“The Only Exception” Guitar Tutorial | Paramore – 3 chord song!

Hey everyone! In this lesson I’m going to show you how to play “The Only Exception” by Paramore. This song is (almost) a 3-chord wonder, meaning it uses the same 3 chords in the same order, over-and-over! I say ‘almost’ because there are a couple EXCEPTIONS… ONLY a couple though.

If you’re just getting started you might need some extra help. I have 2 resources for that:


You’ll want to check out the GoodGuitarist Beginner Guitar Course! More information here: https://goodguitarist.com/beginner-guitar-course/

And there’s my eBook (which is free for all subscribers!) – You can use it to help you build a solid foundation: chords, switching, progressions, riffs, techniques… everything it takes to be a “good guitarist.” You can find it here: http://goodguitarist.com/learn-rhythm-guitar/

We start off with the chord shapes needed for the majority of the song: G, Dm and Cmaj7. These are all pretty basic chords (Cmaj7 sounds like it might be complicated, but it’s really just 2 fingers). We practice switching through them, using downstrokes only, and then we take a look at the strumming pattern.

This song is in 3/4, meaning we have to count to 3 over and over to keep track of where we are in the song. Since most songs are in 4/4, this might take a bit of getting used to, but on the bright side, this is a VERY simple 3/4 strumming pattern. Another thing you’ll need to consider is that this is a “swing” rhythm. I explain all that in the video, so no worries!

Afterwards, we practice putting the strumming and chords together before moving on and learning the rest of the song.

The bridge is where we’ll need a couple new chord shapes: Am and D. The bridge is basically another 3-chord wonder, cycling from Am to G to D.

The final bit is at the very end.. when she says “and I’m on my way to believing,” we change our progression once again to: F, C and G.

I hope you enjoy the lesson and I’ll see you soon!

The Only Exception – Paramore


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