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How to Play American Idiot Chords by Green Day on Guitar

Green Day is one of the most influential punk rock bands of all time, and their 2004 album American Idiot is a masterpiece of political and social commentary. The title track, American Idiot, is a catchy and energetic song that criticizes the media and the government for creating a nation of ignorant and paranoid people. If you want to learn how to play this song on guitar, here are some tips and resources to help you.

The Chords

The first thing you need to know is that the song is played in half-step down tuning, which means you have to lower each string by one semitone. The tuning is Eb Ab Db Gb Bb Eb, from low to high. You can use a tuner or an online tool to help you tune your guitar.

American Idiot
Green Day
Chords by Lumina (july)
Tune down 1/2 step
 
[Intro]
A  D  G  D  A G
A  D  G  D  A Bb
A  D  G  D  A G
A  D  G  D  A
 
[Verse]
N.C.                              A  D  G  D  A G
Don't wanna be an American idiot.
N.C.                                     A  D  G  D  A
Don't want a nation under the new media.
N.C.                                    A  D  G  D  A G
And can you hear the sound of hysteria?
N.C.                            A  D  G  D  A Bb
The subliminal mindfuck America.
 
[Chorus]
D
Welcome to a new kind of tension.
A
All across the alien nation.
E                             A
Everything isn't meant to be okay.
D
Television dreams of tomorrow.
A
We're not the ones who're meant to follow.
E                           N.C.
For that's enough to argue.
 
[Instrumental]
A  D  G  D  A G
A  D  G  D  A
 
[Verse 2]
N.C.                               A  D  G  D  A G
Well maybe I'm the faggot America.
N.C.                                A  D  G  D  A
I'm not a part of a redneck agenda.
N.C.                             A  D  G  D  A G
Now everybody do the propaganda.
N.C.                                   A  D  G  D  A Bb
And sing along in the age of paranoia.
 
[Chorus]
D
Welcome to a new kind of tension.
A
All across the alien nation.
E                             A
Everything isn't meant to be okay.
D
Television dreams of tomorrow.
A
We're not the ones who're meant to follow.
E                           N.C.
For that's enough to argue.
 
[Instrumental]
A  D  G  D  A G
A  D  G  D  A Bb
A  D  G  D  A G
A  D  G  D  A Bb
 
[Bridge]
D     A     E     A
D     A     E     A
A  D  G  D  A
A  D  G  D  A
 
[Verse 3]
A
Don't wanna be an American idiot.
A
One nation controlled by the media.
A    D      G  D         A   G
Information nation of hysteria.
N.C.
It's calling out to idiot America.
 
[Chorus]
D
Welcome to a new kind of tension.
A
All across the alien nation.
E                             A
Everything isn't meant to be okay.
D
Television dreams of tomorrow.
A
We're not the ones who're meant to follow.
E                           A  D  G  D  A Bb
For that's enough to argue.
 
[Outro]
A  D  G  D  A G
A  D  G  D  A Bb
A  D  G  D  A G
A  D  G  D  A N.C.

The Strumming Pattern

The strumming pattern for the song is fairly simple and consistent. You just have to strum down on each beat and mute the strings in between. The song has a fast tempo of 186 bpm, so you have to strum quickly and accurately. Here is an example of the strumming pattern for the intro:

1   &   2   &   3   &   4   &   1   &   2   &   3   &   4   &
D       D       D       D       D       D       D       D
G#5 C#5 F#5 C#5 G#5 F#5 G#5 C#5 F#5 C#5 G#5 Bb5 G#5 C#5 F#5 C#5

You can practice the strumming pattern with a metronome or a backing track to improve your timing and rhythm.

The Song Structure

The song has four main sections: verse, chorus, solo, and bridge. Each section has a different chord progression and melody. Here is a summary of the song structure and the chords for each section:

  • Intro: G#5 C#5 F#5 C#5 G#5 F#5 (x2)
  • Verse: G#5 C#5 F#5 C#5 G#5 F#5 (x4)
  • Chorus: C#5 G#5 D#5 G#5 (x4)
  • Instrumental: G#5 C#5 F#5 C#5 G#5 F#5 (x2)
  • Verse 2: same as verse
  • Chorus: same as chorus
  • Instrumental: same as instrumental
  • Solo: C#5 G#5 D#5 G#5 (x8)
  • Bridge: G#5 C#5 F#5 C## G## (x4)
  • Verse 3: same as verse
  • Chorus: same as chorus
  • Outro: same as instrumental

Conclusion

American Idiot by Green Day is a great song to play on guitar, especially if you like punk rock music and social commentary. The song uses only five power chords, a simple strumming pattern, and a straightforward song structure. You just need to tune your guitar down by half a step, practice the chords and the rhythm, and have fun rocking out.

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