Guitar lesson for

Surrender (acoustic)

by Cheap Trick  •  Lesson #330

Video lesson

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Editor’s notes

Hey friends! Here’s a brand new lesson showing you an acoustic version of Cheap Trick’s 1978 classic “Surrender”. In this tutorial, I’ll show you a slightly simplified version of this tune, arranged to work well on a solo acoustic guitar. While the spirit of this song is retained in this version, I’ll cut a few small corners – mainly, changing the key so we’ll be using more typical acoustic chords (key of C, and then key of D in the final verse).

Aside from the usual chord shapes, progressions, and strumming tips – I’ll also show you a full tab for the verse & chorus sections, allowing you to play the notes matching the vocal melody while simultaneously strumming the chords. Whether you want to noodle on this, or combine it while singing & fully strumming – the tabs I provide in my PDF will give you what you need. This is one of my favorite rock songs ever… I hope you enjoy the lesson!

Video timestamps:

Lyrics and chords

As stated above and below, this arrangement takes a few small liberties (changing the key, modifying the intro chords, etc) to make this better suited for a more beginner-friendly acoustic version. Take what you like, leave the rest. See my video lesson for reference and how this sounds when played.

    Fadd9   G    Fadd9    G

    C               G                F                   C
    Mother told me, yes she told me, I'd meet girls like you
        C             G                 F                      C
    She also told me, stay away, you'll never know what you'll catch
    F               G              C                C
    Just the other day I heard a soldier's falling off
         F           G                  C          C
    Some Indonesian junk that's going 'round

        C                  Am                      G                  F
        Mommy's alright... daddy's alright... they just seem a little weird
            C            Am           G                     F
        Surrender... surrender... but don't give yourself away...
          F       F (walk up)   F         C   G   C   G           
        Away... away------------     ...away!

     C                 G                     F             C
    Father says, your mother's right, she's really up on things
       C                G                   F                 C
    Before we married, Mommy served in the WACS in the Philippines
         F                G             C                  C
    Now, I had heard the WACS recruited old maids for the war
         F          G                    C                  C
    But mommy isn't one of those, I've known her all these years

        C                  Am                      G                  F
        Mommy's alright... daddy's alright... they just seem a little weird
            C            Am           G                     F
        Surrender... surrender... but don't give yourself away...
          F       F (walk up)   F         C   G   C   G           
        Away... away------------     ...away!

KEY CHANGE (final verse & chorus)

    D                    A                  G             D
    Whatever happened to all this season's losers of the year
    D            A                G                D
    Every time I got to thinking when they'd disappear
    G               A                D              D
    Then I woke up, Mom and Dad are rollin' on the couch
    G                 A                   D                D
    Rolling numbers, rock and rollin, got my Kiss records out

        D                  Bm                      A                  G
        Mommy's alright... daddy's alright... they just seem a little weird
            D            Bm           A                     G
        Surrender... surrender... but don't give yourself away...
          G       G (walk up)   G         D   A   D   A
        Away... away------------     ...away!

            D            Bm            A                    G
        Surrender... Surrender... but don't give yourself away     [repeat this line, end on D]

About this arrangement

Of course, this arrangement takes some liberties and is slightly different from the original song in a few ways. Big picture, I’m changing things to the key of C which lets us use easier chords… and also allows us to modulate up one whole step to the key of D for the final verse & chorus. Also, I’m using different voicings for the chords heard in the intro and between each verse… which again is in the name of making things a bit simpler for a basic acoustic version.

Chord shapes

See PDF diagram for the chord charts.

Chord progressions

This song is played at 134 BPM, with four beats per measure. The chord progressions for each section are shown here below, in both the key of C and the key of D (used in the final verse & chorus).

Key of C

Mother told me....
C . . . G . . . F . . . C . . .
C . . . G . . . F . . . C . . .

Just the other day...
F . . . G . . . C . . . C . . .
F . . . G . . . C . . . C . . .

Mommy's alright...
C . . . Am . . . G . . . F . . .
C . . . Am . . . G . . . F . . . F . . . F . . . F . . .

C . . . G . . . C . . . G . . .

Key of D

Mother told me....
D . . . A . . . G . . . D . . .
D . . . A . . . G . . . D . . .

Just the other day...
G . . . A . . . D . . . D . . .
G . . . A . . . D . . . D . . .

Mommy's alright...
D . . . Bm . . . G . . . F . . .
D . . . Bm . . . G . . . F . . . F . . . F . . . F . . .

D . . . A . . . D . . . A . . .

Melody tab

See PDF for the tab in both key of C (verses 1 + 2) and key of D (verse 3).

Video of Cheap Trick’s version of Surrender

While my arrangement above is in a different key, this may be still helpful to listen to for context. Quick tip: you can play along with verse #3 of this official version using the “key of C” progression I show above… because Cheap Trick modulates up to the key of C for the final verse (they’re in the key of B for verses 1+2).

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