Taylor Swift has been a force to be reckoned with ever since she broke into the mainstream of music. She has legions of die-hard fans that could be compared to fans of The Beatles when they were performing. Perhaps you’re one of these fans?
If you are, you’ll be pleased to know that many of Taylor’s songs are quite simple to play. Her songs are an excellent example of how a great song can be built from basic chords.
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Treacherous is a song about falling in love against your better judgment. Sometimes you know that a relationship will cause you extreme pain, especially if it doesn’t work out.
Is the payoff worth the hassle? There’s only one way to truly find out.
Treacherous is a very simple song to play. If you want to play it like Taylor Swift, you’ll need to put a capo on the 2nd fret.
This song is centered around open-chord shapes. These include C, G, A minor, and F.
To really get the song’s sound down, work at accenting the differentiation between the upstrokes and downstrokes. Also, take the time to study how she works with dynamics to bring the song’s energy up.
Taylor Swift’s song August is a song that has pop stylings while retaining a heavy folk-music sound. This track reminisces the love of a summer past.
Typically, August is a very interesting month, in terms of the weather. As it’s a summer month, it tends to be hot, but also quite vulnerable to the potential of damaging storms.
Lyrically, August is painted in the hue of a distant memory, perhaps even from adolescence. This is a time that is often looked back in fondness when the innocence of youth remained intact.
To play August, you’ll need a capo on the 3rd fret. You’ll then need to know the chord shapes of D, G, E minor, and A. The song pretty much follows that exact chord progression the entire way through.
“I Don’t Wanna Live Forever”
T-Swift and Zayn Malik got together to record I Don’t Wanna Live Forever for the movie Fifty Shades Darker. The song is written as a duet, taken from the perspectives of characters in the film.
Taylor’s fans were surprised at the release of the track, as there was no promotional information beforehand. Instead, she released it silently for her fans to wake up to. It was her first song after a 2-year period of silence.
You can perform this just like Taylor by placing a capo at the 3rd fret. Chord-wise, you’ll need to know the shapes of C, G, D, and E minor 7.
Don’t worry if you don’t have someone to sing the duet with. Taylor often performs the entire song by herself.
“State Of Grace”
Many of Taylor Swift’s songs have been written to provide a point of view into her romantic relationships. Her song, State Of Grace, has been speculated to be about her relationship with Jake Gyllenhaal.
There are a few different versions of State Of Grace floating around. For the purpose of this article, we will focus on the acoustic version of Taylor’s version of the Red album.
The guitar in the recording is tuned in standard tuning with no capo. There is a good bit of fingerpicking involved, but it can be performed quite easily. Take some time to listen to the recording and slowly match up the picking pattern with the song.
For the most part, the song seems to be centered around a D, Asus2, and G. Be patient with yourself and you’ll have this song learned in no time.
“Teardrops On My Guitar”
Teardrops On My Guitar is a song that comes from T-Swift’s first album, which was released in 2006. She originally wrote it about a crush she had on a guy in high school. It turned out that he eventually was arrested for child abuse, which shows she dodged a major bullet.
This song helped propel Taylor into the mainstream. It spent over 150 weeks on the pop song charts. She even won an award for Song Of The Year in 2008 as it was the highest played song.
If you want to play this song, it’s really quite simple. You’ll need a capo on the 3rd fret to match the guitar’s pitch in the recording. The chord shapes used in this song include G, E minor, C, and D.
The song Red, from the 2012 album of the same title, is a passionate song about a love gone wrong. Lyrically, the song speaks of the frailty of love she found for someone else. Seemingly, it was always on the verge of ending, though it was beautiful while it lasted.
Taylor’s message is relatable for anybody that has had to deal with the perils of letting go of love. It can be hard to release, but regardless, is something to look back on with fondness.
The recording of Red contains quite a bit of instrumentation. However, you can translate this to the guitar with relative ease.
