To help you build your very own three-chord song with ease, here’s an explanation of the process behind the recording.
The original chords
As my son loves “Everyday” by Buddy Holly, I used the verse chords from the song as a blueprint for my arrangement—that said, the chords I use in the song are D, G and A in a major (happy) key.
Using the exact same progression as Buddy Holly’s, I changed the rhythm and used basic fingerpicking techniques to add a personal stamp to the arrangement and introduce the song softly, giving myself the scope to build the song up to the chorus.
For inspiration, here are definitive ways of starting your songs and getting them off the ground.
The verses and chorus
I played the three chords on loop, strumming them fully rather than finger picking to build momentum, humming out my melody and scribing down my lyrics in the process. Once I had written the lyrics and melody for the chorus (the chords are the same here as for the verse), I went back to the beginning of the song. I played back from the intro through to the chorus, making sure to build the song dynamically so that the chorus builds to a crescendo.
The middle 8
To give the song a depth, using my three-chord blueprint, I switched the chords around, playing around with strumming pattern alterations until I landed on something that fit well. I then built a new melody and a few simply lyrics around the part. The chords here are G, D, G, D, A.
In a similar vein to middle 8, I used a chord switch moves back and forth between G and D, creating a vocal hook to round off the song, a hook in which I repeatedly sing “Sleepy Head” which is the title of the song.
For ideas on how to take your listeners on a musical journey, explore these nine songwriting tips.
The recording techniques