Today we’re going to learn how to play “Take it Easy” by The Eagles on guitar. This song brings back great memories from my late teens and early adult years.
“Take it Easy” is a great song to practice chord changes with a very common strum. Here we’re going to be using what I like to call the pop-rock strum. But let's start out with the chords first.
Take It Easy Chords
Finally, we then go on to C, G, C, G, Am, C, and end on G to complete an entire cycle of the song. This cycle is repeated 3 times, with a solo after the second time, to complete the song. And these are all the chords for the entire songs except the intro, which we’ll look at a little later, as well as an easy outro that goes between C and G a few times.
I encourage you to just strum downwards for now until we have the entire form and chords in the correct order. I call this the “working-out-the-chord-progression” approach.
Take It Easy Chords Strum Pattern
This song features a pattern that I like to call a pop-rock strum pattern. It is basically down, down, up, skip, up, down, up. Because The Eagles often have at least 3 guitars playing, this pattern is a representation of what they do. In other words, one guitar emulates the sound produced by The Eagle’s 3 guitars.
The Right Hand
Let’s mute the left hand and just deal with the right hand for now. This is a 4/4 time signature, so four beats per measure. The upbeats/upstrums are the “and”. So we’re going to do one, two-and, three-and, four-and. This was without skipping. Now we’re going to skip the downbeat of three and just play the upbeat (the “and”).
Try that on the chords G, D, and C, each at a time. Once you can do that, go slow and try the progression for the Take It Easy chords. Keep in mind that you don’t get to do a full strum all the time. In other words, some chords last half a strum, for instance the change from D to C in the beginning of the Take It Easy chords and lyrics. Also, some chords last longer than one full strum cycle, for instance the G at the very beginning as well as the Em.
Combining Right and Left Hand
Now that we have the chords and strum pattern, let's combine both. We start with two strums on G, then half a strum on G and half on D, to then land on C. We then do full strums on G, D, C and G. Then we do two strums on Em, and one on C, G, Am, C, and then two on Em. For finalizing the entire cycle, we then do one strum on C, G, C, G, Am, C, and two on G to end it.
Now for the “Take It Easy” Intro
The intro starts with the pinky G. This is done by placing your middle finger on the fifth string second fret, ring finger on the sixth string third fret and the pinky on the first string third fret.
The next chord is an Am7/G, and to play it just move your second finger to the fourth string second fret and place your index on the second string first fret.
The third chord in the intro is a D7sus/G. To play it, just move the middle finger to the third string first fret while the other fingers stay put. You’re going to hold that first G for two strums, then the Am7/G and D7sus/G for one strum each.
Repeat that and then land on the G and play it for two strums before starting at the top of the verse.
Intro Rhythm Option #2
The second pattern that plays on the other guitar for the intro is a bit different but worth trying.
It is composed of downstrokes with an emphasis on the first beat. In other words, play non-stop downstrokes on the down beat and the upbeats (the “and”). Naturally, this pattern uses the same chords as the previous one.
This pattern does feature a bit of a trick that the Eagles do. They are changing the chords one half beat early, on the “and” of the fourth beat. That’s exactly where they place the accent. This is nothing to worry about. I just wanted you to know exactly what is being done in the recording.
Thank you for joining me today. If you enjoyed this, I’ve made another video on the Eagle’s classic “Hotel California” without having to use bar chords. Check it out on the link.