list of Em classics, or does it? You are right, the version used in The Get Down is a new track, but its inspiration comes from the hit Vitamin C from 1972 which was written by the German krautrock band CAN. Now that’s a classic.

The original chord progression doesn’t differ that much from the remix by Jaden Smith and Raury. We encounter the same trick that Bootsy Collins used, where he switched between thirds. This is not surprising as this track has a funky vibe and the bass line plays a leading role. We could argue that the composition is more about rhythm than about melody. Try it out for yourself.

Nothing Else Matters – Metallica

One of the most famous ballads from the nineties is perhaps Nothing Else Matters by Metallica. The track made so much impact that the band decided to re-release the track in 1999 in collaboration with a classical music orchestra.

The song contains a lot of technical strumming, but can ultimately be reduced to a few basic chords. The verse consists mainly of Em, C, D, G and the chorus of C, D and A. Therefore, this track is a perfect addition to your setlist. If you’re an advanced guitar player, try out some strumming. Otherwise, just stick to the chords. Happy jamming!

Chord of the week – Could there be a cooler triad than the C major?

The chord that you’ll find in almost every evergreen is the C major. This basic triad is an absolute must for any guitar player to master. That’s why the C is our ‘chord of the week’. Check our Instagram for more Chordify frenzy.

Yes nice huh, finally a chord that’s central to the piano’s tonal spectrum, as the E is for the guitar. Where the E forms the basis for the guitar, the C plays a similar role on the black and white keys of your Steinway or Bösendorfer. An octave on a piano does not go from E to E, but from C to C. This is a great opportunity to try Chordify out on a piano if you have the chance.

Skinny Love – Bon Iver

A song that completely embraces the key of C is the track Skinny Love from indie rocker Bon Iver. To simulate his specific sound on your own guitar, you’ll need to tune the instrument to an open C tuning. That means you’ll have to tune the strings from low to high as follows: C, G, E, G, C, C. If you do not want too much hustle and you still want to include this song in your jam set, just play it in the standard E tuning.

The chord progression is not very special. You can quickly see that there are five basic chords and a somewhat unusual triad. The Gsus4 is a barre chord in which the tone G and the tone C appear double in octave form. That is how they reinforce each other. This is no coincidence, because the G is the fifth step in the C scale. The harmony between the root and the fifth is better known as a power chord. In this case it’s a double power chord.

Wind of Change – Scorpions

Scorpions – that we’ve gotten acquainted with in our historical album of the month Tokyo Tapes – wrote a song in C that would later become the anthem of the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989. Wind of Change is not very difficult when it comes to chord progression, but it is certainly not easy either.

The difficulty is the timing and although the chords themselves are not too difficult, you do have to deal with a Dm and an F that follow each other. Since this is not a standard transition, it takes some practice to reposition your fingers in quick succession. Practice makes perfect. The same applies to the whistling part, by the way.

The Middle – Zedd, Maren Morris, Grey

Enough of the old folks’ music! It’s time for a fresh breeze, again from Germany. The Middle by the German producer Zedd in collaboration with singer Maren Morris and the music duo Grey has been in the Billboard charts for months now. Although we are talking about electropop here, the chords in the song are perfect for practicing your basics.

If you want to practice the most important chords of the pop industry at the top of your guitar neck, this is your track. Just check out the progression which takes you from D to G, C, Em, A, Am all the way to the E. All this at a fairly easy pace. See it as jogging on the guitar. It improves your stamina, your strength and your reflexes.

Never be the Same – Camila Cabello

Fun fact: singer Camila Cabello also auditioned for The Middle. After the rejection, Cabello knew she would Never be the Same again. Apart from all the craziness this Billboard-high-scoring-hit, just like the one mentioned above, is an ideal opportunity to practice the basics of chord progression.

Unlike the track by Zedd, here we see a number of chords that also belong to the basics, but are used less often. The Dm and the F, for example. The bridge of the song contains an A#, a Cm and a Gm. With these barre chords it is a matter of practicing strength and suppleness of your fingers in order to play the triad clearly.

Everything Now – Arcade Fire

The idea that everything resembles each other and is not very innovative is reflected in the lyrics of Everything Now by Arcade Fire. Of course this could be seen as justified criticism, but somehow we always know how to produce new-sounding tracks with a few chords. So it’s a bit true and a bit untrue.

This final song is a great exercise for the advanced guitar player to quickly grab easy and trickier chords in a row. The song itself has a laid-back feel and is therefore a fine addition to your jam. It even has a groovy ABBA riff on the piano, so if your piano keys are within reach don’t be afraid to tryout this track. Happy jamming!

The biggest gangster among the triads is the G major – chord of the week

There is no bigger G than the G major in the guitar universe. This triad fits in gangster hip-hop as well as in country and pop. That’s why this week we’re presenting the G major as chord of the week. Check out our Instagram for more chords.

