by Maren Morris • Lesson #305 • Jun 7, 2020
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Hey friends! Here’s a guitar lesson showing you how to play the Maren Morris song “My Church” from her 2016 album Hero. While big picture this might appear to be a straightforward song using only G-C-D, there’s actually a bit of nuance I’ll explain when it comes to things. For both the chord voicings and the strumming, I’ll show you two different ways to approach things, which lets you tailor your approach to suit your skill level & preference.
Timestamps for this video:
- 0:00 Lesson overview
- 2:05 Chord shapes needed
- 6:44 Chord progressions
- 9:12 Strumming (how Maren plays it)
- 15:22 Strumming (how I like to play it)
- 19:22 Misc tips n’ tricks
- 21:08 Full playthrough (capo 2)
And here’s a preview of the PDF chord sheet (link available above):
Thanks to Patreon supporters Jim and Isa for recommending this one! This has been one of my favorite Maren Morris songs over the past couple years, and I had a good time learning it.
Thanks all, and have a great Sunday ✌️
Capo 2nd fret to play with Maren’s version…
Capo 2nd fret + standard tuning to play along with Maren Morris’ album version. I’ve also seen her play it capo 3rd fret while tuned down 1/2 step. You can also use no capo and be just fine, if you don’t care about playing along with her recording.
Lyrics & chords
| G . . . | C . G . | G . . . | D7 . . . | G C G I’ve cussed on a Sunday... I’ve cheated and I’ve lied G D7 I’ve fallen down from grace... a few too many times G C G But I find holy redemption... when I put this car in drive G D7 C G Roll the windows down and... turn up the dial G C G Can I get a hal-----lelujah...... can I get an amen G Feels like the Holy Ghost running through you D7 When I play the Highway FM G C Em I find my soul revival... singin' every single verse C G D7 G Yeah... I-- guess-- that’s-- my----- church When [G] Hank brings the sermon... [C] and Cash leads the [G] choir It [G] gets my cold, cold heart burnin'... [D7] hotter than a ring of fire When this [G] wonderful world gets heavy... and I [C] need to find my [Em] escape... [Em]... I just [G] keep the wheels rolling, [D7] radio scrolling [C] until my sins wash [G] away, yeah Can I get a [G] hallelujah... [C] can I get an [G] amen Feels like the [G] Holy Ghost running through you When I [D7] play the Highway FM I [G] find my soul revival... [C] singin' every single [Em] verse [C] Yeah... I-- [G] guess-- that’s-- [D7] my----- [G] church | G . . . | C . Em . | C . G . | D7 . G . | [ repeat chorus with no guitar, or single strum for each chord ] [ repeat chorus with normal strumming ] [C] Yeah... I-- [G] guess-- that’s-- [D7] my----- [Em] church [C] Yeah... I-- [G] guess-- that’s-- [D7] my----- [Em] church [C] Yeah... I-- [G] guess-- that’s-- [D7] my----- [G] church
Chord shapes needed
This entire song uses G / C / D7, with one very occasional E-minor used. If you want to sub a normal D-major chord instead of a D7, that’s totally fine. Here’s two ways to approach the chords, which keep the transitions as easy as possible.
One way to keep the transition as easy as possible is to use the formations shown here. The important thing to note here is your left ring finger is on the 2nd string (B) for the G, Cadd9, and D chords – making these transitions much simpler! Likewise, the G-Cadd9 transition is simplified because your left ring and pinky fingers are in the exact same spot for both chords (and, your left middle/index fingers stay in the same relative formation, being diagonal from each other).
It’s okay that we’re using a Cadd9 in place of a regular C here – in fact, it looks like this is what Maren Morris is playing (looking at the NPR Tiny Desk performance). You lose out on the D7 in this version, but you gain simplicity in other ways.
e ––3–– <= left pinky ––3–– <= left pinky ––2–– <= left middle ––0–– B ––3–– <= left ring ––3–– <= left ring ––3–– <= left ring ––0–– G ––0–– ––0–– ––2–– <= left index ––0–– D ––0–– ––2–– <= left index ––0–– ––2–– <= left middle A ––2–– <= left index ––3–– <= left middle ––––– ––2–– <= left index E ––3–– <= left middle ––––– ––––– ––0–– G Cadd9 D Em
This option takes a totally different approach to the G and C finger positions, where your left ring and left middle are on the thickest two strings. This variation also has your left index finger on the same note (1st fret of the B string) for the C and the D7 chords, making this transition easier.
