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Songbooks - So Many Chords!

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Trusted Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 48
Topic starter  

I am a beginner trying to get to the point where I can accompany a singer with rhythm guitar with a basic strumming-style. I've got several songbooks that show the chords above the lyrics/music. For many of the songs, there seems to be so many chords – almost one per beat per measure in some cases. Now, when I listen to the recorded version of these songs, I don't hear nearly as many chord changes in the guitar. Nor do I even hear full chords being played sometimes. So there seems to me be a huge difference between what the songbook is suggesting and what actually gets played in the recorded version. Where's the rub? Is there some formula to use to simplify what the songbook suggests? Play less chords? Arpeggigate them? Perhaps I'm just not hearing all that is really going on in the recording? Perhaps I just need to practice, practice, practice to the point where I can make so many chord changes quickly and easily? As you can see, I'm generally confused about this. Any insight is appreciated.

Praise the LORD with the harp; make music to him on the ten-stringed lyre. Sing to him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy. For the word of the LORD is right and true; he is faithful in all he does. Psalm 33:2-4

Prominent Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 973

Are you sure those are chords that you're reading? One chord per beat is possible but not so common in the kind of simpler songs that you, as a beginner, are probably attempting. I know you can't post copyright material here, but tell us some of those songs that you think are changing chord on every beat. Maybe we can check for you.

Noble Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 2261

I know you can't post copyright material here...
You can post small parts of anyothing copyrighted, as "fair use". Maybe a couple of good examples? - Guitar Chord/Scale Finder/Viewer

Reputable Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 397

One thing this question made me think of was Stephen Stills' "Change Partners." The book I learned it from many moons ago, 110 Super Songs of the Super Stars (ISBN 1111108110, if you want to go looking for one), shows what looks like a chord change on every other note in the intro. But you're basically just going back and forth between an A and an Asus4, then an E-E6-E7-E6. It can make that little pinky finger a star! :lol:
Believe me, it'll come to you with time and practice. (If I can do it, almost anyone should be able to. :roll: )

Honorable Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 536

are you sure the chords aren't 1 per bar?
maybe try some of the beginner lessons on this site, as well s the easy songs forum