In this guitar lesson, we are going to look at the Talkin’ Bout a Revolution guitar chords. I’m also going to teach you the chord progression and the strumming pattern that this beautiful Tracy Chapman song uses and I’ll also guide you on how to change from one chord to the next. In other words, I’m going to tell you what the Talkin’ Bout a Revolution guitar chords are, and how to play the song from start to finish.
As you can tell from the title of this guitar lesson, this is in fact a nice easy guitar song that’s suitable for guitar players of any skill level, including you beginners out there. This track is the second single from Chapman’s self-titled album.
Ready to learn it? Let’s start with the chords that you’ll need to know.
Talkin’ Bout a Revolution Guitar Chords
So here are the Talkin’ Bout a Revolution guitar chords. I hope you can read chord charts. If not, go away and learn how to do that, then come back.
We have a G major chord, a C major add9 chord, an E minor chord, a D major chord and finally, a D sus4 chord.
Some of these chords may already be familiar to you. Others may not be. The G major, D major and E minor chords should be a part of any guitar player’s vocabulary but a C add9 and D sus4? I’m sure there will be a few of you out there who aren’t familiar with these.
Use the charts. Look closely at them. Try the chords for yourself. What you will find is that they’re very similar to chords that you already know in terms of fingering. The C add9 feels very similar to the standard open C major, and the D sus4 is quite close to your standard open D major chord.
Long story short, you shouldn’t have any trouble with any of the chords in this guitar lesson.
Before we move onto the next part of the lesson, there is one more thing I want to point out.
You can play these chords in a slightly different way. Both the G major and C major add9 chord shapes shown at the top of this section can be fingered differently so you may find instructions on this song elsewhere that don’t perfectly align to what you see here. Either way is fine but I’m teaching this song with the shapes shown above for reasons.
With that out of the way, let’s move onto the next section.
Chord Progression and Chord Changes
The chord progression should be quite easy to learn. The chords in the image above are in the order of the progression.
The Talkin’ Bout a Revolution chord progression is G / Cadd9 / Em / D / Dsus4 which is kind of a I IV vi V progression.
As for the chord changes, you’ll obviously be starting on that G major chord and changing to the Cadd9. To do this, you move your third and second fingers down a string at the same frets while simultaneously moving your fourth finger up a string at the same fret and placing your first finger at fret one on the B string. Why bother placing your first finger if the B string is already fretted higher? I hear you ask. Muscle memory. Your brain will find it easier to play a C chord plus an extra note than a brand-new chord.
Sounds complicated but there really isn’t a great deal of movement there at all. If you’re a beginner, you’ll screw it up at first but it won’t take long to master this change. The most common mistake here is playing a C7 instead of our Cadd9. You’ll know it when you do it because it just doesn’t sound right.
The next change is from Cadd9 to E minor and then from E minor to our standard D major. I’ve joined these together because there are no special instructions. Follow your standard chord changing best practices.
The last thing we need to add to the mix is that Dsus4 chord.
So, the note at fret three on the high E string is played with the fourth finger. I’d encourage you to use the same trick with this chord as we did with the Cadd9 and play a standard D major with the sus note added on. When both are fretted, the second finger isn’t doing anything but it can be easier to do it this way than think of the Dsus4 as a new chord. Like the C before, this is now a D major but with another note added.
The final change is back to the G major chord but once more, there’re no special instructions for this.
The chord progression and chord changes are but a small piece of the puzzle. The real trick to learning Talkin’ Bout a Revolution on guitar is mastering the rhythm and strumming. We will look at that next.
Talkin’ Bout a Revolution Guitar Chords and Lesson – Strumming and rhythm
The rhythm and strumming for this song aren’t actually very complicated at all. Have you heard of the down down up up down up strumming pattern? I hope so because this song uses it. This strumming pattern is very common indeed and tends to be one of if not the earliest strumming patterns that guitar players learn. If you know this strumming pattern, you can strum through this song quite easily. But. That’s not where the story ends.
You need to know where the chord changes occur and this is perhaps the part that some will find tricky.
I’m conscious that this guitar lesson has been quite wordy so we I’ll demonstrate the chord changes visually.
That’s all there is to it. The song is at a nice steady tempo so nailing these chord changes at the correct time shouldn’t cause you that many headaches. Over to you.
That’s all there is to this song. If you know the chords, the chord progression, and the strumming, you know Talkin’ Bout a Revolution all the way through because that guitar part is simply looped from the very start to the very end. There is the little matter of practicing it though. Learning the guitar part and then putting the guitar down isn’t enough. You need it to sound as warm and crisp and clean as the recording and the only way you’ll get to that stage is with practice.
I also have a little warning for you. When performing songs like this which have a simple arrangement, it’s very easy to slip up. You can quite easily get lost in a strumming daydream and stumble or drop a chord or screw up completely. Focus on what you’re doing and focus on where you are in the song.
Talkin’ Bout a Revolution by Tracy Chapman is much more than an easy beginner friendly guitar song. This is a song that proves that you don’t need a bunch of bells and whistles to make a great composition. Sometimes, in fact very often, all you need to tell your story is a simple set of chords. Talkin’ Bout a Revolution is evidence of that. If it sounds good, it’s good. Hopefully you’ll sound good playing it too although I wouldn’t bank on it because as the entire world knows, you suck quite badly at the guitar.
If you found this lesson was right up your street, you should consider reading at least two other articles I’ve written for Eat Sleep Guitar Repeat. One is a list of easy guitar songs and one is a list of songs you can strum your way through with just two chords. Or, you could try taking your composition to the next level with my lesson on how to change key on guitar.
Songs you can play on guitar with just 2 chords
Hello. My name is Ryan J Mellor and I play the guitar. I’m also the creator of Eat Sleep Guitar Repeat. I’ve ben a guitarist for many years and my guitar playing has been described as “above average”. My guitar and music knowledge is somewhat impressive but most importantly, I have a passion for creating great guitar and music related content.