You can learn how to play American Pie by Don McLean!

American Pie was the first single and most successful song by American singer-songwriter Don McLean.

Telling the story of the day the music died, American Pie has become legendary, earning the #5 spot on RIAA’s list of songs of the century.

The chord progression can be tricky to remember since the same chords seem to be repeated in lots of different ways.

Thinking of them as numbers really will help as every number has a sound. If you can tap into this, you can hear where the progression wants to move next.

American Pie is in the key of G, one of the chords below is an X chord (a chord that should have been minor but has been changed to major), can you spot which one?


Intro and chorus chords

These are the chords for the intro and chorus.

Intro

| G D/F# Em | Am C | Em D Dsus4 | 2/4 Dsus2 D |

| G D/F# Em | Am C | Em C | D Dsus4 D Dsus2 |

| Em Am | Em Am | C Gsus4/B Am | C D |

| G D/F# Em | C D | G D/F# Em | C D | G |

Chorus

| G C | G D | x3

| Em | A7 | Em | D Dsus2 D | Dsus4 D Dsus2 D |


Verse and outro chords

These are the chords for the verse and the outro.

Verse

| G | Am | C | Am | C | D Dsus2 D | Dsus4 D Dsus2 D Dsus4 |
| G D/F# | Em | Am | C | Em | Am | D Dsus2 D | Dsus4 D Dsus2 D Dsus4 |

| Em | D | Em | D | C Gsus4/B | Am | C | D Dsus4 |
| G D/F# | Em | Am | C | G D/F# | Em | C | D |
| G C | G D Dsus4 |

Outro

| G D/F# Em | Am C | Em D | 2/4 Dsus2 D |
| G D/F# Em | Am Em | Em C | Dsus4 D Dsus2 D |

| Em Am | Em Am | C Gsus4/B Am | C D | 2/4 Dsus2 D |
| G D/F# Em | C D | I D/F# Em | C D | G |

In the intermediate acoustic guitar course, we learn how to play this song in eight steps. First on just one guitar, then we change key and use a capo to create a 2nd guitar part.

Learn this 2nd guitar part and we can play the song together with the singer, like a band.


American Pie – Guitar Lessons

You can learn how to play American Pie by Don McLean!

Step 1 (Chorus)Step 2 (Verse)Step 3 (Intro & Outro)Step 4 (Complete song)Step 5 (2nd guitar part, chorus)Step 6 (2nd guitar part, verse)Step 7 (2nd guitar part, intro & outro)Step 8 (2nd guitar, complete song).


American Pie – Lyrics

A long long time ago,
I can still remember how that music used to make me smile.
And I knew if I had my chance, that I could make those people dance,
and maybe they’d be happy for a while.

Go to American Pie – Lyrics.


Don McLean – Biography

Don McLean is an American singer-songwriter most famous for his ’71 songs American Pie and Vincent.

When McLean’s indie label Media Arts got sold to United Artists, he got an unexpected chance to make his second album for a major label.

Go to Don McLean – Biography.

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