You’ll need to place a capo on the 4th fret. The chord shapes used in this song are F, A minor, G, and C. To play the song’s signature single note riff, simply arpeggiate F, A minor, and G.
22, from Taylor’s 2012 album Red, is a pop song through and through. This song has hints of country music that peaks through, especially with her vocal delivery.
Lyrically, this song seems to convey the feeling of being young and getting together with friends. Life’s one big question at the age of 22, and there’s nothing better to do than to live it up.
If you’re a fan of this song, you’ll be pleased to know that it’s quite easy. The chords used in the song are primarily G, D, and C, with some E minor. This pattern follows a traditional pattern as heard in many songs, including the classic favorite, Wild Thing.
No capo is needed for this song. Do take extra time to practice the strumming pattern. It can be a little tricky to get the syncopation down.
Cornelia Street, from the 2019 album Lover, touches on how a city can be permeated by memories of love. This is especially so if you’ve spent your time in that city with another person. All of the places within that city will likely hold a reminder of times past.
Musically, Cornelia Street is steeped in electronic stylings, built around a piano. However, this song can easily be reduced to a guitar if you wish to play it.
To play Cornelia Street, you’ll need to know the chords C, G, A minor, and F. The song pretty much follows that chord progression throughout its entirety. No capo is needed for this song.
Taylor Swift showed that she has a sense of humor when she wrote the song Blank Space. The song was written in jest as a reaction to how she was portrayed in the media. She managed to paint herself into the song as she was viewed in the public arena.
Blank Space is an excellent study of perspectives. What you might think is reality could really just be your own projection. This couldn’t be more true when it involves someone else.
The album version of Blank Space is mostly an electronic pop song. Fortunately, there are some acoustic versions that allow people to play this song on the guitar.
You’ll need a capo on the 6th fret to play Blank Space. The chord shapes involved with this song include G, E minor 7, Cadd9, D, A minor, and C.
Wildest Dreams, from Taylor’s 2014 album 1989, finds the singer contemplating her expectations in a relationship. The song is written in a story form and touches on a few different topics. Amongst these topics is the impermeable nature of a relationship itself.
The recorded version of the song leaves little to play on the guitar as it is mostly electronic pop. However, the underlying harmonic context can be transcribed to the guitar fairly easily.
To play with the recorded version, you’ll need a capo on the 1st fret. The chords used throughout the song are C, E minor, D, G, and A minor.
Taylor frequently performs this song live. She can be seen playing the guitar without a capo. The underlying chords remain the same however you wish to play the song.
“Shake It Off”
Shake It Off is a song that has major pump-up vibes. You’re sure to be ready to get out the door and make your place in the world with this song.
The song features quite a bit of complex percussion as an underlying foundational tapestry. Driving the song is an infectious melody line played by a synthetic horn.
You might wonder how you can play this song on the guitar, considering the recorded song’s composition. Like many of her other pop-heavy songs, this can be transcribed to the guitar. Studying the harmonic context available can help you figure out the chords used.
Fortunately, you don’t have to do that, as that information will be provided to you. The chords in this song are A minor, C, and G. This essentially emulates that melodic horn line in the song.
Try playing these chords in a similar rhythm pattern as the horn in the song. Doing so will give you the proper pulse, helping you drive the song.
Our Song is another track from Taylor Swift’s 2006 debut album. This track is an upbeat tune featuring many common country music tropes that were popular at the time.
Lyrically, Taylor writes about the feeling of being in a relationship. It has a very high school feel to how the relationship is portrayed.
Many couples have a song that reminds them of each other. The song for this couple happens to be the noises made as they sneak out of their parents' house.
To play Our Song, you’ll only need to know 4 chords. These include D, E minor, G, and A.
For better performance, take the time to practice the strumming pattern. Our Song has quite a bit of country swing involved and your rhythm will be crucial in conveying this properly.
“I Knew You Were Trouble”
Some song titles really let you know ahead of time what the song will be about. I Knew You Were Trouble leaves little guesswork. This is clearly about being with somebody who was no good, though their absence doesn’t make the pain disappear.
