Happy Spring, Time for music

Finding Song Chords on Web

Instructions for getting chords for many popular songs using Ultimate Guitar.com song chords


Ultimate Guitar.com has hundreds of thousands of songs with Guitar chords and Guitar tablature (TAB). The songs are fully legal (Ultimate Guitar has a legal agreement with a major song rights agency.) Note; some parts of Ultimate Guitar require subscription. The parts we are using are free as of this writing.

Strumstick can’t use guitar TAB (a way of writing music down by numbers instead of standard music notation) but we can use the guitar Chord Names, as long as the chords are in key of D or G. Ultimate Guitar has a transpose function that lets you change the key of a song to any desired key. That is very useful since you will want the songs in key of D or G.

This is easy to do, and opens a wealth of songs to be played by strumming chords on the Strumstick.

Here is a step by step example, with a sample song.

 

A. Getting Words and Chords:

Step 1. Go to www.ultimate-guitar.com

The Front page is very busy with news, articles, and ads, but there is a Search Bar a little way down next to the word “TABS”

Step 2. Search for the song title you would like to play.

Illustration: “Margaritaville”, by Jimmy Buffett (We show more sample songs below)

Step 3. Numerous versions appear.

Select one with type “chords” (not TAB). If there are more than one, select one with 4 or 5 stars; let’s choose the first “chord” version with 5 stars. After the page opens, you will see lyrics, with chord letters over the words.

We can see chords D, A, D, D7, then G A D. There are lots of D’s, G’s, A’s and some D7’s. This song is presented in key of D, thats why you’ll see lots of D, G, and A chords. In some "D" songs you might see some Bm and Em also, but especially D, G, and A (or A7).
About chord names:
D means D major
D7 means D seventh
Bm means B minor

Margaritaville here is already in key of D, perfect for the D Strumstick (we’ll see what to do for the G Strumstick in a moment). Strum while fingering the appropriate Strumstick chord (see chords page), and change chords when you get to the next chord as you follow or sing the lyrics. D Strumstick Most used chords here:
Note: Use your judgement when to change chords, sometimes the chord names are well lined up with the words, sometimes they are shifted left or right. Do what sounds best to you.

Step 4. Transposing: Changing the Key if needed:

To change this from key of D to key of G (for the G Strumstick), we have to “Transpose” the song to a new key. Ultimate -Guitar makes this easy by using the Transpose function, fourth box down on the left side. You simply press the up or down arrows in the box. Each press of an arrow raises or lowers the key by one halftone. If we know how many halftones from D to G (5 up, or 7 down) we could do it mathematically, but lets say we don’t know. Here’s how to get to the key of G from the key of D, without any music theory knowledge:

We want the D’s, G’s and A’s (Key of D) to turn into G’s, C’s, and D’s respectively (for Key of G). Click the up arrow several times, until the first D turns into a G, and you see lots of G, D, and A (or A7) chords over the lyrics. Now you have chords in key of G you can use for the G Strumstick.

You might have noticed the first chord went from D to D# on the first click, then E, then F, F# then G. If you think that means that there are 5 halftones from D up to G, you are right! Did you notice there is no E# between E and F? You just learned some music theory!

You also could have transposed down, D,C#,C, B, A#, A, G#, G.

Hey, where is the B#? Nope, C and B are only one halftone apart. You just leaned another piece of music theory!

Key of G uses the chords G, C, D (or D7), Em, Am, Bm, and sometimes F.

Key of D uses D, G, A (or A7), Bm, Em, F#m, and sometimes C

Songs in D or G might use other chords than these too, but these are the most likely, in order of frequency.

B. Chord Substitutions:

If you see a chord you don’t know on Strumstick, look at our extensive online chord diagrams. Use the diagrams for the Strumstick you are using (Either the D or the G).

Alternatively, you can often substitute one you do know.
In a practical sense, there are two types of chords, Major and minor. This is a simplification, but a useful one.
Chord types like 7 (seventh), maj7 (major seventh), 6 (sixth), sus4 (suspended4th) can all be replaced by a simple Major. Example: G7, Gmaj7, G6, Gsus4 can often be replaced by a simple G.

Chords like m7 (minor seventh) can be replaced by a simple
minor. Example: Em7 can be replace by Em

Substitution may make a different sound, but will usually work out well enough for you to do the song.

