Money (That’s What I Want) chords by Barrett Strong


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Money (That’s What I Want) | Chords + Lyrics

Intro (0:00)

||: N.C :|| x4
||: F riff | F riff :||
| C | Bb | F riff | C5 |

Verse 1 (0:22)

| F N.C | N.C Bb C |
The best things in life are free,
| F N.C | N.C |
but you can give them to the birds and bees,
| Bb (F riff) | Bb (F riff) |
I need money (that’s what I want).
| F riff | F riff |
That’s what I want (that’s what I want).
| C | Bb | F riff | C5 |
That’s what I want (that’s what I want). That’s what I want (that’s what I want).

Verse 2 (0:44)

| F N.C | N.C Bb C |
Your love give me such a thrill,
| F N.C | N.C F |
but your love don’t pay my bills,
| Bb riff | Bb riff |
I need money (that’s what I want).
| F riff | F riff |
That’s what I want (that’s what I want).
| C | Bb | F riff | C5 |
That’s what I want (that’s what I want). That’s what I want (that’s what I want).

Solo (1:06)

| F7 | F7 | F7 | F7 |
| Bb7 | Bb7 | F7 | F7 |
| C7 | Bb7 | F7 | C7 |

Verse 3 (1:28)

| F N.C | N.C Bb5 |
Money don’t get everything it’s true,
| F N.C | N.C F7 |
but what it don’t get, I can’t use,
| Bb7 | Bb7 |
I need money (that’s what I want).
| F7 | F7 |
That’s what I want (that’s what I want).
| C | Bb | F7 | C5 |
That’s what I want (that’s what I want). That’s what I want (that’s what I want).

Outro chorus 1 (1:49)

| F7 | F7 | F7 | F7 |
Money (that’s what I want). Lots of money (that’s what I want).
| Bb7 | Bb7 | F7 | F7 |
Whole lot of money (that’s what I want). That’s what I want (that’s what I want).
| C | Bb | F riff | C5 |
That’s what I want (that’s what I want, that’s what I want).

Outro chorus 2 (2:11)

| F riff | F riff | F riff | F riff |
Money (that’s what I want). Give me money (that’s what I want).
| Bb riff | Bb riff | F riff | F riff |
Ah, lots of money (that’s what I want). That’s what I want (that’s what I want).
| C | Bb | F riff | C5 |
That’s what I want (that’s what I want). That’s what I need (that’s what I want). Whoo.
| F riff | F riff | F riff | F riff | to fade
Money (that’s what I want, ah ha ha).


You can learn how to play Money (That’s What I Want)!

Money (That’s What I Want) was the first successful single released by Motown in 1959.

Written by the founder of Motown himself and performed by Barrett Strong, it would mark the beginnings of the most important musical movement in the history of popular music.

On the original recording, the guitar plays its own riff and stays with it as the band moves from F to Bb. In cover versions (The Beatles etc) this rarely happens, instead, they move with the progression.

What I ended up playing myself was a hybrid of all influences I got as I learned the song.

By being open like this, I look for what the song wants in my particular band setup, rather than how to play what I copied and memorized from a single source.

All this means there’s room here for you to design your own part. Start with what I do, then consider your options.

In the course, we go through everything I play in the video as well as discuss other options, we also discuss the minor pentatonic and blues language, and we even play the melody of Money (That’s What I Want) in all shapes.

With all this in mind, we then build a solo, related to what happens in the song in step 6, before I play the complete song with the band, followed by you playing the complete song with the live band backing track.

Below, you get that solo lesson for free, it’s a two-part video guitar lesson, with a third video showing you the TAB for the solo, enjoy!


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Money (That’s What I Want) guitar lesson | Solo

To notate in TAB what I play in the video is largely counterproductive, Blues is not a style that uses notation. The goal is not to repeat but to constantly vary the licks, to improvise, to follow the song, and to be in the moment.

With that in mind, to clearly show you what I ended up playing in my improvised solo, below, there is TAB!

In the video lesson above, I talk you through how I came up with this, that information is more important than the TAB below.

