How To Play John Legend’s All Of Me Chords

John Legend’s isn’t just for piano players – Let’s adapt his hit ballad for guitar with these All Of Me chords!

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In this free lesson you will learn…

  • How to play this song (for beginners & intermediate players)
  • How to decorate chords with different notes
  • How to learn this song section-by-section
  • The secret to playing this song in the key of Ab without barre chords!

Let’s Learn John Legend’s All Of Me Chords!

When we first begin learning to play the guitar, we have a tendency to limit ourselves to songs that were written and recorded on the guitar.

Sometimes we hear an amazing song on the piano and think, “I’d love to play that song, if only there were a way to figure out the guitar chords.”

  • It can be a little confusing to hear a song on the piano we really want to play, because we don’t hear guitar chords.
  • It can also be tricky to translate piano music onto the guitar, because the rhythm doesn’t work exactly the same way.
  • After today, friends, you won’t have that problem any more!

All-of-me-chords

The secret to playing piano songs on guitar is finding the chords, and we’ve found them for you. Today, we’re going to look at John Legend’s All of Me chords and take them from the piano to the guitar.

Sometimes songs are written on the piano in a key that is terrible for guitar in the sense that none of the chords are very guitar-friendly.

  • We’ll also make sure that we use a set of chords that are playable on the guitar for beginning to intermediate players.
  • You’ll play the song in a friendly key with friendly chord shapes.
  • Let’s learn how to play these All of Me chords! We’ll start with a little bit about the song’s background.

All-of-me-chords

All Of Me Chords: Songwriter & Background

Before John Legend was Mr. Chrissy Teigen, he was John Roger Stevens, attending high school at the age of 12 and then majoring in English literature at Penn State University.

He worked as a consultant while writing, producing, and recording his songs.

  • He released his debut album, Get Lifted, in 2004.
  • He didn’t have to work outside the music world for very long.
  • His quick success led to collaborations with soul and hip-hop artists like Mary J. Blige, Jay-Z, and the Black Eyed Peas.

His career in the last 15 years has been pretty well-documented and includes work on the documentary The People Speak, a starring role in a live-TV Jesus Christ Superstar, and of course, The Voice.

All-of-me-chords

“All of Me” is from Legend’s 2013 album Love in the Future. He wrote it about Teigen, who was then his fiancée.

It must have worked, because in the video below, you can see a little bit of their wedding.

It reached number one in the US in May 2014, knocking Pharrell Williams’s “Happy” off the spot. Success at the number two spot in the UK followed, and it has been an enduring worldwide hit since.

  • This song is simple and beautiful, and no matter where you go to play it, people will know and love it.
  • Now that you’ve got some background, let’s get started with the All of Me chords.

All-of-me-chords

All Of Me Chords For Beginners

As pretty and intricate as this song sounds when Legend plays it, it’s not very complicated from a musical perspective.

That means there isn’t a large number of chords to deal with, which is always good news for beginning guitarists.

  • We have to change the key of the song, because the recording is in the key of Ab. That’s a distinctly guitar-unfriendly key, even for intermediate guitar players.
  • Don’t worry about that, because we can use a capo to put the song back into the key of Ab once we’ve learned the All of Me chords in a better key.
  • That key is G, and it’s an extremely guitar-friendly key to play in.

All-of-me-chords

The good news for those of us just starting out on guitar is that once we put the All of Me chords in the key of G, there are simple stepping-stone versions of all the chords we need.

Using these chord shapes makes All of Me not only a beautiful song to play and sing, but also a good chord-changing exercise.

Em (022000)

(If you don't understand the above image please read our article "How To Read Guitar Chordboxes In 60 Seconds". It will make everything clear!)

C (xxx010)

G (xx0003)

D (xx0230)

Am (x02010)

One way to prepare for playing the entire song is to break up the chords and practice changing between them two at a time (or in cycles).

For Example: Play the Em chord and then change to the C chord every four beats. Count to four, hitting the new chord when you say one.

All-of-me-chords

Pro-Tip: Practicing chord changes can help you to work on multiple skills at once, improving your playing more quickly.

  • When you maintain a steady count while changing chords, you’re improving your rhythm.
  • For more on developing your rhythm skills, check out this lesson: How to Play in Time

musical-guitar-rhythm

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All Of Me Chords: Full Chords & Alternative Shapes

If you have been a guitarist long enough to have a handful of chords you can easily play, this tune is great for working on the skill of getting through an entire song without stopping.

You can work up a beautiful arrangement of this song with basic open chords, and there are only five All of Me chords to deal with:

Em (022000)

C (x32010)

G (320003)

D (xx0232)

Am (x02210)

All five of these chords are diatonic in the key of G. There are music theory implications to the word “diatonic,” but all that’s important to understand about it at the moment is that it means those five chords appear in songs in the key of G all the time.

All-of-me-chords

Legend’s piano arrangement of the All of Me chords incorporates some modifications to those chords, adding a little color here and there.

We can do this on the guitar by using different shapes for the same basic chords.

Here are a few suggestions:

 Emadd9 (024000)

Cmaj7 (x32000)

Dsus2 (xx0230)

Asus2 (x02200)

The chord names are slightly different, reflecting the notes added to the basic chord when you use the above shapes, but the basic character of the chord remains that same.

That idea is sometimes called chord coloration. There is still a major or minor chord underneath, but there’s a little extra personality.

You can use those alternative shapes as replacements for the basic All of Me chords, or you can choose where to substitute them throughout the song.

All-of-me-chords

All Of Me Chords: The Song In Three Sections

Now that you’ve got the chords of this song in whichever shapes you choose, let’s take a look at each section of the song.

