Brown Eyed Girl by Van Morrisson features four chords and one strum pattern. You could also opt to include another chord, but that is optional. The four chords are G, C, Em, and D, with a D7 as an optional chord. Let’s get started!
Brown Eyed Girl Guitar Chords
The first chord in Brown Eyed Girl is a G, and I prefer to finger it a bit differently than usual. I go with what I call a “pinky G” as it makes it easy to then move to the C chord. However, if you’re comfortable with the traditional G shape, then feel free to use that.
We then move on to a C chord. Here I use a folk style C, with the index finger on the second string first fret, the second finger on the fourth string second fret, and the third finger on the fifth string third fret.
Next up is the D chord. Here I do a traditional folk style D chord. Place your index finger on the third string second fret, middle finger on the first string second fret, and ring finger on the second string third fret.
Finally, we have an Em. Here I’m using the second and third fingers on the fifth string second fret and fourth string second fret, respectively.
The optional chord is a D7. Place your index on the second string first fret, middle finger on the third string second fret, and ring on the first string second fret. If you’d rather not play this optional D7, feel free to just use a regular D in place of the D7.
The Verse Progression
Let’s map out the chord progression, which is the order in which you play the chords. We start with G, C, G, D and repeat those four chords. Then play the same thing again, G, C, G, D, with its repetition.
G - C - G - D
Then on the fourth line, we start on C and move on to D, G, Em, C, D, G. This is the entire first verse. You can opt to use a connecting chord of D7 to lead you back to G. Then we go on to play the second verse, which is identical to the first, just with different lyrics.
On To The Chorus
The chorus of Brown Eyed Girl starts with D7 which stays for three bars. Then we move on to the same chord progression before featuring G, C, G, D and then repeat that. From there we go to an instrumental section which is like the beginning.
A good way to practice the chords of Brown Eyed Girl at first is to just strum once at the beginning of each bar. This way you can just focus on the form and not worry about the strum pattern yet.
The beginning of the song and the instrumental section is G, C, G, D, and then repeat that. In other words, the same chord progression that is featured above. There is also a third verse, which is identical to verses one and two.
Learn This Strum Pattern
Brown Eyed Girl is in 4/4 time signature and features a common strum pattern of D - DU - UDU.
I like to call this strum pattern the pop-rock strum as it is used in countless songs of those genres. To start practicing this pattern, it is recommended that you place your left hand over the fretboard to mute the strings. This lets you focus completely on the right hand.
Remember that D is down and U is up. It may also be helpful to think of the D as the downbeats. As a matter of fact, each of the four beats of this pattern features a D on it.
Once you can play the pattern with your left hand muting the string, try it with just one chord.
Brown Eyed Girl is a fantastic and fun song to play. It will allow you to work on your strumming technique as well as further develop your sense of song form and chord progression. As always, remember to take it slow at first and have fun!