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How to Read the Chord Charts on UltimateGuitar.com

by Bruce Siegel on September 22nd, 2015

I just got an email from Cal, a recent DoctorKeys subscriber. He said:

In one of your lessons you show how to read a chord chart. But can you explain how to read a chord chart like Let It Be? [He's referring to the sort of chord chart you get on UltimateGuitar.com.] It has the chords but no bar lines, so how do I know exactly when to play each chord? Please help for I enjoy both your courses very much.

What a great question! And since there may be others of you who are wondering the same thing, I’ll explain.

Here’s a link to Let it Be on UltimateGuitar.com.

If you go to that page, you’ll see the chord symbols printed over the lyrics.

What you may not realize, is that those symbols are positioned directly over the word—or part of a word—on which you play the chord.

So, for example, there’s no chord at all until the word “find.” At that point, as you sing “find,” you play the C chord at the same time.

When you sing “times” you play the G chord, and so forth.

Now a bit further on, after you sing the words “let it be” for the first time, you’ll see three chords in rapid succession, with no lyric below.

So that’s what you do—play those chords right after “let it be.” Or actually, while you’re still holding out the word “be”. To get the exact rhythm of those chords, you’ll need to listen to the recording.

And remember—all this depends on your ability to sing the song. If you can sing it, then what’s on the chord chart should make perfect sense.

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