How To Play Iris On Guitar With Chords

Every wanted to learn how to play Iris on Guitar with chords?  You are not alone!  ‘Iris’ by the Goo Goo Dolls is their most successful single, reaching number one on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart and selling over 30 million copies.  So it’s no surprise that many guitarists want to learn to play this cool song.

Let’s explore this captivating piece and unravel the secrets behind its enchanting melody while ensuring that both beginners and advanced players can join in the musical journey.

What We’ll Learn

To begin, we’ll delve into the intriguing world of alternate tunings, specifically tuning your guitar to D, which adds a unique flavor to the song.

From there, we’ll explore the chord progression and how to add extra flair.  We’ll also go over strumming techniques and the elusive boom-chick style that gives ‘Iris’ its distinct sound.

We’ll also touch upon the importance of experimenting to find the perfect sound for the chords and how to create a chorus-like effect that enhances the song’s beauty.

Tuning the Guitar

To really capture the ethereal essence of Iris on acoustic guitar, you’ll want to start by tuning your guitar to D. This creates a unique and mesmerizing sound that will transport you straight into the heart of the song. Tuning your guitar to D is essential for playing Iris accurately and achieving the desired effect.

To tune your guitar to D, you’ll need to adjust the pitch of each string.

  • Low E string is tuned down to B
  • All other strings are tuned to D

By tuning your guitar to D, you create a chorus-like effect that enhances the overall sound of Iris. It adds depth and richness to the chords and melodies, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the song.

Experimentation is encouraged to find the perfect sound for Iris chords, as each guitarist may have their own preference.

Video Guide for playing

If you prefer to learn via video, then I highly recommend Marty Schwartz’s video lesson.  There’s a reason he’s one of the most popular guitar teachers on YouTube.

Adding Extra Flair

To enhance the overall sound and complexity of the piece, additional embellishments can be incorporated into the chords and melodies. These extra flourishes add a layer of interest and depth to the song.

Marty demonstrates various ways to add flair to the chords. For example, he suggests adding hammer-ons and pull-offs to create a more dynamic sound. By utilizing these techniques, the guitarist can create a sense of movement and fluidity within the chords.

Marty also encourages experimentation with different strumming patterns and rhythms to further enhance the song. These extra embellishments not only showcase the player’s individual style and creativity but also contribute to the overall beauty and impact of this iconic song.

Strumming Technique: The Boom-Chick

The strumming technique used in Iris, known as the boom-chick technique, creates a rhythmic and melodic pattern that perfectly complements the song’s emotional depth.

To achieve this technique, start by positioning your hand comfortably on the guitar’s soundboard. Begin by striking the bass note of the chord with a downward strum using the fleshy part of your thumb. Then, lightly brush the higher strings with your fingers in an upward motion, creating a gentle ‘chick’ sound.

This alternating pattern between the bass note and the higher strings gives Iris its unique sound.  It’s important to maintain a steady rhythm and a relaxed hand to achieve the desired effect.

As you practice the strumming technique, pay attention to the dynamics and timing of each strum, allowing the song to ebb and flow naturally.

Here is a good beginner video on learning the Boom-Chick strumming technique.

Exploring Different Sections

The song transitions seamlessly between different sections, each with its own distinct feel and character.

The verse section, for example, features a series of chord progressions played on the low strings, creating a somber and introspective atmosphere.

In contrast, the chorus section reverts back to the original chords with a renewed energy and enthusiasm. The bridge section introduces open strings and incorporates a series of hits based on the original chords, adding a dynamic element to the song.

Through these different sections, ‘Iris’ showcases its complexity and depth, captivating listeners with its unconventional tuning and evocative melodies.

Finding the Perfect Sound

Achieving the perfect sound in Iris on acoustic guitar is all about exploring different techniques and experimenting with your guitar’s tuning.

I prefer using the D tuning but there are other types of tunings and you can still play this song using standard tuning.

Additionally, utilizing guitar tabs can help with timing and rhythm, ensuring that you’re playing the song accurately.

Lastly, don’t be afraid to experiment and make the song your own. Try different fingerpicking patterns or add embellishments to the chords to create a chorus-like effect, just like in the original recording.

In Conclusion…

Learning how to play ‘Iris’ on the guitar with chords is a rewarding experience for both beginners and advanced guitarists. By tuning your guitar to D and using the boom-chick strumming technique, you can achieve the signature sound of the song.

However, experimentation is encouraged to find the perfect sound for the chords, and guitar tabs are available to guide you. The emotional lyrics and relaxing melody of ‘Iris’ make it a great choice for the pensive player.

So grab your guitar and start playing this iconic song today!

Rob Z and Ashlee

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