Learn How To Play Red

Chords and Guitar Lessons

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Complete song – Acoustic guitar and vocals


Red is a single by Daniel Merriweather, produced by the hugely successful Mark Ronson.

This song is in the key of E major and only uses the I, IV, V, and VI chords throughout the entire song.

To spice things up and compensate for the lack of huge production, courtesy of Mr. Ronson, open strings have been incorporated into the one guitar arrangement.

These open strings create some unique extensions to the chords.

Chord progression

The intro/instrumental section is harmonically super simple.

| E | Eadd9 |

The verse only adds one chord, spiced up with a couple of extensions it looks like this.

| Asus2 | Asus2 | E Eadd9 | E | x2

The bridge introduces some new chords, taking the song to chord VI for the first time, like this.

| C#m | Bsus4 | Asus2 | Asus2 | x2

The chorus is very similar to the verse, just swapped around with a VI chord snuck in.

| E | E | C#m | A | x2
| E Eadd9 | E Eadd9 |

Extend chords using open strings

There are another couple of chord progressions in the song before the m8 and during the outro that hasn’t been listed above, too many little details to get into here.

What’s really unique about this one guitar arrangement is how some of the chords in Red have been extended.

Using the same open strings throughout, we get different extensions depending on which chord is used.

For example, the C#m with an open B and E string produces a C#m7 but over an A chord, you get an add9 extension.

You’ll get to the bottom of this concept when you take the intermediate guitar course which is great as it can be applied to other songs too.

Guitar Lessons

Red – Step 1 (Free Preview)

In the first step, we look at how to play the verse of Red as played in this one acoustic guitar arrangement.

The tempo has been lowered from 92 to 78 BPM and the overall feel is very different from the original.

Go to Red step 1.

Red – Step 2

Let’s take a look at how to play the bridge and M8 sections of the song.

Both these sections use the same chord progression that moves from chord VI, down to V, finishing on chord IV.

Go to Red step 2.

Red – Step 3

The most difficult part of this acoustic arrangement is playing what we study in this step, the chorus.

Chorus 1, 2 and the outro chorus are fully transcribed, including TAB loops to help you practice.

Go to Red step 3.

Red – Step 4

The time has come to play the complete song. A chart is provided but it is extremely simple. No rhythms are included.

Instead of reading and copying me exactly, just play along with us and see if you can keep up. Achieve this and you’ll be able to play this song on your own.

Go to Red step 4.

Red – Step 5

In this step, we start working on the modes. The most misunderstood music theory concept guitar players face.

As well as looking at the rise and fall of the S-E P R, we work out how to best learn, understand and use the modes.

Go to Red step 5.

Red – Step 6

To assist your journey of understanding and being able to actually use the modes, we work on how to play Mixolydian in this step.

First, we compare it to Ionian, only one note differ. More importantly, we have to hear the difference when using these two scales in the same key.

Go to Red step 6.

Red – Step 7

The final mode we must understand and be able to play in order to phrase over Red is Lydian.

This is the mode for chord IV, the chord I feel is the essence of this particular song.

Go to Red step 7.

Red – Step 8

In this final step, we learn the various vocal melodies from Red. At the same time, we study the intervals used from each mode.

By digging this deep we can create improvisations that follow the same feeling as the song has. Could this be the secret to making great music?

Go to Red step 8.

Related Pages


RedAnd I’m alright
Standing in the streetlights here
Is this meant for me
My time on the outside is over

Go to Red lyrics.

Daniel Merriweather

daniel-merriweather-thumbAustralian Daniel Merriweather first started working with Mark Ronson in ’03, appearing on his Here Comes The Fuzz.

After a few more collaborations with Ronson, they finally made a solo album for Merriweather that was released in ’09.

Go to Daniel Merriweather biography.


Learning how to play guitar is best done through playing and learning from songs.

The intermediate songs require you to learn barre chords and pentatonic scales. This will be revolutionary for your understanding of the guitar fret board.

Go to Intermediate guitar course.

Intermediate Acoustic Songs

You can learn how to play these intermediate songs on the acoustic guitar.

A Change Is Gonna Come, American Pie, Angie, Babylon, Blowin’ In The Wind, Dreadlock Holiday, Fast Car, Hey There Delilah, I Can’t Stand The Rain, I’m Yours, Kiss Me, Mad World, Red, Starman, Sunny Afternoon, and Whistle For The Choir.

Go to Intermediate acoustic songs.


All those open position chords you learned in the beginner course now become barre chords and pentatonic scales.

We’ll use this to map out the entire fret board. Everything becomes easier to visualize once this foundation is laid.

Go to Intermediate guitar exercises.

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Including detailed, but bite-sized explanations on how the music theory of each song is applied to the neck.

Go to Monthly subscription.