Guitar lesson for

We Are the Champions

by Queen  β€’  Lesson #158

Video Lesson

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Editor’s notes

In this video I’ll teach you how to play an easy acoustic version of β€œWe Are the Champions” by Queen. I’ll be using a capo on the 3rd fret, which lets you use the easiest possible chords. Also, I’ll be simplifying a few of the otherwise difficult chord voicings (e.g., diminished) to use more common voicings. The result is a version that still sounds like We Are the Champions, but is much easier to play! I hope you enjoy. This lesson is dedicated to the Washington Capitals who won their first Stanley Cup last week (June 2018).

Lyrics with chords

(capo 3rd fret)

             Am    Em               Am    Em
I've paid my dues....... time after time
             Am        Em                    Am     Em
I've done my sentence...... but committed no crime

           C      F                  C     F
And bad mistakes........ I've made a few
            C             G/B          Am
I've had my share of sand kicked in my face
    D         G
But I've come through... (and I need just go!)
G4       G   G4      G   G4           A
On...... and on..... and on...... and on

    D          F#m           Bm       G  A
    We are the champions, my friends
        D             F#m               G    B7
    And we'll keep on fighting 'til the end

    Em                      Gm         A6    A
    We are the champions... we are the champions

    D           C              F          G         G6/A
    No time for losers, 'cause we are the champions
                  Dm  G/D  Dm  G/D  Dm  G6/A
    ......of the world

[ use same chords for 2nd verse & chorus ]

              Am     Em                 Am     Em
I've taken my bows...... and my curtain calls
               Am                     Em                                Am   Em
You brought me fame & fortune & everything that goes w/ it, I thank you all
                        C      F                C     F
But it's been no bed of roses... no pleasure cruise
                C                    G/B         Am
I consider it a challenge before the whole human race
      D           G
And I ain't gonna lose... (and I need just go!)
G4       G   G4      G   G4           A
On...... and on..... and on...... and on

    D          F#m           Bm       G  A
    We are the champions, my friends
        D             F#m               G    B7
    And we'll keep on fighting 'til the end
    Em                      Gm         A6    A
    We are the champions... we are the champions
    D           C              F          G         G6/A
    No time for losers, 'cause we are the champions
                  Dm  G/D  Dm  G/D  Dm  G6/A
    ......of the world

    (repeat chorus as desired)

Chords needed

Here’s the chords I use in this lesson. Quite a lot!

E ––0–––0–––0–––1–––2–––3–––3–––0–––2–––2–––2–––2–––3––––0––––1–––3–––
B ––1–––0–––1–––1–––3–––0–––1–––2–––2–––2–––3–––0–––3––––3––––3–––0–––
G ––2–––0–––0–––2–––2–––0–––2–––2–––2–––2–––4–––2–––3––––4––––2–––0–––
D ––2–––2–––2–––3–––0–––0–––0–––2–––2–––4–––4–––1–––5––––5––––0–––0–––
A ––0–––2–––3–––3–––––––2–––x–––0–––0–––4–––2–––2–––5––––0––––––––––––
E ––––––0–––––––1–––––––3–––3–––––––––––2–––––––––––3–––––––––––––––––
    Am  Em  C   F   D   G   G4  A  A6  F#m  Bm  B7  Gm  G6/A  Dm  G/D

Strumming

For starters, understand we have 6 counts per measure. The β€œ1” and β€œ4” counts should get the accent. The simplest way to strum is to do a downstrum on these two beats:

D = down strum
U = up strum

1 + 2 + 3 + 1 + 2 + 3 +
D           D

From there, add smaller / weaker down strums on the β€œ2” and β€œ3” counts, keeping the accent (emphasis) on the β€œ1”.