 

18 more song samples:

1. Brown Eyed Girl by Van Morrison
The song is presented in key of G, which you can tell by the G, C D, and Em. Just right for the G Strumstick.
For the D Strumstick, click the Down transpose arrow 5
times, and you will see D, G, A, and Bm

2. Free Bird by Lynrd Skynrd
This is in Key of G, play them as you see them for the G Strumstick. Notice it uses an F chord a lot.
For D Strumstick: transpose DOWN 5 half tones, D A Bm C G A
Notice it uses the C chord a lot

3. I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For by U2
This is in C#.
For D Strumstick, transpose UP 1 halftone, D A G D etc.
For The G Strumstick transpose UP 6 halftones, G D C G etc.

4. Bad Moon Rising by Creedence Clearwater Revival
This is in Key of D, for D Strumstick play it like it is.
For G Strumstick, transpose UP 5 halftones, G D C G etc

5. Another Brick In The Wall Pt2 by Pink Floyd
First chord is a Dm, suggesting it is in key of Dm
The D Strumstick can play easily in key of Bm, the G strumstick likes Em.
For G Strumstick: transpose UP 2 halftones to Em (chords Em, A, then G, D, Em
For D Strumstick: transpose DOWN 3 halftones to Bm (chords Bm, E, then D, A, Bm)

6. House of The Rising Sun (trad, The Animals)
The song starts with Am. That suggests that it is in key of Am.
The D Strumstick can play easily in key of Bm, the G strumstick likes Em.
For D Strumstick: transpose UP 2 halftones , changing Am C D F to
Bm D E G, etc
For G Strumstick: transpose DOWN 5 halftones, changing chords to
Em G A C, etc.

7. Hotel California by The Eagles
This one is trickier, it uses a bunch of chords and it starts with a minor chord.
The first chord is Am. For the G strumstick, change that to Em, by adding 7 halftones (click the up arrow 7 times). (Em, B, D, A, C, G, Am, B)
For the D Strumstick, change it to Bm by adding 2 halftones.
(Bm, F#, A, E, G, D, Em, F#)
Remember you can substitute a Major chord for a Seventh chord (F# for F#7, or B for B7, or E for E7, etc.

8. Free Falling by Tom Petty
For D Strumstick, play it as it is.
For The G Strumstick, use the transpose UP arrow to go up 5 halftones, chords will be G C D etc.


9. Go Your Own Way by Fleetwood Mac
For G Strumstick play it as is.
For D Strumstick, use the DOWN transpose arrow to lower it by 5 halftones, Chords will be D A G D etc.

10. Jet Airliner by Steve Miller
This is in C;
For the D Strumstick, use the transpose UP arrow to raise it by 2 halftones. Notice the C chord in spots.
For G Strumstick use the transpose UP arrow to raise it by 7 half tones.
Notice the F chord in spots.

11. Let It Be by The Beatles
This is in C;
For D Strumstick, use the transpose UP arrow to raise it by 2 halftones
For the G Strumstick, use the transpose UP arrow to raise it by 7 halftones

12. Take It Easy by The Eagles
This is in G
For G Strumstick, play it like it is.
For the D Strumstick, use the transpose DOWN arrow to lower it by 5 halftones.

13. One Love by Bob Marley
This is in A;
For the G Strumstick, use the transpose UP arrow to raise it by 2 halftones.
For the D Strumstick, use the transpose Up arrow to raise it by 5 halftones.

14. Wonderwall by Oasis
This is in Em;
For the G Strumstick play it just as it is.
For the D Strumstick, use the transpose DOWN arrow to lower it by 5 halftones. (Bm D A Em)

15. Good Riddance (Time of Your Life) by Greenday
This is in G
For G Strumstick play it as it is.
For the D Strumstick, use the transpose UP arrow to raise it by 5 halftones
(D G A D etc

16. Landslide by Fleetwood Mac
This is in C;
For the D Strumstick, use the transpose UP arrow to raise it by 2 halftones.
Remember A can substitute for A7.
For the G Strumstick, use the transpose DOWN arrow to lower it by 5 halftones. Remember D can substitute for G7

17. Knocking on Heaven's Door by Bob Dylan
This is in G; For G Strumstick play it like it is. Substitute Am for Am7
For the D Strumstick, use the transpose DOWN arrow to lower it by 5 halftones. Substitute Em for Em7.

18. Don’t Stop Believing by Journey
This is in E;
For the D Strumstick, use the transpose DOWN arrow to lower it by 2 halftones.
For the G Strumstick, use the transpose UP arrow to raise it by 3 halftones.