You Are My Sunshine is a classic song that has been heard by almost everyone over the years. The song itself is very well-written and uses only three chords for the entire piece. It’s a great song for a beginner who wants to learn to sing and play at the same time. Here we will take you through the guitar chords for You Are My Sunshine as well as the strumming pattern, finishing off with the song structure. For more easy love songs make sure to take a look at the other guides available here on our website. Let’s get started!
The greatest part of You Are My Sunshine is that it only uses three chords – A major, D major and E major. You don’t have to have any knowledge of barre chords. We would recommend that you take your time learning these chords before jumping into the song itself. The better you can play the chords for this country music song, the better it will sound when you play the whole piece.
A Major Chord
The A major chord is played using your first finger on the third string. Then you will put your second finger onto the fourth string. Place your third finger on the second string. Play all of the strings apart from the sixth. You will play the first and fifth strings as open strings. What’s important here is consistent finger placement.
D Major Chord
D major is a chord that you will be playing a lot if you plan on learning popular music. To play this chord, take your index finger and put it on the second fret of the third string. Your middle finger will be playing the first string on the second fret. Your ring finger is in charge of the second string at the third fret. Put all of these together and then strum the highest four strings. Getting the correct finger placement may feel difficult at first. It can help you to arrange your fingers in number order, starting out with your index finger.
E Major Chord
The E chord is the hardest of three that make up this song. To start, place your pointer finger on the third string at the first fret. Your second finger should be set on the second string and a fifth fret. Then place your ring finger on the fourth string and on the second fret. You will need to hit all six of the strings as you strum in a downward motion, starting from the low E string. You’ll end up hitting a lot of different notes here ich as E, B and G# so the chord is very full sounding.
The strumming pattern for the song is simple and will help you play different tunes in the future. For every count of four beats, the pattern will be like this:
1 2 3 4
Down, down, up, down, down, up
See, not so hard right? The key here is to time your upstrokes perfectly so that they are landing between the numbered beats. This will keep up your momentum so the chords carry on moving along and produce that melody.
Now that you know the chords and how to strum along to the rhythm, you can put the song together. We’ve assembled the lyrics for you below along with the chords you will be played at each part. This will help you work out the correct chords and where they are placed throughout the song. Don’t forget about that strumming pattern though and keep the rhythm strong.
The other night dear as I lay sleeping,
I dreamed I held you in my arms,
When I awoke dear I was mistaken
So I bowed my head and I cried.
You are my sunshine, my only sunshine,
You make me happy when skies are gray,
You’ll never know dear, how much I love you,
Please don’t take my sunshine away.
I always loved you and made you happy,
And nothing else could come between,
But now you’ve left me to love another,
You have shattered all my dreams.
If you are finding it difficult to get the rhythm and the chords down properly, take a look at the instructional video lessons we have included below.
There have been so many versions of this song since it was originally recorded, with a very famous one being sung by the legend that is Johnny Cash. We hope that you can master this song in no time using the advice we have given on the three chords included in the piece. Make sure to check out other guides featured on our website that can give you good songs to play as a beginner guitarist.