Bad Moon Rising Chords – An Essential Guide

Bad Moon Rising chords from Creedence Clearwater Revival are easy and fun to play – Roll up your sleeves and let’s jump into it!

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In this free lesson you will learn…

  • Three useful chords that you can play anywhere!
  • Four different ways to play each one of these chords
  • How to spice up your chords to make them sound different
  • How to play this song using power chords

Rock Out With These Bad Moon Rising Chords

Creedence Clearwater Revival is hailed as one of the greatest Southern Rock groups of all time, and for good reason. This band released nothing but hits over the course of their career. 

Better known as ‘CCR,’ this band released nothing but hits over the course of their career. These California rockers wrote music that spoke to the working class while making everyone tap their feet and dance.

  • Since then, Creedence Clearwater Revival has influenced countless generations of bands in the vein of Southern Rock, Blues & Rock and Roll.
  • In today’s lesson, we’re going to go over how to play these chords of Bad Moon Rising both in short-form and in full.

We’re also going to check out how you can add some extra ‘flair’ to these chords the way that John Fogerty and Creedence Clearwater Revival did on the recording.


You’re not going to have to move much outside of the open position for this classic CCR tune, so get your open position chords at the ready.

If you really want to shine, you can practice your hammer-ons and pull-offs as you progress through the article. You’ll need those later on too.

First, let’s learn a bit about the band and the song by Creedence Clearwater Revival!


A Brief History Of CCR & ‘Bad Moon Rising’

Released in April of 1969 on the album Green River, ‘Bad Moon Rising’ peaked at the #2 spot in the UK singles chart in June of the same year.

Inspired by a film noir titled The Devil & Daniel Webster about a man who sells his soul to the Devil, John Fogerty wrote this song as a mild reflection of the times in America.

The song consists of lyrics that include “I fear rivers over flowing,” “I hear hurricanes a blowing,” “There’s a bad moon on the rise,” “Well it’s bound to take your life,” and “Looks like we’re in for nasty weather,” plus so much more.

Fun Fact: Many people misinterpret the lyric ‘There’s a bad moon on the rise’ as ‘there’s a bathroom on the right.’

Many artists hate it when fans get their lyrics wrong, but John Fogerty has been known to sing the misheard lyrics live on stage instead.


This Creedence Clearwater Revival song spans a total of three chords and is super easy to play and keep pace with!

  • The Rockabilly undertone to this song keeps it fast-paced, energetic and exciting – this makes it a great song to jam at any level of guitar skill, or when finding solace amidst the nasty weather.
  • If you’re fresh to the guitar and learning these Bad Moon Rising chords for the first time, don’t worry – We’ve got you covered with a short-form version of all the chords you’ll need for this song.
  • It’s easy to get overwhelmed with chord shapes at the beginning of our guitar journey.

So long as we break things down and learn pieces of music in chunks, we’ll have no problems making quick progress.

These chords of Bad Moon Rising are fun, so don’t stress if you see a chord that you haven’t seen yet.

Now, for you to better learn the strumming pattern with this song, let’s get into the easy version first before we break down the details.

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Bad Moon Rising Chords – The Verse, The Easy Way

As we’ve said, this Creedence Clearwater Revival song revolves around only three chords: D major, A major and G major. Follow this strumming pattern.

The most important part about this song is the transition you will make between each chord in the progression. This song moves fairly quick, so be sure to listen for the chord changes.

  • To play this song effectively, we need to count 4 beats at a time.
  • Start by counting “ONE – Two – Three – Four” out loud, accenting the one beat on every bar.
  • Accenting a single beat helps keep us locked into the rhythm and not lose sight of where we are in a song.
  • You will often notice that many bands do this both on the record as well as in a live setting.

The accent is usually most noticeable in the drum section of the band, so listen for it!

Check out the short-form chords of Bad Moon Rising and strumming pattern below:

D MAJ (X X 0 2 3 X) 

A MAJ (X 0 2 2 X X)

G MAJ (X X X 0 3 3)

Count one bar for D major; a half bar for A; a half bar for G and then two bars for D again to play these Bad Moon Rising chords in the verse.

Pro Tip: You might think at first that these short-form chords of Bad Moon Rising do not sound 100% accurate to the recording.

When we say ‘short-form’ chords, we mean that we have removed any notes that will make the chord more difficult, leaving only the most necessary notes for you to play.

