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83 Two-Chord Songs

"Try hearing where the chords change"*
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1 and 5 Chords: G and D, C and G, etc.

Popular Bluegrass Songs

  • Handsome Molly
  • Shady Grove
  • John Henry
  • Little Birdie
  • Hot Corn Cold Corn
  • Reuben's Train/Train 45
  • Bringing in the Georgia Mail
  • Fire Ball Mail
  • Jimmie Brown the Newsboy
  • I'll Go Steppin' Too
  • Katy Daley
  • You Are My Flower
  • On My Mind
  • Get In Line Brother
  • Will You Be Lonesome Too
  • Somehow Tonight
  • My Home's Across the Blue Ridge Mountains
  • I'm Going Back to Old Kentucky
  • Working on a Building
  • Wild Bill Jones
  • Pretty Polly
  • Stay All Night
  • Ashes of Love
  • Driving Nails in My Coffin
  • Pretty Fair Maid in the Garden
  • Darling Corey
  • Buffalo Gals
  • Where the Soul Never Dies
  • What Would You Give in Exchange for Your Soul
  • Mansions for Me
  • Poison Love

Other Bluegrass

  • Sharecropper's Son
  • Standing in the Need of Prayer
  • Lonely Tombs
  • Old Gospel Ship
  • There's No Hiding Place Down Here
  • See That My Grave Is Kept Green (or Clean)
  • Hear Jerusalem Moan
  • Who's That Knocking At My Door
  • I'll Be There
  • Don't Lie to Me
  • Walking in My Sleep
  • It's Too Late to Walk the Floor
  • Kentucky Girl
  • I Just Think I'll Go Away
  • I'm Gonna Love You Like There's No Tomorrow
  • It Ain't Gonna Rain No More
  • It's Goodbye and So Long to You
  • I Might Take You Back Again
  • Mountain Folk
  • Keep Your Lamp Trimmed and Burning
  • Hold to God's Unchanging Hands
  • The Old Crossroads

Favorite Country Songs

  • Take Me Back to Tulsa
  • Jambalaya
  • Pistol Packin' Mama
  • Honky Tonkin'
  • Waltz Across Texas
  • I Love You a Thousand Ways
  • Crazy Heart

Favorite Folk Songs

  • Tom Dooley
  • Puttin' On The Style
  • He's Got The Whole World In His Hands
  • Boll Weevil
  • Skip To My Lou
  • Shortnin' Bread
  • Go Tell Aunt Rhody
  • Down In The Valley
  • Clementine
  • Buffalo Gals
1 and 4 Chords: G and C, D and G, etc.
  • Things in Life
  • Walls of Time
  • Be Proud of the Gray in Your Hair
  • Goung Up on the Mountain
  • Great High Mountain
  • Ho Honey Ho
  • These Blues Have Got Me
  • Get on Your Knees and Pray
1 Minor and 7 Chords: Em and D, Am and G, etc.
  • What Should we do with the Drunken Sailor
  • Sinner Man
  • Shady Grove (minor key version)
  • Wade In the Water
  • Walking Boss
Develop your ear skills:
  • Try Guessing where the changes happen. With a choice of just two chords, see which sounds better — and use it!
  • Start on the 1 chord (that's the key you're in). The other chord in most songs is the 5. Such as G to D, or D to A. Experiment!
  • Check your guesswork with a songbook or knowledgeable musician. That's how it's done.

These songs are most often done with two chords, though some versions may have more.

Please suggest additional songs to Pete at pete@drbanjo.com


Selected Articles from The Doc's Prescriptions