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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 [email protected]


Selected Articles from The Doc's Prescriptions