How to read song sheets

This beginner’s course will enable you to be able to search for the chords to any song and be able to play the rhythm guitar part. To do this we need to learn how to read song sheets and chord sequences. There are two main styles; Songbook Style and Bars and Beats style

N.B Songs can also be written in TAB aka TablIture. We’ll cover that later in this course.

Songbook style

This is where lyrics are written with chords above. There are no bar lines here, and strumming patterns are rarely given. This presumes a lot of knowledge of the song and requires the guitarist to sing along, feel the pulse (the beat) and work out where to changes chord on certain lyrics. The word are written out like a poem and chords can seem sporadically spaced, making it hard to spot patterns.

Bars and beats style

Similar to above, but with bar lines added, chords evenly spaced, and lyrics more spaced out/ crowded together (depending on how the song goes). This shows patterns in the song clearer, making it easier to learn.

Song Example- Achy Breaky Hear by Billy Rae Cyrus

Achy Breaky Heart by Billy Rae Cyrus Song Sheet.pdf

Here's the actual guitar lesson for Achy Breaky Heart!