Despite the song’s inherent painful story, I Knew You Were Trouble is rather upbeat and uplifting. The song also has the guitar throughout, making it rather easy to discern what to play.
If you like this song and wish to play it, you’ll need a capo on the 4th fret. The chord shapes involved include D, A, B minor, G, and E minor.
Do practice the stabbing rhythmic strumming pattern, as it is an integral part of the song. You might have to get a little creative during the song’s breakdown. But then again, that’s all part of the fun.
“You Belong With Me”
Throughout her career, Taylor Swift has managed to capture the experience of a high school student quite well. You Belong With Me is just one example of this.
This song is about comparing yourself to someone else, who just happens to be your love interest’s object of desire. We’ve all been there before.
To play this song, you’ll need to be familiar with your barre chords, as this song uses them exclusively. You might be able to get away with using a capo, but you’ll still need to use at least 1 barre chord.
The chords for this song include F#, C#, G# minor, and B. For a 4 chord song, Taylor has incorporated some interesting sections that rearrange the chords a bit.
You Belong With Me is a pretty straightforward song for the most part. There aren’t any sections in the song that could pose as a tricky hurdle to jump over.
“We Are Never Getting Back Together”
Here is another T-Swift song with a very self-explanatory title. The title is so descriptive that it’s almost comical.
All of that aside, We Are Never Getting Back Together features some cool guitar work. It’s certainly more hands-on than some of the other songs on this list.
We Are Never Getting Back Together consists of simple chords. These include Cadd9, G, D, E minor 7, and D/F#.
The real trick is learning how to properly play the guitar part if you want to play beyond simple strumming. You’ll need to strum the first chord in the sequence and arpeggiate the following chord. If you’re familiar with the song, you’ll hear how this works.
Be patient when learning this because it does take a degree of focus to really master. For those of you who plan to sing and play, be kind to yourself and have some extra patience.
Betty is a heart-wrenching song from Taylor’s 2020 album Folklore. The album itself is a sprawling story that centers around the relationship between two teenagers. This song in particular is written from the perspective of the character named James.
The story within the song tells of someone who hurt their love by their actions. This instance happens to be cheating, which can be absolutely devastating. As he passes her house, he has to come to grips with the fact that he misses her.
Musically, Betty has a signature descending chord melody that plays throughout the song. There are quite a few chords involved, but you’ll likely be familiar with them if you know your open chords.
Take your time with this one. It’s a long story and it deserves your attentive practice in providing the proper accompaniment.
Gorgeous, from T-Swift’s 2014 album Reputation, is a very upbeat pop song. It is chock full of little additions that can make listening to the song an addictive experience.
Like many other songs from Taylor’s catalog, this is primarily a pop song. There really isn’t a guitar to be heard anywhere in the recorded version.
Don’t let that get you down, because, like anything, it can be transcribed to the guitar quite easily. If you listen to the song, you’ll notice that most of the musical structure is based around a synth line.
When transcribing it to the guitar, you’ll come up with the chords of C, A minor, F, and G. To play it as you hear on the recording, try arpeggiating these chords from the lowest note to the highest. Leaving the high E string open will give you the note you are likely missing from your arpeggios.
As with anything that takes more effort than simple strumming patterns, be patient when learning this. You could really have some fun playing this song if you use a loop pedal. This would allow you to loop some percussive tracks as well as the arpeggios, making an ideal singing platform.
Easy Taylor Swift Guitar Song Tabs, Final Thoughts
Whether you love or hate Taylor Swift, you have to give credit where credit is due. Few people in modern times have been able to achieve the successes that she has.
The fact that she is able to continually top the charts and stay relevant is a testament to her craft. She has certainly built a legacy of music that is sure to be enjoyed by fans well into the future.
Side note, do you want to learn to play guitar songs the easy way? Learn how here – results are guaranteed!