Song Lessons – Talkin’ ‘Bout A Revolution by Tracy Chapman (Acoustic Strum Easy & Harder)

Mar 9, 2024 | Learning Guitar, Online Guitar Lessons, Song Lessons | 0 comments

Talkin’ ’bout a Revolution released in the late 80s is a well requested song for acoustic guitar strummers. Tracy Chapman has taken 4 chords, repeated them in the same order throughout the song and with a bit of an interesting strumming pattern created something that defines it and is instantly recognisable to this song even though these same 4 chords are used in countless other songs.

Today we learn the actual strumming pattern in the recording. I’ve added tab and rhythm charts to help reinforce the lesson. In the second part I break down the rhythm into an easy version for those with less experience or those not wanting to learn the more complex version.


The chords

We use the chords G Cadd9 Em & D

Practise playing the chords in this sequence first to get used to the chord changes.


The Rhythms

The strumming pattern in the song has some excellent nuances.  We’re playing 4 chords round and round but the way Tracy Chapman catches the strings lets some melody notes ring out that make it really recognisable.

Follow the tab below for a more precise look at the notes and strings used.  For a video example click the link HERE

The chart below divides the chords into the 4/4 rhythm.  If you count the numbers as you play ( 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +) and line them up with the down/up strums and chord changes this will help you to build your rhythm counting practise and understand on what part of the beat you need to change chord.


Easy Rhythm

Using the same chords as we have referenced at the beginning of the post and follow the rhythm chart below.

If you are a newish guitarist I would recommend you count 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + out loud as you practise putting the up/down strums and chords in the right places.


Performance Tips


So, remember, this chord sequence cycles for the  entire song and what you can do to make that  more interesting is to build the DYNAMICS. We do this by building the volume and the feel.  We can start off strumming nice and soft and then as the bridges and as the choruses approach start to build the volume.  At its peak when there’s more energy in the song you can put a little bit more energy into the strum.  When it comes back back to the verse drop  the volume down again.  This keeps it a little bit more engaging.
The song structure isn’t quite as  clearcut as some Verse Chorus Verse Chorus songs.  it’s an observational, storytelling song.  Have a listen to it see what the sequence of the song is doing try and play along to it.  When you’ve got four chords that are repeating time and time again it’s the perfect way to practice it and a top way to get your strumming practise up to speed.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *