Surrender (acoustic)

by Cheap Trick • Lesson #330 • Sep 27, 2020

Video lesson

Print-Friendly Song Sheet 3 pages

Follow along with my print-friendly guide for this song! It’s available for purchase at, the web’s leading provider of licensed sheet music.

On the fence? Here's a guide I made showing the purchase & print process, including answers to common questions about my song sheets.

Buy at

Save 50% on this song sheet by applying the December 2023 code at Musicnotes checkout: KQFHFA2J8J (click to copy). Thanks for being a Premium supporter!

Song Notes Premium includes a 50% discount code you can use when buying any of my licensed song sheets. For the current month's code, upgrade to premium or log in.

Editor’s notes

Hey friends! Here’s a brand new lesson showing you an acoustic version of Cheap Trick’s 1978 classic “Surrender”. In this tutorial, I’ll show you a slightly simplified version of this tune, arranged to work well on a solo acoustic guitar. While the spirit of this song is retained in this version, I’ll cut a few small corners – mainly, changing the key so we’ll be using more typical acoustic chords (key of C, and then key of D in the final verse).

Aside from the usual chord shapes, progressions, and strumming tips – I’ll also show you a full tab for the verse & chorus sections, allowing you to play the notes matching the vocal melody while simultaneously strumming the chords. Whether you want to noodle on this, or combine it while singing & fully strumming – the tabs I provide in my PDF will give you what you need. This is one of my favorite rock songs ever… I hope you enjoy the lesson!

Video timestamps:

  • 0:00 Preview & lesson overview
  • 2:45 Chord shapes needed
  • 4:48 Chord progressions (verse & chorus)
  • 7:07 Strumming patterns
  • 10:44 Final verse key change (to key of D)
  • 12:14 Melody tab (key of C)
  • 19:11 Melody tab (key of D)
  • 24:12 Full playthrough

Lyrics and chords

As stated above and below, this arrangement takes a few small liberties (changing the key, modifying the intro chords, etc) to make this better suited for a more beginner-friendly acoustic version. Take what you like, leave the rest. See my video lesson for reference and how this sounds when played.

See my sheet music for the lyrics w/ chords inline.

About this arrangement

Of course, this arrangement takes some liberties and is slightly different from the original song in a few ways. Big picture, I’m changing things to the key of C which lets us use easier chords… and also allows us to modulate up one whole step to the key of D for the final verse & chorus. Also, I’m using different voicings for the chords heard in the intro and between each verse… which again is in the name of making things a bit simpler for a basic acoustic version.

Chord shapes

See PDF diagram for the chord charts.

Chord progressions

This song is played at 134 BPM, with four beats per measure. The chord progressions for each section are shown here below, in both the key of C and the key of D (used in the final verse & chorus).

Key of C

Mother told me....
C . . . G . . . F . . . C . . .
C . . . G . . . F . . . C . . .

Just the other day...
F . . . G . . . C . . . C . . .
F . . . G . . . C . . . C . . .

Mommy's alright...
C . . . Am . . . G . . . F . . .
C . . . Am . . . G . . . F . . . F . . . F . . . F . . .

C . . . G . . . C . . . G . . .

Key of D

Mother told me....
D . . . A . . . G . . . D . . .
D . . . A . . . G . . . D . . .

Just the other day...
G . . . A . . . D . . . D . . .
G . . . A . . . D . . . D . . .

Mommy's alright...
D . . . Bm . . . G . . . F . . .
D . . . Bm . . . G . . . F . . . F . . . F . . . F . . .

D . . . A . . . D . . . A . . .

Melody tab

See PDF for the tab in both key of C (verses 1 + 2) and key of D (verse 3).

Video of Cheap Trick’s version of Surrender

While my arrangement above is in a different key, this may be still helpful to listen to for context. Quick tip: you can play along with verse #3 of this official version using the “key of C” progression I show above… because Cheap Trick modulates up to the key of C for the final verse (they’re in the key of B for verses 1+2).

Unlock My Secret Stash!

Gain instant access to my library of 196 print-friendly cheat sheets! Also includes my extended video lessons, jam tracks, courses, and more.

Join Song Notes Premium

Have questions? Watch video tour »

Browse Related Lessons

Click any tag below to view other lessons I've made in that category:

Enjoy my lessons? Buy me a beer!

If this and my other lessons have proven helpful to you, please consider making a one-time donation to my tip jar. Contributions of any amount help make this project possible (including the many, many hours I put into it).

Fun & Helpful Tools I've Made

Fret Monster

Interactive fretboard map! See the patterns behind every scale in any key.


Capo Captain

An easy way to calculate key & chord combinations, for any capo location!


Subscribe to my YouTube channel

Be sure to never miss a lesson by subscribing on YouTube. I put out 2-3 new videos every week. These include full song lessons, as well as covers, practice tips, behind-the-scenes updates. Thanks!

Recent Lessons

  • December 1, 2023

    First Steps with Doc Watson's "Deep River Blues"

    Here's a getting started guide to learning this fingerstyle classic from Doc Watson. I'll guide you, step-by-step, through the necessary chords, picking, and strumming skills needed.

  • November 22, 2023

    10 Years of Song Notes... Thanks to You!

    A few quick words of gratitude for all the support & encouragement you all have given me over the past ten years!

  • November 17, 2023

    Guitar Finger Exercises for Flexibility, Control, Speed, and more

    Here's a handful of my favorite exercises to help with finger independence. Whether you're a beginner or been at it for years, baking these into your practice routine can pay off big time!

  • November 10, 2023

    Lead Guitar Improvisation Tips (feat. Wagon Wheel)

    Learn how to improvise, step-by-step! I'll show how you can play countless riffs over a small cluster of notes on the thinnest three strings. Tons of fun!

  • November 5, 2023

    Travis Picking Training Wheels (ft. Hayes Carll)

    I showcase a short & fun fingerstyle riff, where I demonstrate the "training wheels" trick you can use to simplify any Travis Picking pattern.

  • November 4, 2023

    Strumming with Alternating Bass Notes

    Learn how to strum any of the most common chords using alternating bass notes – which is an essential technique often used in country, rock, and folk songs.

  • November 3, 2023

    Long Black Veil

    Learn to play Lefty Frizzell's 1959 country classic in the style of Johnny Cash! Includes alternating bass note strumming tips & a melody deep-dive.

  • October 28, 2023

    St James Infimary Blues

    A refresh for my 2019 lesson teaching this blues classic! I updated my PDF guide and added four new zoomed-in playthroughs, showing tabs on screen.

  • October 21, 2023

    Fingerstyle Patterns for All Chords (using Travis Picking)

    I've taught tons of lessons using Travis-style fingerpicking, but haven't ever put together a cheat sheet showing patterns for every common chord... until now!

  • October 16, 2023

    Soulful Lead Guitar Licks over "Amazing Grace"

    Learn how to combine simple strumming with beginner-friendly lead guitar licks while playing this classic song! Slow playthrough video & jam tracks included.

Browse All Recent Lessons →

Browse All My Lessons

By lesson type

By technique

By musical genre

By decade

By musical key

By popular artist

← back to homepage