4 Chord Guitar Songs – GUITARHABITS

by GuitarDomain

Last Updated on November 24, 2021 by Klaus Crow

Learning to play guitar can seem a bit challenging, but did you know you can play millions of songs with just four easy guitar chords? Yes you can, absolutely!

With 4 simple guitar chords you can play songs from any genre like pop, rock, campfire or 60’s songs. Choose your pick.

4 Chords for Most Songs

The 4 chords, 4 chord progression and 4 chord songs are related to the 80/20 principle. It means that 20% of causes / input (20% of all chords and progressions) leads to 80% of results / output (80% of the songs). The 80/20 principle, als called the Pareto principle, can be applied to all things in life, and for guitar playing we can see it in learning 4 chord songs.

There are a few basic chords that you need to learn. With those basic chords you can build the most common 4-chord-progressions to play almost any song you want.

4 Chord Progressions

You can build a 4 chord progression from the notes of the major scale or natural minor scale. In music we use roman numerals to indicate the order of chords in a chord progression. Let’s take the chords built of the C Major scale for example – The key of C:

I = C Major
ii = D minor
iii = E minor
IV = F Major
V = G Major
vi = A minor
vii = Bdim.

Now one of the most common 4 chord progression is I – V – vi – IV ( 1 – 5 – 6 – 4 ) If we follow the numeral numbers in the key of C we end up with the chord progression: C – G – Am – F. You can follow this chord progression throughout the whole song.

If you check out the songs in the list below you can already see plenty of songs with this chord progression, but if you take the chord progression I – V – vi – IV and run it through the key of G you get: G – Em – C – D. So in a different key you get a different set of chords but it contains the same chord structure. You can play the same song in different keys if you like.

If you look at the progression in the list below you also see different chord progression in the same key. There are lots of them just in a different order. Ed Sheeran’s song “Perfect” follows the chord progression: I – vi – iv – V ( G – Em – C – D ). If we translate that chord progression I – vi – iv – V to the key of C you get: C – Am – F – G. You can do this with any key.

Below the song-chart you can see examples of the I – vi – iv – V chord progression in major keys and i – VI – III – VII in minor keys. There are 12 keys in total but to make life easier for you I’ve just formulated the most easy key progressions.

4 Chord Songs

Now you know the music theory behind the progressions it’s time to play some easy 4 chord songs. Click on the song titles to see the video guitar lessons, click on “Chords” for the lyrics & chords to the song, and in the last row you can see the 4 chord progression for the entire song. If you want a strumming pattern to go with song check out Basic Strumming Patterns for Guitar

Enjoy the songs!

4 Chord Pop Songs

We start off with some 4 chord pop songs from 2000 to 2021. As you can see the best pop songs all use the same chord progression. Pop is also the style of music that makes the most use of the famous 4 chord progression. The ear likes that sequence of chords. It just sound really good.

4 Chord Rock Songs

There are plenty of pop, alternative and classic rock songs that also use the 4 chord progression, although bands like Linking park, Greenday and Offspring often use power chords instead of open or bar chords.

4 Chord Campfire Songs

4 chord “G-Em-C-D” progressions are perfect for Campfire songs. You want perform a song that you can easily play and sing along without having to think about all the different chord transitions throughout the song. Simplicity is key here. If you want to you can even string all the songs together and play it as a whole. It’s going to be a great night at the campfire!

4 Chord Beatles Songs

In the chart below you can find some Beatles songs using only four chords. While not all the songs use one and the same chord progression throughout the whole song it does only take four chords to play the songs. Have fun!

4 Chord Song Keys

Let’s take a look at the most common and easy 4 chord progressions in different keys. We’ve got songs starting in the key C, G, D, A and E using the I – vi – iv – V chord progression and songs starting on Am, Dm and Em using the i – VI – III – VII chord progression.

Key Progression Chords
C I – vi – iv – V C – Am – F – G
G I – vi – iv – V G – Em – C – D
D I – vi – iv – V D – Bm – G – A
A I – vi – iv – V A – F#m – D – E
E I – vi – iv – V E – C#m – A – B
Key Progression Chords
Am i – VI – III – VII Am – F – C – G
Dm i – VI – III – VII Dm – Bb – F – C
Em i – VI – III – VII Em – C – G – D

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