Guitar lesson for

Starting Over

by Chris Stapleton  •  Lesson #352

Video lesson

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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.

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