Just Am, C and F

Ila

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What are some songs that only use those three chords?

I've done some searching online, and the only ones I've come up with are Just the Way You Are by Bruno Mars, and Best Day of My Life by American Authors.

Thanks in advance for your help.
 

Ila

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I don't have any suggestions to offer, but I'm curious to know why it has to be just those three chords. Throw in a G7 and the world is your bivalve mollusc.
An excellent question. I'm working with a true beginner who wants to feel successful before tackling a chord requiring three fingers.
 

rainbow21

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An excellent question. I'm working with a true beginner who wants to feel successful before tackling a chord requiring three fingers.Well
I think you will have a very difficult time with this approach as the three you mention do not really combine well into songs (as confirmed by Google). They really do not sound good together as the only three chords in a progression. As mentioned, if you add a G7 to these, you now open up a world of songs, especially those that are played by ukulele groups world wide.

The G7 will follow the F chord. Note that the index finger stays in place on the E string so that you are now only positioning two fingers. This is not difficult, even for a beginner since almost all the early songs they play have these chords in it. Now you can doo-wop together or rock together and find a wealth of songs to play.

You also might find some youtube videos that are for beginners and play your ukes with the video together.
 

mikelz777

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I would encourage drawing the line at 4-finger chords and start with 1,2 and 3-finger chords. It's not that difficult and opens up a whole world of songs.
 

acmespaceship

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Add the Em7 chord and you can play Iz's version of Somewhere Over the Rainbow. You can substitute the Em7 for G chords (and even the E7 in the intro) and it will sound not perfect, but ok. In fact, most of the C-G-Am-F songs sound ok using Em7 instead of G. See here: https://listography.com/2656885704/music/songs_based_on_c_g_am_f

I saw the brilliant Kimo Hussey lead a uke class for a mix of absolute beginners and more experienced players. He told the beginners to play a G6 chord if they can't manage a G or G7. The G6 is fingered the same as an Em7. The G6 doesn't sound the same as the "correct" G chord, but it works well enough for a beginner having fun. If you are playing along with your friend and you play the right chord, the two of you will sound great.

The secret agenda here is that by playing an Em7 your friend is already practicing two-thirds of a G or G7 chord. Once your friend is comfortable with the Em7, show them how to drop one more finger and turn it into a G or G7. The less satisfied your friend is with the almost-right sound of a G6, the greater the motivation to finally start learning 3-finger chords.

Meanwhile don't forget all the two-chord songs you can play with F and C chords.
 

jtsteam

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Not a direct answer to the question, but when I was trying to learn guitar (which I can still barely play) one suggestion was "Dance The Night Away" by the Mavericks. You could do that by changing just between C and G7. It's a three finger chord, but there's only two chords in the whole song so by practising changing between the two, you have a whole song. And a catchy one too!

On the one hand, G7 is not one of the chords you were looking for. On the other hand, there's only two in the whole song and practising changing between those two specifically will be useful forever.
 

UkeOkay

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G7 can be played with two fingers if you bar three strings on the 2nd fret and midd finger on the 2nd string. This is simple and easier then the 3 finger version.
 

rainbow21

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G7 can be played with two fingers if you bar three strings on the 2nd fret and midd finger on the 2nd string. This is simple and easier then the 3 finger version.
Think you are describing a G (0232) and not a G7 (0212) as the "1" on the E string will not sound if it is barred on the second fret. I don't think barring is easier for a beginner. But a G is needed and should be tackled somehow anyway.
 

Ila

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Add the Em7 chord and you can play Iz's version of Somewhere Over the Rainbow. You can substitute the Em7 for G chords (and even the E7 in the intro) and it will sound not perfect, but ok. In fact, most of the C-G-Am-F songs sound ok using Em7 instead of G. See here: https://listography.com/2656885704/music/songs_based_on_c_g_am_f

I saw the brilliant Kimo Hussey lead a uke class for a mix of absolute beginners and more experienced players. He told the beginners to play a G6 chord if they can't manage a G or G7. The G6 is fingered the same as an Em7. The G6 doesn't sound the same as the "correct" G chord, but it works well enough for a beginner having fun. If you are playing along with your friend and you play the right chord, the two of you will sound great.

The secret agenda here is that by playing an Em7 your friend is already practicing two-thirds of a G or G7 chord. Once your friend is comfortable with the Em7, show them how to drop one more finger and turn it into a G or G7. The less satisfied your friend is with the almost-right sound of a G6, the greater the motivation to finally start learning 3-finger chords.

