Guitar lesson for
PDF not yet available...
I have not yet made a PDF version of this lesson. If you'd like to request that I make one, shoot me an email and please let me know - I am always adding back catalog lessons to my PDF library.
Here's a list of the 150+ lessons I have made PDFs for.
Capo and chords needed
Without a capo, this song is in the key of F. Here’s a map of the chords you’d need, depending on where you used a capo (if at all):
I IV V vi --------------- No Capo F Bb C Dm Capo 1 E A B C#m Capo 3 D G A Bm Capo 5 C F G Am Capo 8 A D E F#m
Playing in the key of F can, quite frankly, suck. So many barre chords. Instead, let’s do it with a capo on the 5th fret. With a capo on the 5th fret, you’ll need these chords:
E ––––0–––1–––3–––0–––– B ––––1–––1–––0–––1–––– G ––––0–––2–––0–––2–––– D ––––2–––3–––0–––2–––– A ––––3–––3–––2–––0–––– E ––––––––1–––3–––––––– C F G Am
Essentially, the entire song uses these two progressions, played in sequence (and then repeating them both). You’re always moving from F to G to Am, and for the final chord of each sequence either going back to G, or moving to C. When listening along to the recorded version of the song by The Chainsmokers, you really only hear this through the bass note (since there isn’t a proper guitar).
| F . G . | Am . G . | | F . G . | Am . C . |
Strumming pattern and timing
Timing matters! Note how when you switch the second chord of each measure, you’re switching on the “3 +” and not the “3”. It sounds as if you’re switching late, or early – depending on how you listen. This is a very characteristic sound in many of The Chainsmokers songs. Note, I’m only showing the first progression here (F-G-Am-G), but apply everything I’m saying equally to the F-G-Am-C progression too.
F G Am G ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +
Then, you can expand things a bit. Here are a few ways to maybe do this. Such as:
F G Am G ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +
or something like:
F G Am G ↓ ↓ ↑↓↑ ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ ↑↓↑ ↓ ↓ 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +
And so forth. Make it your own.
Chords w/ main riff
This is played in the same general time with the F-G-Am-G / F-G-Am-C progression. The difference is adding the melodic notes heard in the main riff, which shine through on the high E string (0 and 3rd fret) and then jumping down to the open G string (aka the third thinnest string).
E ––0–––3––––––0––3–––––––––0–––3––––––0––3–––––– B ––1––––––––––0––––––––––––1––––––––––0––––––––– G ––2––––––––––0–––––0––––––2––––––––––0–––––0––– D ––3––––––––––0––––––––––––2––––––––––0––––––––– A –––––––––––––2––––––––––––0––––––––––2––––––––– E –––––––––––––3–––––––––––––––––––––––3––––––––– F G Am G E ––0–––3––––––0––3–––––––––0–––3––––––0––3–––––– B ––1––––––––––0––––––––––––1––––––––––1––––––––– G ––2––––––––––0–––––0––––––2––––––––––0–––––0––– D ––3––––––––––0––––––––––––2––––––––––2––––––––– A –––––––––––––2––––––––––––0––––––––––3––––––––– E –––––––––––––3––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– F G Am C
Disclaimer: I’m 99% sure that melodically, The Chainsmokers synth actually ends the riff on the 2nd fret of the G string. I’m not doing this because it’s not as easy to play (and I don’t think sounds as good) on an acoustic guitar.
You know the climactic instrumental section that you nod your head to during/after each chorus? Here’s how to play it on an acoustic guitar, while at the same time strumming along to these chords. If you want, you can bring in the A-minor chord for either of the C-majors I used here… playing the riff would be equally easy. I’m keeping on C in the tab below mainly for simplicity.
E –––––––––––––––––––––––––––0––3–3–3–––0–0–0–––3–3–3––––– B ––1–––––––––––0––––––––––––1–––––––––––––––––––––––––0–– G ––2–––––––––––0––––––––––––0–––––––––––––––––––––––––––– D ––3–––––––––––0––––––––––––2–––––––––––––––––––––––––––– A ––3–––––––––––2––––––––––––3–––––––––––––––––––––––––––– E ––––––––––––––3––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– F G C C E –––––––––––––––––––––––––––0––0–0–0––––––––––––0–––––––– B ––1–––––––––––0––––––––––––1––––––––––3–3–3–––––––3––0–– G ––2–––––––––––0––––––––––––0–––––––––––––––––––––––––––– D ––3–––––––––––0––––––––––––2–––––––––––––––––––––––––––– A ––3–––––––––––2––––––––––––3–––––––––––––––––––––––––––– E ––––––––––––––3––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– F G C C
Note! I realize I’m not 100% recreating every single synth note you hear in The Chainsmokers recorded version of this song. What I have here captures the 80-90% spirit of it, and is intentionally arranged by me to be easy to play and not super complicated. I wanted to note this for the musically nitpickers amongst ye. I too love being nit picky sometimes – but this song doesn’t call for it, at least with my arrangement here, in my humble. opinion.
I hope this helps!
Let me know if you have any specific questions.
Enjoy my lessons? Buy me a beer!
If this and my other lessons have proven helpful to you, please consider making a one-time donation to my tip jar. Contributions of any amount help make this project possible (including the many, many hours I put into it).
Subscribe to my YouTube channel
Be sure to never miss a lesson by subscribing on YouTube. I put out 2-3 new videos every week. These include full song lessons, as well as covers, practice tips, behind-the-scenes updates. Thanks!
Recent video lessons:
📝 Print-friendly PDFs now available for all new lessons I make, including all those listed below. Get a free sample »
- 1979 by Smashing Pumpkins (preview)
Feb 18, 2020 • Lesson #285
- Romeo and Julet by Dire Straits (Lesson #284)
Feb 15, 2020
- You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin' by Righteous Brothers (Lesson #283)
Feb 9, 2020
- Wild World by Cat Stevens (Lesson #282)
Feb 1, 2020
- Memories by Maroon 5 (Lesson #281)
Jan 26, 2020
- "In Dreams"-inspired folksy warmup riff (Lesson #278)
Jan 22, 2020
- Walk Right In by The Rooftop Singers (Lesson #277)
Jan 16, 2020
- Practicing Walk Ups & Walk Downs in G (Lesson #276)
Jan 10, 2020
- My top 12 videos of 2019
Jan 4, 2020
- "Sweet Virginia" (intro) by The Rolling Stones • (Lesson #274)
Dec 29, 2019
- "Sin City" by Gram Parsons (Lesson #272 & 273)
Dec 26, 2019
- 2-string beginner blues riffs (Lesson #271)
Dec 15, 2019
- "Have You Ever Seen the Rain" by CCR (Lesson #269 & 270)
Dec 7, 2019
- "My Favorite Picture of You" by Guy Clark (Lesson #268)
Nov 29, 2019
- 12 ways to modify the A-major chord (Lesson #267)
Nov 23, 2019
- 4 tips for learning Blackbird by The Beatles (Lesson #265)
Nov 5, 2019
- Fingerstyle Walkdown Exercise in C (Lesson #264)
Oct 27, 2019