e ––3–– <= left pinky ––0–– ––2–– <= left ring ––0–– B ––0–– ––1–– <= left index ––1–– <= left index ––0–– G ––0–– ––0–– ––2–– <= left middle ––0–– D ––0–– ––2–– <= left middle ––0–– ––2–– <= left middle A ––2–– <= left middle ––3–– <= left ring ––––– ––2–– <= left index E ––3–– <= left ring ––––– ––––– ––0–– G C D7 Em
Four counts per measure, and remember the counting is slow (77bpm, just over one count per second). The chord progression for each section is similar… note how the first 4 measures of each section are the exact same. It’s in the final 4 measures (of the verse and chorus) where things deviate slightly.
| G . . . | C . G . | G . . . | D7 . . . |
| G . . . | C . G . | G . . . | D7 . . . | | G . . . | C . G . | G . D7 . | C . G . |
| G . . . | C . G . | G . . . | D7 . . . | | G . . . | C . Em . | C . G . | D7 . G . |
16th note primer
First, get comfortable with the 16th note timing (at 77 BPM, which is slower than many songs). Each of the 4 beats is broken into 4 sub-beats (16th notes). Counted aloud, this sounds like “ONE-eee-and-uhh TWO-eee-and-uhh,” and so on. Begin by trying a down strum on the quarter notes (1, 2, 3, and 4).
1 e + a 2 e + a 3 e + a 4 e + a D D D D
How Maren strums it
For the actual song, I prefer to use this pattern, which is what Maren Morris plays on the album version. Arguably, the “e” count immediately after the “4” is omitted a lot of the time on the album, yet it’s heard quite a bit too. I kept it in here to flesh things out at the end of the measure. Note, the “d” means to do a softer down-strum (i.e., brush just some of the strings), while “D” means to do an emphasized down-strums (all the strings, with oomph).
1 e + a 2 e + a 3 e + a 4 e + a D D u D u D u D u "DOWN... DOWN, up-DOWN-up-DOWN... up-DOWN-up"
Note, I find this pattern tough to do while singing! If you feel the same way, keep on reading – I’ll show you an easier way just below.
How I like to strum it
If the pattern above is too tricky for you, try this simpler variation – which breaks things into two identical halves. I’ve added space before the “3” count to help visualize where the pattern starts over again – but note, you should still maintain a steady count with your rhythm for all beats. The main idea here is to really emphasize the “2” and “4” counts – all other strums can be light brushes on the strings.
1 e + a 2 e + a 3 e + a 4 e + a d d D d u d d D d u "down down DOWN down-up, down down DOWN down-up"
You know how I said you can do light brushes on all strums except the 2 and 4 count? Here’s what I mean. On the first two down strums, we’re going to focus on the thickest 1-2 strings of the chord being played. On the “2” count, we’ll strum all the strings – and add emphasis. And on the final “+ a” count, just brush the thinnest 1-2 strings. Repeat this for the second half of the measure. Here’s an example tab for the main three chords – play each sequence below TWICE to make up a full measure of 4 counts per that chord.
e ––––––––––3–––3–3––– e ––––––––––0–––0–0––– e ––––––––––2–––2–2––– B ––––––––––0–––0–0––– B ––––––––––1–––1–1––– B ––––––––––1–––1–1––– G ––––––––––0–––0–0––– G ––––––––––0–––0–0––– G ––2–––2–––2––––––––– D ––––––––––0––––––––– D ––2–––2–––2––––––––– D ––0–––0–––0––––––––– A ––2–––2–––2––––––––– A ––3–––3–––3––––––––– A –––––––––––––––––––– E ––3–––3–––3––––––––– E –––––––––––––––––––– E –––––––––––––––––––– G C D7 1 e + a 2 e + a 1 e + a 2 e + a 1 e + a 2 e + a
Progression with strumming
Here’s a helpful guide to practice the strum pattern Maren Morris uses within context of the actual chords. The one new thing here: notice when a chord change happens on the “3” count (e.g., in the 2nd measure), she actually switches on the “a” count just before the “3” (i.e., a sixteenth note early). This may seem tricky but it actually works great work this strumming pattern, since you’re starting an up-down-up-down on that same count.
[ See PDF chord sheet for complete diagram ]
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