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Hey there, budding guitarists. I’m Thomas Michaud. Thanks for joining me in my five-video series “Guitar Songs to Learn” for beginning guitar.
This first one, “Stand By Me” by Ben King, is a great one to learn by guitarists because it uses a very standard chord progression that’s used in lots of songs in its era, and if you watch all the way to the end, I’m going to show you first a basic, easy version of this song and I’ll throw in a cool little lick at the end to show you something you can actually work for. Let’s get going.
Welcome back. Let’s do the basic chord progression. Four chords, the G-chord, the E-minor, the C-chord and the D. Finger the G-chord any way you want, but I like to use the one with my pinky. Easier to get to the E-minor and C from there. Up to you.
Let’s play that chord progression nice and slow. Four chords, four strums … to the E-minor … C … and D. That’s about 99% of that song.
There’s one part at the end of the “Stand By Me” chorus where it goes from … at the end, it goes from the G, back to the D and play the D a couple more times. I’m going to show you where that is. First, let’s do a simple strum to go with this. Make your G-chord and here’s the strum. It’s down … mute … down … mute, and there’s a little syncopation there.
You can try to get it by imitating me and playing along with the video. If you want, look at my series, Basic Guitar Chords, and I do a more detailed version of that strum and spend a little more time on it.
For now, we’re going to put the two together. Listen.
Try that with me. Nice and slow. We’re just going to do G, E-minor, C and D. Ready, go. To G, then two E-minors … one C … one D … and then G. Here’s the ending part. Listen … and then, start again. That’s the whole song.
Ready for a cool lick? I wouldn’t call this a beginning lick, but to give you something to work for. Check it out.
Not that hard.
First, the six-string, I’m going three notes, that’s open E, F-sharp, that’s the second fret and then third finger G, then make the G-chord. I just hit that G-note again in the third fret. Then I go down, the same notes, and make the E-minor chord. Open E there, that’s the open E base note. Then to the C, that’s the fifth string. That’s open second fret and third fret. Then, open D-string, that’s the fourth string, and then start over. That’s the whole lick.
Listen again. You can try playing along if you want.
Thank you for joining me, that was fun. I look forward to seeing you in the next video.
Take care for now. Bye.
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Tomas Michaud is a world class guitarist, recording artist, and music educator. He is the owner and Music Director of the SF Bay Area’s premier music education facility, Starland Music Center in Alameda, CA. As a Music Educator he has taught or consulted with thousands of students and instructors over the past thirty years. He is credited with developing the Starland Guitar System — a unique, systematic approach to learning to play guitar with ease and confidence. In addition he is the author of six CDs of Contemporary Instrumental World Music including his latest top ten charting “Beauty and Fire”.
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