When you’re beginning to play guitar one of the first handles you will learn is the G major. This chord, together with the D, C, A and E, makes up the basis of many songs. We’ve put together five tracks for you to jam along to, so you can learn which other fundamental root tones combine best with the G major by playing many songs in this key.

Wish You Were Lord – Pink Floyd

The song Wish You Were Here from Pink Floyd’s 1975 album with the same name is a must in every summer jam. The track is fresh and sounds cheerful at times, yet at the same time it is drenched in melancholy. This is due to the special combination of chords that all fall into the key of G major. Think for example of an E minor seven or an A7sus4. This is a good moment to overcome the fear of these difficult names and to strike the chords themselves. That doesn’t sound too bad now, does it?

Sweet Home Alabama – Lynyrd Skynyrd

For the beginning guitarist Sweet Home Alabama by Lynyrd Skynyrd is a great opportunity to practice the basics. With chords like Em, A, D, G and F you get all the G major standard combinations in one song. For the advanced guitarist the challenge is to play along with the licks. Actually, learning to play Sweet Home Alabama is like killing two birds with one stone. Kid Rock was inspired by this song for his own track All Summer Long. So you kind of learn to play both. Try it.

The Rain Song – Led Zeppelin

As an advanced guitarist you sometimes need a little challenge, but you don’t want to sound too mushy. If that’s the case The Rain Song is the track you’re looking for. If you don’t have any plans for the weekend, just grab the chord scheme and take your time. Pay close attention to the way Jimmy Page subtly blends a G minor into a G minor seven, which then seamlessly flows into a C minor. The trick is to listen carefully and to keep practicing.

Banana Pancakes – Jack Johnson

If you’re going to chill on the beach this summer with your guitar, then this song by surfer boy Jack Johnson is a good addition to your jam. In this track Johnson uses a lot of seven chords. These have a dreamy sound and provide the atmosphere that is so characteristic of the song. Don’t be deterred by an A7, G7 or D7. As you can see here, in a seven chord less is more.

White Iverson – Post Malone

Did we say that the G major lends itself to every genre? You can see that in this track by Post Malone as well. White Iverson is just like Banana Pancakes and Wish You Were Here dreamy and groovy. You would almost expect that this song also consists of seven chords. The opposite is true. The Post Malone track is made up out of relatively standard chords.

Surprise the audience around the campfire with this less obvious song, even though the vocals are a lot harder to master than the accompaniment. Happy jamming!

Shine around the campfire with these tracks in D major – chord of the week

Have you checked out our Instagram account? That’s where, if you follow us, we’ll update you weekly with a ‘chord of the week.’ This week is all about the D major. Read below to find five tracks that are based on this chord. Ideal for a rock circle around the campfire.

Everybody knows the D major, right? Yes, we’re talking about the inverted triangle-shaped chord played on the G, B and high E string. This chord sounds clear, cheerful and fresh. It is often a good addition to songs written in the keys G, C or A minor. This week the D major is not an addition, but at the center of attention.

Brown Eyed Girl – Van Morrison

When everyone’s cuddling up at the campfire, it’s always good to include some old-school tracks in your repertoire. How about Brown Eyed Girl by Van Morrison. The song consists of the four basic chords G, C, D and E minor. It’s ideal for novice guitarists and a guaranteed success. Who can stay quiet during the bridge: “Jalalalalalaaaladida, brown eyed girl!” No one, of course. Start practicing.

No Woman – Whitney

For the more advanced beginner it’s important to practice the basic chords as well as the more difficult barre handles. A song like No Woman by the band Whitney is perfect for this kind of training. In this track we find the well-known open chords E, Em, A, D and G. The challenge lies in the B and the B minor. Both chords are a barre grip. The only difference is the third. If you look closely you can see the resemblance between the Am and the A, only now played two frets higher. Try it out.

Let Her Go – Passenger

Did you know that British singer songwriter Michael David Rosenberg played in a band called Passenger? After the band fell apart in 2009, Rosenberg decided to keep the name for his solo project. Under that name he released the track Let Her Go in 2012. The song was in the top three of the Billboard charts for months. It’s a track that fits in every summer jam. Like Whitney’s song, Let Her Go is composed almost entirely out of basic chords, with the exception of B.

Mamma Mia – Abba

The Swedish heroes are back. Celebrate this cheerful news with an Abba jam. How about grooving to the song Mamma Mia from 1975. Although the track initially sounds bombastic, the basis is just  piano and guitar. We can reduce the core to just a few chords: D, G, A and C. As you can see here, there are also a number of lesser known chords in the track. This is a good opportunity to try them out.

Time to Pretend – MGMT

If you want to score a big hit, keep it simple. This motto certainly applies to MGMT. Time to Pretend is the shining example of this. When you look at the chord scheme you’ll immediately notice how the song evolves around the D, G and A, with a little exception in the bridge where the band plays an F-sharp minor. Because of the quick alternation of chords, this song is a good exercise for both beginning and advanced guitarists. Happy jamming!