1 + 2 + 3 + 1 + 2 + 3 +
D   d   d   D   d   d

Then, if you desire, you can add upstrums in between the smaller down strums:

1 + 2 + 3 + 1 + 2 + 3 +
D   d u d u D   d u d u

Tabs from my video lesson

β€œI’ve paid my dues, time after time…” β€œI’ve done my sentence, but committed no crime…”

E –|–––––––––––––––|–––––––––––––––|–––––––––––––––|–––––––––––––––|–
B –|––––––––1––––––|–––––––––––––––|––––––––1––––––|–––––––––––––––|–
G –|––––––2–––2––––|––––0–0––––––––|––––––2–––2––––|––––0–0––––––––|–
D –|––––2–––––––2––|––––2–2––––––––|––––2–––––––2––|––––2–2––––––––|–
A –|––0––––––––––––|––––2–2––––––––|––0––––––––––––|––––2–2––––––––|–
E –|–––––––––––––––|––0––––––––––––|–––––––––––––––|––0––––––––––––|–
      Am              Em              Am              Em
      1 2 3 4 5 6     1 2 3 4 5 6     1 2 3 4 5 6     1 2 3 4 5 6

β€œAnd bad mistakes, I’ve made a few…”

E –|––––––––0––––––|––1––––––––––––|––––––––0––––––|––1––––––––––––|–
B –|––––––1–––1––––|––––1–––––––1––|––––––1–––1––––|––––1–––––––1––|–
G –|––––0–––––––0––|––––––2–––2––––|––––0–––––––0––|––––––2–––2––––|–
D –|–––––––––––––––|––3–––––3––––––|–––––––––––––––|––3–––––3––––––|–
A –|––3––––––––––––|–––––––––––––––|––3––––––––––––|–––––––––––––––|–
E –|–––––––––––––––|–––––––––––––––|–––––––––––––––|–––––––––––––––|–
      C               F               C               F
      1 2 3 4 5 6     1 2 3 4 5 6     1 2 3 4 5 6     1 2 3 4 5 6

β€œI’ve had my share of sand kicked in my face, but I’ve come (through)…”

E –|–––––––––––––––|––0–––––2––––––|––3––
B –|––1–––––3––––––|––1–––––3––––––|––0––
G –|––0–––––0––––––|––2–––––2––––––|––0––
D –|––2–––––0––––––|––2–––––0––––––|––0––
A –|––3–––––2––––––|––0––––––––––––|––2––
E –|–––––––––––––––|–––––––––––––––|––3––
      C     G/B       Am    D         G
      1 2 3 4 5 6     1 2 3 4 5 6

β€œThrough… (on, and on, and on, and on, and…)”

E –|––3––––––––––––|––3–––3–3–––3––|––3–––3–0––––––|–
B –|––0––––––––––––|––1–––0–1–––0––|––1–––0–2––––––|–
G –|––0––––––––––––|––2–––0–2–––0––|––2–––0–2––––––|–
D –|––0––––––––––––|––0–––0–0–––0––|––0–––0–2––––––|–
A –|––2––––––––––––|––x–––x–x–––x––|––x–––x–0––––––|–
E –|––3––––––––––––|––3–––3–3–––3––|––3–––3––––––––|–
      G               G4  G G4  G     G4  G A
      1 2 3 4 5 6     1 2 3 4 5 6     1 2 3 4 5 6

β€œWe are the champions, my friend…”

E –|––2––––––––––––|––2––––––––––––|––2––––––––––––|–––––––––––––––|–
B –|––3––––––––––––|––2––––––––––––|––3––––––––––––|–––––––––––––––|–
G –|––2––––––––––––|––2––––––––––––|––4––––––––––––|––4–––––6––––––|–
D –|––0––––––––––––|––4––––––––––––|––4––––––––––––|––5–––––7––––––|–
A –|–––––––––––––––|––4––––––––––––|––2––––––––––––|––5–––––7––––––|–
E –|–––––––––––––––|––2––––––––––––|–––––––––––––––|––3–––––5––––––|–
      D               F#m             Bm              G     A
      1 2 3 4 5 6     1 2 3 4 5 6     1 2 3 4 5 6     1 2 3 4 5 6

β€œAnd we’ll keep on fighting, β€˜til the end…”

E –|––2––––––––––––|––2––––––––––––|––3––––––––––––|––2––––––––––––|–
B –|––3––––––––––––|––2––––––––––––|––0––––––––––––|––0––––––––––––|–
G –|––2––––––––––––|––2––––––––––––|––0––––––––––––|––2––––––––––––|–
D –|––0––––––––––––|––4––––––––––––|––0––––––––––––|––1––––––––––––|–
A –|–––––––––––––––|––4––––––––––––|––2––––––––––––|––2––––––––––––|–
E –|–––––––––––––––|––2––––––––––––|––3––––––––––––|–––––––––––––––|–
      D               F#m             G               B7
      1 2 3 4 5 6     1 2 3 4 5 6     1 2 3 4 5 6     1 2 3 4 5 6

