Guitar lesson for

Starting Over

by Chris Stapleton  •  Lesson #352

Video lesson

Get the sheet music(4 pages)

  • A properly licensed, print-friendly arrangement is available for individual purchase at
  • This sheet music was designed & hand-crafted by me (David Potsiadlo) with care, providing you with everything needed to both learn and play this song.
  • On the fence? Here's a video guide I made showing the purchase & print process.
Buy at

Patreon supporters: click here to get the 50% off discount code on this purchase

Editor’s notes

Hey friends! Here’s a new guitar lesson for Starting Over by Chris Stapleton, from his 2020 album of the same name. Super catchy song, great fun to play – and the intro & verse riff make very good use out of two very similar chords (G and Cmaj7), each of which has a single finger being added & removed for good effect. I’ll initially explain this (and the chorus) in a beginner-friendly way, before moving on and explaining some more advanced strumming techniques which’ll help you sound just like Chris Stapleton. Finally, I’ll end the tutorial with a full playthrough, showing you how it sounds when you put it all together. I hope you enjoy!

Video timestamps:

Lyrics with chords

Capo 3rd fret.

See PDF for lyrics with chords.

Chord shapes needed

Here’s the chords you’ll need for this song, broken into the verse and chorus sections. For the verse, note how the note on the 2nd string 1st fret is being added to both the G and Cmaj7, giving you a G4 (technically a Gadd11) and C, respectively. Keep your left pinky on the 3rd fret of the high-e string for the aforementioned four chords. For the chorus, the normal way to play these chords is below, but I have some tips further below if the D/F# gives you trouble.

Verse chords:                         Chorus chords:

e ––3––––3––––3––––3––––2––––0–––     e ––0––––2––––3––––3–––
B ––0––––1––––0––––1––––3––––3–––     B ––0––––3––––3––––3–––
G ––0––––0––––0––––0––––2––––2–––     G ––0––––2––––0––––0–––
D ––0––––0––––2––––2––––0––––0–––     D ––2––––0––––0––––2–––
A ––2––––2––––3––––3–––––––––––––     A ––2––––0––––2––––3–––
E ––3––––3–––––––––––––––––––––––     E ––0––––2––––3––––––––
    G    G4 Cmaj7  C    D  Dsus2          Em  D/F#  G  Cadd9

Chorus chord shapes, as I like to play them

For the Em-D/F#-G sequence, I prefer to use the voicings shown below. This is mainly because the D/F# played with the wrapped thumb isn’t my cup of tea. In the voicings below, I’ll keep my left ring finger on the B string (3rd fret) for all of the chords shown. I typically don’t play the thinnest string in any of the chords (though by habit, I’ll leave my left pinky on the 3rd fret of the thinnest string – which sounds fine if you happen to play it).

e –––(3)––––––(3)––––––(3)––––––(3)––
B ––––3––––––––3––––––––3––––––––3–––
G ––––0––––––––2––––––––0––––––––0–––
D ––––2––––––––0––––––––0––––––––2–––
A ––––2––––––––0––––––––2––––––––3–––
E ––––0––––––––2––––––––3––––––––––––
      Em      D/F#      G      Cadd9

Chord progression

178 BPM.

See PDF for chord progression diagram, with strumming included.

Strumming pattern basics

The simplest pattern you can use is a simple “bass-DOWN-bass-DOWN” on the 1-2-3-4 counts. The main idea here is to lightly play the bass string of whatever chord you’re playing on the “1” and “3” counts, and then do full down-strums on the “2” and “4” counts (with a bit more emphasis). This should feel like it has a bounce to it, alternating between light and heavy strums.

See my PDF for diagram.

From there, you can upgrade to this pattern if you choose – which uses up-strums to round thing out. Keep the bass note on the “1” count, and likewise maintain the heavier strum on the “2” count. The final three strums (up-down-up) can be light brushes on the thinnest couple strings.

See my PDF for diagram.

Basic strumming tabs for intro and verse

See my PDF for tabs showing you a simple way to strum the intro and chorus sections.

Get my lessons in your inbox!

Every couple weeks I send out an email newsletter with links to whatever new lessons I've made. Sign up here and stay in the loop!

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).

You can also support me on Patreon. For only $5/month you'll get access to a print-friendly PDF of my notes for each new lesson (view free sample).


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:

📝 My "song" PDFs are now individually purcasheable! I've arranged a licensing agreement with Musicnotes, a service that lets you buy my sheet music arrangements. Patreon supporters get 50% off each purchase. Learn more here »

June 22, 2022

How to Make Drum Tracks Using GarageBand's Beat Sequencer

Tips & Techniques  •  Lesson #442

A beginner's guide to using GarageBand's Beat Sequencer tool to create custom drum beats! Even if you're a total novice when it comes to drumming (like me), I'll walk you through the basic steps to create rich-sounding drum tracks to play over while practicing or performing.

May 27, 2022

Creating a Fingerstyle Arrangement of Tom Petty's "American Girl"

Practice Log  •  Lesson #438

A few years after learning American Girl the way Tom Petty plays it, I returned to it — this time determined to work out a low-key, easy-going fingerstyle arrangement. Here's how it went!

Patreon PDF

May 22, 2022

Using Triads & Double-Stops to Punch Up a Melody

Practice Log  •  Lesson #436

As part of my Learning Lead Guitar series, I share a realization I recently had showing different ways to fill out melody lines using triads, double-stops, and harmonized sixths.

Patreon PDF

May 19, 2022

Q&A: Learning a Song for a Wedding? Here's My Advice.

Tips & Techniques  •  Lesson #435

I answer an audience question about how to go about learning a song (with a tricky riff) for a peformance at a family wedding.

Patreon PDF

May 12, 2022

List of My Beginner-Friendly Song Lessons


After many requests from y'all, I finally created this list of all my beginner-friendly song lessons! These are grouped by key, allowing you to take the chord shapes you already know and find other songs using those same shapes.

Patreon PDF

May 4, 2022

Easier Ways to Play B-minor (No Barring Required)

Tips & Techniques  •  Lesson #431

Two easier ways to play B-minor, using open chord voicings — super helpful to have these in your toolkit. Includes different practice riffs to accompany each chord voicing.

Patreon PDF

Browse my all lessons

By lesson type

By song decade

By musical genre

By guitar technique

By musical key

By popular artist

← back to lesson list