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Whether you’re learning guitar, bass or piano, this is the first three-chord progression you should learn. There are a variety of ways to incorporate these three chords in songs. It’s a long-time favorite progression for songwriters. Below are links to songs you can sound out using only G, C and D major chords.

1) Sweet Home Alabama from Lynyrd Skynyrd is D – C – G – G.  There are a couple of places where they play a quick F to C in place of the second G chord, but you can ignore those changes. They’re a minor detail. This song is basically a three-chord treadmill.

2) Werewolves of London by Warren Zevon  has a chord progression and a groove  that’s similar to Sweet Home Alabama. If you can sound out Sweet Home, then you should have no problem with this one.

3) All Summer Long by Kid Rock is a close copy of the arrangement for Werewolves of London, even though the lyric is a tribute to Sweet Home. If you’ve got Werewolves, then you’ve got this one. (I’ll be honest, I can’t stand this song.)

4) Can’t You See by The Marshall Tucker Band  This is another three-chord treadmill. The progression is D – C – G – D. That means D is the long chord. Four-bar, three-chord progressions which begin and end on the same chord can be confusing at first. (Dani California and Mary Jane’s Last Dance are examples of four-bar progressions that begin and end with the same chord.)

5) Already Gone by The Eagles  This is another three-chord treadmill with a progression of
G – D – C – C.

6) Leaving On a Jet Plane by John Denver is more complicated than the first three examples. This progression goes from G to C three times, before going to the D chord for two counts.

7) Love Me Do by The Beatles

8) Rain by The Beatles  The progression is complicated, even though there are only three chords. Try to sound out the changes. As in the previous examples, there’s more G and C, and not as many D chords.

9) All Together Now by The Beatles  Again, more G and C chords than D chords.

10) Feel Like Makin’ Love by Bad Company  There is a stray F chord, but you can play it as an alteration of the D chord for now.

Time Has Come Today by the Chambers Brothers

[Hound Dog C F G]

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