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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!

Five chords that will turn every campfire into a rockshow

The days are getting longer, the temperatures are rising, and the flowers are in bloom–enough reasons to light up a campfire, grab your guitar and burst into song. To turn every campfire into a rock show, we’ve drawn up five chords with which you can play almost any pop song.

The holy grail of the pop industry has always been based on only five basic chords. “No, that can’t be true”, we hear you thinking. Yes, it can! From Lady Gaga’s Poker Face to Van Morrisons’ Brown Eyed Girl. You can play them all with five basic chords.

Intervals

The secret of the five chords is not the specific chord diagram, but the interval between the chords. Let’s take a look at Poker Face by Lady Gaga. If you click here you will see that the original track is in G-sharp Minor. But what happens when you click on the capo tool and place it on the fourth fret as shown on the picture below?

Indeed, you see that the chords suddenly changed to the very basic E/Em, C, D, and G chords. Logically, you can now just play the song at the top of the guitar neck. The only difference is that you no longer sing in the tricky G-sharp Minor, but in E Minor.

 

The secret of the five chords

When we talk about five basic chords, we’re talking about the D/Dm, the A/Am, the G/Gm, E/Em, and C/Cm chords. Now we hear you thinking again: “These are ten chords!” Well, yes and no. When you look at the construction of basic chords, you see that the minor or major is determined by only the third (interval).

The root and fifth remain the same, so you’re really talking about an almost identical chord with a different mood. For the sake of convenience, therefore, we have taken the root note of the basic chords as our starting point. Another secret of the five chords is that they occur more often in a combination of four than all five at the same time.

Campfire hit

Let’s see how that works for different songs. Take, for example, Rockstar ft. 21 Savage by Post Malone. As with the Lady Gaga example, the first thing you see is an impressive display of chords that you probably didn’t know existed. Press the capo tool, place it on the third fret, and voila!

These are simply basic chords again! Yes, there is indeed a strange C major seventh in there, but if you look closely it is actually a simplified C: the chord diagram resembles the “normal” C major chord, only the index finger on the B-string is missing. In other words, you can play the standard C chord and choose whether or not to fret the B-string.

Capo Tool

In short: don’t be fooled by chords that initially seem difficult. It’s not a disaster that you don’t know what an A-sharp major seventh is. Play around a little with the capo tool and you can transpose this chord to a more understandable pitch, such as C.

Caution! In theory, you don’t have to put a capo on your guitar, you can just use the tool to see if you can convert a song to the recognizable five chords that you can then just grab at the top of the guitar neck (also called ‘first position’).

Simplicity is key

If you still end up with more difficult chords, always look at the fundamentals like the root tone and at the third. Returning to the C major seventh from the Post-Malone track, you know that the root is a C and that this chord is in major. In other words, you can simplify the chord by playing a normal C major.

Simplicity is key when jamming at the campfire. Remember this and apply it to every song you want to play. This way you change every campfire you sit at into a real rock show. Try it out and if you need more inspiration check out the YouTube video above. Happy jamming!