β€œWe are the champions, we are the champions…”

E –|––0––––––––––––|––0––––––––––––|––3––––––––––––|––2–––––0––––––|–
B –|––0––––––––––––|––0––––––––––––|––3––––––––––––|––2–––––2––––––|–
G –|––0––––––––––––|––0––––––––––––|––3––––––––––––|––2–––––2––––––|–
D –|––2––––––––––––|––2––––––––––––|––5––––––––––––|––2–––––2––––––|–
A –|––2––––––––––––|––2––––––––––––|––5––––––––––––|––0–––––0––––––|–
E –|––0––––––––––––|––0––––––––––––|––3––––––––––––|–––––––––––––––|–
      Em              Em              Gm              A6    A
      1 2 3 4 5 6     1 2 3 4 5 6     1 2 3 4 5 6     1 2 3 4 5 6

β€œNo time for losers, β€˜cause we are the champions…”

E –|––2–––––0––––––|––1–––––3––––––|––0–0––––––––––|–
B –|––3–––––1––––––|––1–––––0––––––|––3–3––––––––––|–
G –|––2–––––0––––––|––2–––––0––––––|––4–4––––––––––|–
D –|––0–––––2––––––|––3–––––0––––––|––5–5––––––––––|–
A –|––––––––3––––––|––3–––––2––––––|––0–0––––––––––|–
E –|–––––––––––––––|––1–––––3––––––|–––––––––––––––|–
      D     C         F     G         G6/A
      1 2 3 4 5 6     1 2 3 4 5 6     1 2 3 4 5 6

β€œNo time for losers, β€˜cause we are the champions…”

E –|––2––––––––––––|––0––––––––––––|––1––––––––––––|––3––––––––––––|–
B –|––3––––––––––––|––1––––––––––––|––1––––––––––––|––0––––––––––––|–
G –|––2––––––––––––|––0––––––––––––|––2––––––––––––|––0––––––––––––|–
D –|––0––––––––––––|––2––––––––––––|––3––––––––––––|––0––––––––––––|–
A –|–––––––––––––––|––3––––––––––––|––3––––––––––––|––2––––––––––––|–
E –|–––––––––––––––|–––––––––––––––|––1––––––––––––|––3––––––––––––|–
      1 2 3 4 5 6     1 2 3 4 5 6     1 2 3 4 5 6     1 2 3 4 5 6

β€œOf the world…”

E –|––0–0––––––––––|––––––––1––––––|––––––––3––––––|––––––––1––––––|–
B –|––3–3––––––––––|––––––3–––3––––|––––––0–––0––––|––––––3–––3––––|–
G –|––4–4––––––––––|––––2–––––––2––|––––0–––––––0––|––––2–––––––2––|–
D –|––5–5––––––––––|––0––––––––––––|––0––––––––––––|––0––––––––––––|–
A –|––0–0––––––––––|–––––––––––––––|–––––––––––––––|–––––––––––––––|–
E –|–––––––––––––––|–––––––––––––––|–––––––––––––––|–––––––––––––––|–
      G6/A            Dm              G/D             Dm
      1 2 3 4 5 6     1 2 3 4 5 6     1 2 3 4 5 6     1 2 3 4 5 6

E –|––––––––3––––––|––––––––1––––––|––0–0––––––––––||
B –|––––––0–––0––––|––––––3–––3––––|––3–3––––––––––||
G –|––––0–––––––0––|––––2–––––––2––|––4–4––––––––––||
D –|––0––––––––––––|––0––––––––––––|––5–5––––––––––||  ...then, start
A –|–––––––––––––––|–––––––––––––––|––0–0––––––––––||     next verse.
E –|–––––––––––––––|–––––––––––––––|–––––––––––––––||
      G/D             Dm              G6/A
      1 2 3 4 5 6     1 2 3 4 5 6     1 2 3 4 5 6

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