Below are links to hundreds of easy two-chord songs for guitar, mandolin, banjo, and ukulele.
Just a few quick tips:
- This directory covers a lot of music, and it's best viewed on a PC. Use the Table of Contents to jump around.
- Click any song title for a YouTube video. Click the artist for the chord sheet. All external links open in new tabs.
- There's a Bonus Section that covers how to submit corrections and what chords to learn first (if stuck).
If you don’t know any chords at all, start with one-chord songs.
Grab your axe. And let's dive in.
With C major & F major, you can play easy songs spanning more than a century of Rock, Folk, Reggae, and Country music. "Just My Imagination" by the Temptations is my favorite. Look for yours among the 2-chord tunes below.
- Walk on the Wide Side - Lou Reed - 1972 - It sounds better with a Dm thrown in. But this song works with C & F.
- Chewing Gum - Annie - 2004 - I don't have music notation yet.
Learning C and G unlocks a ton of great music. And both chords are relatively easy to master on the guitar, ukulele, banjo, and mandolin. So take your pick of the 2-chord tunes below.
- The Bum Song - Harry "MAC" McClintock - 1928 - I don't have music notation yet.
These are the first 2 chords I learned on the ukulele and guitar. They're also pretty easy on the banjo and mandolin. Master C and Am, and you can play the small selection of songs below.
C major with A# (Bb) doesn't give you a lot of music. But both of the 2-chord classics below are fun to play. I'm not sure which one I like more. The Beatles are the Beatles. But after a single listen, "Bam Bam" will be stuck in your head for days.
Below are a bunch of songs with 2 chords that use C# (Db) and F# (Gb). The most famous one is probably Harry Belafonte's "Banana Boat."
Below are 3 smash hits released in the same 10-year span. My personal favorite is "ABC" by the Jackson 5. But you really can't go wrong with any of these 2-chord tunes.
Who knew you could play this late 90s Mariah Carey hit with just 2 chords? If you're struggling with C# and A#m, you can always play C and Am instead. Just remember to put a capo on the first fret to stay in the same key as the original.
When combined together, D major and E minor let you play the rock (and reggae) classics below. There may be other 2-chord songs out there. If there are, let me know.
Combing D and G unleashes a ton of easy 2-chord songs. Better still, this music spans many decades and genres. Depending on your instrument, this might be the best combination of chords to work on.
- Feel Like Making Love - Bad Company - 1975 - Not sure if this counts or not. There's an extra C in the notation.
- Best Day of My Life - American Authors - 2013 - The notation includes a Bm, but this song still works with D & G.
D major and A major are great chords to start with. Both are relatively easy to learn (on guitar, banjo, ukulele, and mandolin). And together, they allow you to play a ton of easy 2-chord tunes.
- TB Sheets - Van Morrison - 1967 - I don't have music notation yet.
- Countdown - The Black Keys - 2002 - I don't have music notation yet.
Learning D & B together gives you a grand total of 1 song. And even this 2-chord song is kind of cheating. But I included it anyway - just in case. If you know of other tunes to add, ping me.
Below are 2 songs separated by roughly 70 years. But they're both playable with the same chords - D major and B minor. Hope you enjoy.
I was able to find at least one 2-chord song that uses D# (Eb) + G major. I'd never hurt of it before my research. But it's a good one for basic strumming practice.
If you know of other tunes with 2 chords in this key, let me know.
I came across Little Richard's "Keep a Knockin'" just a few weeks before he passed away. This isn't even his best song. And yet, it towers above a lot of pop songs you hear today. What a great legacy to leave. And you can share in it - just by learning 2 chords.
The other tune on this list isn't too shabby either.
There aren't many 2-chord combos that give you more music than A and E can. You have a ton of songs to choose from - spanning 4+ decades. So take your pick.
- For What It's Worth - Buffalo Springfield - 1967 - The full notation calls for more chords. But you can "squeak" by with A & E only.
How often do you see Hank Williams, Bobby Brown, and Talking Heads together on the same list? But here they are - because they all played songs with 2 chords (in the same key).
There are so many awesome 2-chord songs with E & B - it's hard to know who the true "Boss" is. Bruce is Bruce. But Hank, Woody, Harry, and Chuck can definitely hold their own.