Verse

The introduction and verse of the song is a cycle of four chords. The verse is where the singing begins, “What would I do without your smart mouth,” and ends at “but I’ll be alright.”

Check out the verse progression below. Play each of these All of Me chords for one measure, (four beats).

Em  C G  D

The verse lasts through four cycles.

This progression is so familiar! There are loads of songs hiding there, including the chorus of Toto’s “Africa.” Try getting that one out of your head!

All-of-me-chords

Pre-Chorus

A song’s pre-chorus is a departure from the verse that leads your ear into the chorus.

Not all songs have them, but you can tell when they do.

  • You can tell where the pre-chorus is here, because the All of Me chords aren’t occurring the same way.
  • The pre-chorus begins just before “My head’s underwater,” and it ends at “I’m out of my mind.” Listen for how the song shifts.
  • Sometimes the lyrics change in a pre-chorus, but they follow a similar pattern and the same chord progression.
  • When you finish the verse with the word “alright,” you’ll play this progression twice.

Am  Am G  D

how-to-play-all-of-me-on-guitar

Chorus

As with a lot of songs, you can tell the chorus is happening because that’s where the title of the song appears.

The chorus here begins, “‘Cause all of me loves all of you,” with lovely soaring vocals.

When you get to the chorus, you’ll start with this progression, twice.

G  G Em  Em

Am  Am C  D

The chorus continues with “‘Cause I give you all of me.” You’ll play these chords twice before returning to the verse.

Em  C G  D

guitar-chords-all-of-me

Download our lead guitar cheat-sheet to make things easier

It can be disorientating for guitarists to understand which scales work with which keys.

With this in mind, we created a cheat-sheet; a key and scale-finder that you can use again and again.

All Of Me Chords: The Key

Songwriters make choices about the key of their songs with a lot of different things in mind.

Piano songwriters tend to use keys with flats when they want a warmer sound.

  • All of Me is in the key of Ab, and the piano (as well as Legend’s vocals) have a warm tone.
  • The guitar is designed to play mainly in sharp keys, which usually sound a little brighter.

We’ve transposed the All of Me chords from the key of Ab down a half-step to the key of G for the sake of having easily reachable chord shapes.

That does not mean that we guitar players have to sacrifice the key of the song, however!

Keep reading!

romantic-guitar-songs

There are two ways to change the All of Me chords from the key of G to the key of Ab.

  • The easy way is to put a capo on the first fret.
  • Why the first fret? Because in the chromatic scale, Ab is one half-step up from G. Each half-step is equal to one fret on the guitar.

The chromatic scale, in flats, goes like this:

A – Bb – B – C – Db – D – Eb – E – F – Gb – G – Ab

Count the half-steps between the key you’re in and the key you want, and put your capo on that fret.

  • The other way to change the key is to change each chord up one half-step. G becomes Ab, Em becomes Fm, C becomes Db, and so forth.
  • Do you see now why we used a capo for the All of Me chords?

john-legend-guitar-songs

All Of Me Chords: Rhythm

Neil Young once said, “The easy stuff, that’s the hard stuff.”

Nowhere is this more evident than in trying to play a slow song without having it grind to a halt.

Strum the All of Me chords once per measure with a simple rhythm, and it becomes a great way to practice chord changes, but the song begins to sound less like a love ballad and more like a dirge.

  • On the piano, Legend is using a syncopated rhythm, meaning he’s emphasizing notes in between the beats to move the song along.
  • You can do this on the guitar by using calypso strumming, which has similar syncopation to Legend’s arrangement.

The first upstroke should be laid back to accompany the rhythm:

Down, down-up, -up, down-up

John-Legend-guitar-chords

You can also try a fingerpicking pattern for the All of Me chords, which emulates Legend’s lacy piano playing style in the recording.

There are only two absolutely mandatory things about beginning fingerstyle:

  1. Always pick the root of the chord with your thumb at the beginning of the measure.
  2. Always maintain the beat.

Those are rules that experienced fingerstyle guitarists can find ways to intelligently break, but if you’re just learning fingerstyle, those two rules give you enough structure to be creative without derailing the song.

Here’s a fingerstyle pattern you can use with the All of Me chords to get yourself started:

easy-john-legend-guitar-songs

All Of Me Chords: Song Structure

If you’ve got the All of Me chords down and you’ve practiced each part, you’re ready to put the entire song together.

Taking the time to learn each piece of the song separately means that by the time you can play the whole thing, you’ve also got it memorized!

  • From a performance standpoint, or even just when playing with others, it is very reassuring to know that you have the song under your fingers.
  • Performance nerves can make remembering tricky.
  • If your fingers know what to do however, all you have to do is get them started, and they will take care of the rest.

easy-way-to-play-all-of-me

Here is the song structure for the All of Me chords, summarized so that you can easily remember it.

Intro: Em C G D x1

Verse: Em C G D x4

Pre-chorus: Am Am G D x2

Chorus: G G Em Em Am Am C D x2, then Em C G D x2

Verse

Pre-chorus

Chorus

Pre-chorus

Chorus

Tag: Em C G D x2

Songs commonly end on the chord of the key they’re in, but All of Me ends on the D chord instead of the G, ending the song without really landing.

For a complete chart of the All of Me chords and lyrics, click here.

Experiment With This Chord Progression!

You can easily take your playing to the next level by experimenting with familiar chord shapes as we’ve done with the All of Me chords.

One of our favorite resources for really expanding our chord vocabulary is this Jazz Guitar Chord Bible.

Use it to enhance your guitar arrangements of any song you’ve learned!

Recommended Resources

If you’ve enjoyed this lesson, we have other places for you to go next! Continue on your path with these lessons:

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