Meanwhile don't forget all the two-chord songs you can play with F and C chords.
This is outstanding advice and just might work. I'll see if I can convince him to try the Em7 instead of the G. Thank you so much. BTW, what songs would you suggest he try for the F and C chords? Thanks again!
 

acmespaceship

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Search two-chord songs and you'll find hundreds. Here are a few that come to mind for F and C chords (C7 if you're feeling fancy)

Jambalaya (Hank Williams)
Iko Iko (Sugar Boy Crawford, covered by everybody)
Feelin' Alright (Joe Cocker) -- It works with C & F but I play it A7 & D7 (the Hawaiian D7 is two fingers 2020)
Achy Breaky Heart (Billy Ray Cyrus)
Give Peace a Chance (John Lennon)
The Cowboy Song from Joe vs The Volcano (arguably my favorite movie)
Singing in the Rain (actually my favorite movie)
Polly Wolly Doodle (Leon Redbone)
Tom Dooley (Kingston Trio)
Just My Imagination (The Temptations)

When you're playing Just My Imagination, it may occur to you that this is awfully close to You Can't Always Get What You Want. It is and you can. Start on F, alternate from F to C, and add one more easy chord in the chorus: You [C] can't always get what you [F] want but if you [D7] try sometimes you just may [F] find you get what you [C] need [F] [C] [F]
 

mountain goat

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hi Ila,

i would suggesting getting your friend to try playing a two-finger G chord
leaving the high A string open, just until he or she gets comfortable,
at which time they could add in the third finger. (as a partial chord the G and
G7 still sound ok that way.)

as mentioned, having the G chord in that progression will open
up a world of music, including i'm guessing, many songs that this
person would already know and love and want to play.

🌻
 

Ila

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Search two-chord songs and you'll find hundreds. Here are a few that come to mind for F and C chords (C7 if you're feeling fancy)

Jambalaya (Hank Williams)
Iko Iko (Sugar Boy Crawford, covered by everybody)
Feelin' Alright (Joe Cocker) -- It works with C & F but I play it A7 & D7 (the Hawaiian D7 is two fingers 2020)
Achy Breaky Heart (Billy Ray Cyrus)
Give Peace a Chance (John Lennon)
The Cowboy Song from Joe vs The Volcano (arguably my favorite movie)
Singing in the Rain (actually my favorite movie)
Polly Wolly Doodle (Leon Redbone)
Tom Dooley (Kingston Trio)
Just My Imagination (The Temptations)

When you're playing Just My Imagination, it may occur to you that this is awfully close to You Can't Always Get What You Want. It is and you can. Start on F, alternate from F to C, and add one more easy chord in the chorus: You [C] can't always get what you [F] want but if you [D7] try sometimes you just may [F] find you get what you [C] need [F] [C] [F]
Iko Iko is a real possibility for him. And I'm still really thrilled with the Em7 idea. I asked if he's willing to try that and he is. Now it's just a matter of getting him to commit to actually putting in some time to practice. Thanks again. :)
 

John Colter

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This thread shows that we all hear (or experience) music differently. I'm not saying that I'm right and others are wrong, just that we have a different approach. I could never advise someone to use Em7 as a substitute for G7, or for E7. It may sound OK to some - and that's fine - but to me it sounds simply awful.

I would suggest to this beginner that he should put in the effort to become familiar with playing the G7. It really isn't difficult. If he cannot be bothered to learn the basics, what is the point of trying to teach him? I wouldn't.
 

ploverwing

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Search two-chord songs and you'll find hundreds. Here are a few that come to mind for F and C chords (C7 if you're feeling fancy)

Jambalaya (Hank Williams)
Iko Iko (Sugar Boy Crawford, covered by everybody)
Feelin' Alright (Joe Cocker) -- It works with C & F but I play it A7 & D7 (the Hawaiian D7 is two fingers 2020)
Achy Breaky Heart (Billy Ray Cyrus)
Give Peace a Chance (John Lennon)
The Cowboy Song from Joe vs The Volcano (arguably my favorite movie)
Singing in the Rain (actually my favorite movie)
Polly Wolly Doodle (Leon Redbone)
Tom Dooley (Kingston Trio)
Just My Imagination (The Temptations)

When you're playing Just My Imagination, it may occur to you that this is awfully close to You Can't Always Get What You Want. It is and you can. Start on F, alternate from F to C, and add one more easy chord in the chorus: You [C] can't always get what you [F] want but if you [D7] try sometimes you just may [F] find you get what you [C] need [F] [C] [F]
I second the vote for learning some two-chord songs; we played You Can't Always Get What You Want on day 1 of our first basic beginners ukulele course that I'm taking, and we just skipped the D (in the above D7 was suggested) until this fifth week, by which time we'd progressed through a few more chords, including G7, so D wasn't that intimidating at all.