- 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8 - Woody Guthrie - 1956 - I don't have music notation yet.
F & G gives you a nice mix of two-chord songs across funk, folk, rock, country, pop, and reggae. If you know of other easy tunes with these chords, let me know.
- Low Rider - War - 1975 - I don't have music notation yet. But there may be an extra C major.
- Dreams - Fleetwood Mac - 1977 - The notation says to use Fmaj7 and G6. But you can get by with just F & G.
- Me Plus One - Annie - 1999 - I don't have music notation yet.
Both of the songs below are pretty repetitive. But that's what makes them so much fun to play. It may be cheating to call them "2-chord" songs (since they can certainly take more chords). But for practice purposes, F and Bb are enough.
I was able to find a handful of solid two-chord songs with G and Am. Most of these were new to me. If you know of other songs with 2 chords in this key, ping me.
Learning A and Bm only gives you the 3 songs below (2 of which have the same melody but different lyrics). But they're all fun to play. So give them a spin.
I spent hours listening to every two-chord song on this list. A few of my buddies helped, but it still took a long time to verify each tune. Every now and then, however, I'd come across a little ray of sunshine like "Rattlesnake."
If you do nothing else today, watch this video.
Kind of Blue is one of the best-selling jazz albums of all time, with "So What" being one of the most famous tracks. You can play it using Dm and Ebm. But it sounds better if you use the m7 variants.
D6/9 is definitely not a normal beginner chord. But it's also not that hard (at least on the guitar and mandolin). Combine it with E minor, and you can play either of the two-chord tunes below. Or maybe it's just one song (with two different names).
Combining Em and Bm don't give you much music. But together, they do unlock the 2-chord songs below - both of which were mega hits when they came out. If you know of other songs with two chords (in the same key) let me know.
What Chords Should You Start with?
If you’ve never played an instrument before, start with 1-chord songs first. When you're ready to learn your second chord, it almost doesn't matter which one you learn next. I'll explain why in a minute. But first, let's look at 2 possible options - distance vs. speed.
Option 1: Go for Distance
Option 2: Go for Speed
Choose the easiest chord to learn next. Doing so allows you to improve quickly. However, "ease" depends on your instrument:
- Guitar: you only need one or two fingers to play Em, Em7, A7, Am7.
- Ukulele: try C, C7, Cm, Cm7, C#m7 (Dbm7), F, A, A7, Am, Am7, A#m7 (Bbm7), Bm7.
- Banjo: the easiest chords are E7, Em, Em7, G, G7, G# (Ab), A, A# (Bb), B, Bm7.
- Mandolin: start with C, D, Dm, E7, Em, Em7, G, G7, Gm, Gm7.
But again, it doesn't really matter what chord(s) you choose first. And here's why.
Imagine you start with C & G:
- With a capo on the first fret, you can now play every song with C# & G#.
- Move the capo one fret higher, and you can play any tune with D & A.
- Move the capo up 10 more times, and you'll arrive back at C & G again.
And that's assuming you want to play in the same key as the original. If a song is too high or low for you to sing, you can play it in any key you want - with or without a capo.
Stuck at Home with the Kids?
Covid-19 sucks. But being on lockdown gave me plenty of time to research and gather these 2-chord songs. Unfortunately, it's also given my kids plenty of time - now that schools and camps are closed. If you're in the same boat, here are 80+ fun children's songs you can play together. All of these two-chord tunes use the I-V, meaning you can play them in many different keys.
Found a Mistake (or Have a Song to Add)?
This page has a ton of songs, links, and chord diagrams. That’s a lot to manage. And I’m sure there are mistakes. If you spot any - let me know. The same goes for any 2-chord tunes you’d like to add to this growing list.
But just a heads up.
Many of these tunes are simplified versions of harder songs. “Singin’ in the Rain,” for example, uses a lot of jazz chords. But you can play it with just two beginner chords (C and F). It's cheating, but the goal is to ease your way into music. And these simple songs can help.
Thanks for Reading.....
If you found this guide helpful, share it with other future musicians.
And then - start making your own music.