These are the main points:

  • Start with learning to play the actual vocal melody in as many areas of the neck as possible
  • Use the melody’s note choices for your solo, change the rhythm
  • Use the melody’s rhythm, change the notes
  • Use the note choices of the riffs
  • Combine suitable chord licks with ideas from the songs melody

Money That's What I Want chords, solo TAB.
TAB for Money (That’s What I Want) solo

Before we played this solo, in the course we played the riff, the vocal melody, and all the scales everywhere on the neck. Doing this makes it possible to come up with more solos like this, for Money (That’s What I Want), or any tune!

For the complete experience, sign up here.

Money (That’s What I Want) | Chords and progressions

The chord progression is similar to that of a blues, using stops in the verse, play through in the turnaround, solo, and chorus.

Since the chords are played using a riff, just using a chord to describe it is slightly misleading, especially since it’s a major chord but the riff is mainly using a m3rd!

The intro starts with the piano on its own for four bars before we play the main F riff.

||: N.C :|| x4
||: F riff | F riff :||
C | Bb | F riff | C5 |

The first verse uses stops, no riff for the F. Strangely enough, when the band goes to Bb, the guitar stays on the F riff!

F N.C | N.C Bb C | F N.C | N.C |
Bb (F riff) | Bb (F riff) | F riff | F riff |
C | Bb | F riff | C5 |

Verse 2, again uses stops, although this time I move the riff up to Bb, rather than staying in F.

F N.C | N.C Bb C | F N.C | N.C F |
Bb riff | Bb riff | F riff | F riff |
C | Bb | F riff | C5 |

This is followed by a solo, now without stops or riffs as the guitar plays the solo. The band plays a 12-bar blues.

F7 | F7 | F7 | F7 |
Bb7 | Bb7 | F7 | F7 |
C7 | Bb7 | F7 | C7 |

Verse 3 is up next and we’re back to playing with stops but without riffs, instead, chord licks are introduced.

F N.C | N.C Bb5 | F N.C | N.C F7 |
Bb7 | Bb7 | F7 | F7 |
C | Bb | F7 | C5 |

Next up we keep playing over what can only be described as a chorus, There are no stops but no riff either, instead we play chords imitating the piano riff. You need TAB to get this right.

F7 | F7 | F7 | F7 |
Bb7 | Bb7 | F7 | F7 |
C | Bb | F riff | C5 |

Finally, the outro and we’re seemingly back to playing the riff, now throughout, moving it to Bb and back. There is a modification in the note choices used here.

F riff | F riff | F riff | F riff |
Bb riff | Bb riff | C | Bb | F riff | C5 |
F riff | F riff | F riff | F riff | to fade


Money (That’s What I Want) | Related pages


Money (That’s What I Want) – 8 guitar lessons

Money That's What I Want, 8 guitar lessons in the course.

As well as learning the very interesting main riff of Money (That’s What I Want) there’s plenty more going on in these lessons.

As well as varying the turnaround, we also have a solo to get our teeth into.

Go to Money (That’s What I Want) – 8 guitar lessons.


Intermediate Electric Songs

When you can play Money (That's What I Want) chords, discover more intermediate electric songs.

Learn all these Motown/Soul songs and you will have gained yourself a repertoire so you can jam or even join a working band.

Study these songs in-depth and you will map out the fretboard, master the CAGED system and learn how to design a rhythm guitar part that works in a band.

Go to Intermediate Electric Songs.


Money (That’s What I Want) – 5 similar tunes

When you can play Money (That's What I Want) chords, try these five tunes from the song book.

Berry Gordy

Find out more about Berry Gordy, the man who wrote Money (That's What I Want) chords.

Berry Gordy is the man behind the hit factory that was Motown. The idea behind the label came from working in a car factory.

Housing the label, the studio, and a house band all in the same building proved to be a masterstroke as Berry set out to discover the greatest superstars of our time.

Go to Berry Gordy.


Berry Gordy on the web

Listen to Berry Gordy on Spotify.

Barrett Strong

Find out more about Barrett Strong, the man who recorded Money (That's What I Want).

Barrett Strong was the first artist on the Motown label to have a hit. The song was Money (That’s What I Want). Performed by Barrett, it was written by the president of the label and a sign of what was to come.

As well as his own solo career, Barrett also wrote many of Motown’s biggest hits.

Go to Barrett Strong.


Barrett Strong on the web

Listen to Barrett Strong on Spotify.