Tracy Chapman's songs have a very distinctive sound. Most of them have an elegant simplicity that makes them very easy to listen to and generally easy to play, although there are some subtle nuances that present good challenges to guitar players. Most of her songs use just a few chords and only one or two parts, with slight variations along the way. This set of lessons goes over five of her best songs.
Lesson 1: Talkin’ ‘Bout A Revolution - Guitar Lesson
Tracy Chapman’s second hit from her debut album, Talkin’ ‘Bout A Revolution is a great song for beginners in that there are only four easy chords and it can be done with our standard folk strum. This short lesson is done in two parts where the second part adds a couple of embellishments that Tracy uses to give it more character, as well as making it a bit more difficult. These include adding a ‘double time bounce’ to the strumming, as well as a little melodic movement on the D chord.
Lesson 2: Baby Can I Hold You - Guitar Lesson
Tracy Chapman’s first album included many songs that are good for beginners. This lesson on Baby Can I Hold You looks at a very simple way of playing it, as well as a more complicated version that uses double time strumming, the way Tracy really plays it. It only uses a handful of chords and they are pretty easy with slow changes.
Lesson 3: Fast Car - Guitar Lesson
Tracy Chapman’s first hit from her first album, Fast Car is a great song for beginners as it only uses four chords and a pretty basic strumming pattern. This lesson goes over how she played it originally as well as how she does it live, using more of a fingerstyle accompaniment. There is also short mention of double time strumming for a more energetic sound.
Lesson 4: For You - Tracy Chapman - Guitar Lesson
For You is the final track of Tracy Chapman’s first album and is like most of her songs, a great song for beginning guitar players. It features some beautiful lyrics, just a few open chords, a simple yet great sounding fingerpicking pattern, and syncopated chord changes. We also take a look at the percussive strumming pattern in the chorus.
Lesson 5: Give Me One Reason - Tracy Chapman - Guitar Lesson
This rhythmic tune appeared on Tracy Chapman’s fourth album ‘New Beginning’ and became a huge hit in 1995. Give Me One Reason features a classic 12 bar blues progression played in the key of F# using barre chords. For guitar players who want to take their guitar playing to the next level by adding barre chords to their playing, this song will be a great start. This lesson will also get into the structure of a 12 bar blues progression, since every musician should be able to play this in any given key.