G C and D chords, variations AND help with changing chords

In this acoustic guitar lesson series we’re going to learn to play TEN beginner guitar songs with the three most common guitar chords; G major, C major and D major. The writeup for this lesson is under the video.

Here are the 10 songs you can play with these 3 chords- click on any to choose your song!

The C chord

This chord is the biggest stretch we’ve done so far and is a totally new shape. It is however so common that you need to take the time to learn and be able to play it.

cmajor                         C chord photo

Common chord changes

G, C and D go together really well and are used in any order in a LOT of songs (as you’ll soon find from this level in the song lessons) We’ll look at why later. For now, we need to get the changes between them solid enough to play real songs. Practice changing for around a minute for each of the following;

  • G to C
  • C to D
  • G to D (a recap on the standard G to D change from level 3)

Oasis style chords and Cadd9

Here are the 2 most common ways to play a G chord that we learned at level 3. If you struggle with this Level a lot, I strongly suggest going to level 3 and learning at least 3 songs!

gmajor gmajor_noel

The first G is the easiest way to play a G. The alternative is common as it sounds good when changing to a D as the 3rd finger stays down.


This is where the Cadd9 comes in. G, C and D go together really well but can be difficult to change between as your fingers are changing to very different chord shapes all the time.

cmaj_noelCadd9 chord photo

Playing the big Oasis style G, a Cadd9 and a D means you can keep your 3rd finger down and the others don’t move as far.

This also means they can sound better and a lot of songs are played in this way.

G D Cadd9 change

You can even choose to play a Cadd9 in most cases even if the chord sheet says to play a normal C! However, this won’t always work, so a normal G and C and changes should be learned too.

Strumming for Level 5

In the next lesson we look at adding embellishments to out 8ths all down strumming. This includes accents on beats 2 + 4, along with some up strums too, making your songs sound really cool! Here is the lesson on  8th all down strumming embellishments

OR check out any of the songs you can play with just these three easy chords!

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