Also concurring with learning G7 asap; it's ridiculous how many songs we've learned in the beginning 4 weeks of our class that cover no more than C, Am, F and G7 (and I agree again, G7 is just a slight shift of the F shape, tossing in a third finger, which, with a little effort, becomes pretty darned easy).

These comments come from a rank beginner: I just started ukulele this February (although, unlike your friend, I need encouragement to put down my ukulele, not to pick it up).
 

UkeOkay

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Think you are describing a G (0232) and not a G7 (0212) as the "1" on the E string will not sound if it is barred on the second fret. I don't think barring is easier for a beginner. But a G is needed and should be tackled somehow anyway.
You are right on the G7 vs G.

I would say the mini-bar is easier for some beginners than others. Seeing frustration turn to joy after showing someone this technique is a wonderful thing.
 

LorenFL

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I say "try on" a bunch of different chords. Everybody's fingers are different. Some people might surprise you with what they find "easy" vs. what they don't.

Just run through a bunch of standard chords with them. See what they "like".

There are a lot of easy barre or semi-barre chords that would broaden the scope. And you can always have they try to play a chord that's "close" to correct for a given song and see if they like it. (I still often play E7 rather than E just because I find E7 so easy to get to... and it usually works)

You've got them doing F, and that's not particularly easy (for a 2-finger chord). If you can do F... G7 should be a snap! A should be easy, too! Dmin might be easy, too if their fingers like to bend the right way. And get them playing with adding a pinky finger here or there. I learned to do that from watching somebody on YouTube.

You should be able to get them some representative of every chord letter to at least feel like they have a lot of area covered.

A, Amin, A7
Bmin (on C, E and A, don't play the G... or de-emphasize it), Bmin6
B7 (on G, C and E... could be hard... or not, I used to find it hard to FIND, but easy to hold)
^^^ if you can do that, Emin is just moved over a string
C, Cmaj7, C7, Cmin
D, D7, maybe Dmaj7
Emin7, Emin6, E7
F, F7 (or F7no5... don't fret the A string)
F#min is easy if you can play G7
Fmin could be easy depending on the player, and very useful
G, Gmaj7, G7

All of the barred 6 chords.

Before you know it, they'll be able to play 25 chords rather than just 3!

Give them this: https://ukebuddy.com/chord-namer and just tell them to play around with their fingers on the fretboard. If they find something that's playable and sounds okay to them... figure out what it is! Is it a chord? Is it a standard chord? Or is it some funky "jazz chord"? Either way, you'll find a use for it someday.

One thing that helped me was poking around on a uke song list that let me sort by key. I don't THINK in keys at all, but a key will use a particular set of chords. And once you find a key that often uses a set of chords that you're comfortable playing... you can look up songs in that key (or transpose to that key, I suppose) and keep jamming on the same chords! The Am, F and C would hint toward the key of A Minor, which is one of my faves.

This is a good resource for that kind of search. Also lets you sort by number of chords. (stay away from David Bowie and Supertramp, among others)
 

LukuleleStrings

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Check this out

Here’s 50 songs that only use C, F, and G (which they can play with two fingers if they like). When they get comfortable with that, there’s a 4-chord book that only adds one more chord. And then a 5-chord book that, again, only adds one additional chord.

At that point, they’d have 150 songs that they could play with the same chords. Nothing scary in there.
 

ksiegel

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Try this C- Am- F- G7 progression, and see how it sounds to you.

0003 - ring finger 3rd fret
2003 - ring finger stays, add middle finger 2nd fret
2013 - ring and middle fingers stay, add index 1st fret
0212 - index stays, slide ring fingerdown to 2nd fret, move middle finger from G string to C string

I do this a lot when I'm feeling lazy. It works for so many songs - try "Those Magic Changes", from GREASE this way, and you'll see what I mean.

Also not too hard for a beginner, and shows methods of anchoring key notes.