  • This might seem unproductive at first, but the reality is that these short-form chords actually help prepare your hands and fingers for the real thing, which we’ve got laid out for you in detail below.
  • Got these short-form chords down for the verse? Good. Let’s move on and see what the full version looks like.

If you want to stick with these chord shapes for the moment, that’s okay too! Skip down a section to the Chorus if you don’t want to approach full-range chords just yet.


Bad Moon Rising Chords – The Verse With Full Chord Shapes

Thankfully, the full versions of these chords of Bad Moon Rising aren’t that different from the ones we’ve seen above.

In the examples above, we played the most essential notes in order to convey the chord we want. Below we will explore the full versions of the strumming pattern that is comprised of D major, A major and G major.

Pro Tip: It’s important to pay attention to the similarities between chords when we play them in a progression. Taking note of this helps us to transition easier from one chord to the next, and makes playing guitar easier on the whole as well.

Check out the full versions of your Bad Moon Rising chords and strumming  pattern below:

D MAJ (X X 0 2 3 2)

A MAJ (X 0 2 2 2 0)

G MAJ (3 2 0 0 3 3)

Pro Tip: It helps to take it slowly when learning these Bad Moon Rising chords and their transitions. See the similarities in the chord shapes?

They’re all in the open position – this means it will take much less hand movement to get from one shape to the next. Convenient!

Here’s the best way to strum the verse section of these chords of Bad Moon Rising:

** Strokes with a “-” next to them indicate longer pick strokes

D Major: Down, Down -, Up, Down, Up

A Major: Down, Down

G Major: Down, Down

D Major: Down, Down -, Up, Down, Up, Down, Down -, Up, Down, Up


Bad Moon Rising Chords – The Chorus, The Easy Way

If you’ve already mastered the Bad Moon Rising chords above, then congratulations – You already know how to play the chorus of this Creedence Clearwater Revival song!

That’s right – CCR recycled the chords from the verse for the chorus section. All they did was change the order.

  • If that sounds cheap to you, think again. This is a commonly used songwriting technique that helps create uniqueness across a song without deviating from a pattern.
  • Listen to some of the chord progressions from your favourite pop songs and we guarantee you that you’ll find at least one example of this technique being used, perfect to beat the nasty weather.

Check out the easy version of these Bad Moon Rising chords for the chorus below. Follow its strumming pattern:

G MAJ (X X X 0 3 3)

D MAJ (X X 0 2 3 X) 

A MAJ (X 0 2 2 X X)

The way we play this section is a bit different from the verse, so we’ve included the lyrics below with the chords on top to give you a better reference:


Don’t go around tonight


Well, it’s bound to take your life

A         G               D

There’s a bad moon on the rise

Notice the difference in the progression here?

Leaning on a different ‘starting chord’ (in this case – G major) gives us a different vibe while making use of the same chords.

  • If you’re looking for a quick and easy songwriting tip to help you better construct songs, this is it.
  • Find new ways of using chords that you already know!

Now let’s look at the full-range chords for this section as well:

G MAJ (3 2 0 0 3 3)

D MAJ (X X 0 2 3 2)

A MAJ (X 0 2 2 2 0)

Adding Embellishments To Your Bad Moon Rising Chords

These chords of the song Bad Moon Rising are easy to spice up and make ‘fancier,’ and why wouldn’t you when you’ve already mastered these chord shapes?

We’ve included some different variations on these chords to help you throw some variety into your playing. Follow the strumming pattern for this part.

  • In place of your D Major chord, you could play a Dsus2 chord.
  • As well, try swapping your A major chord for an Asus4 chord.

For these Bad Moon Rising chords, leave the G major chord the way that it is for the sake of consistency.

Dsus2 (X X 0 2 3 0)

Asus4 (X 0 2 2 3 0)

Another way to add a different sound to this classic CCR tune is to play the progression using power chords.

If you’ve never heard of power chords before, click here for a quick debrief that will teach you how to play them.

Power chords are quick and easy to learn, and they only ever use one chord shape that you can move freely around the fretboard!

Try This: Instead of playing the Bad Moon Rising chords you’ve learned in the open position, play them as power chords at the 3rd and 5th frets.

You can find a D power chord at the 5th fret on the A string; an A power chord at the 5th fret on the low E string; and a G power chord at the 3rd fret on the low E string.


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Two Ways To Tighten Your Playing Even More!

  • The beauty of songs like these is that they are a playground for practice because of their simplicity.
  • We can use these Bad Moon Rising chords to experiment with different rhythms and strumming patterns that can expand our playing vocabulary on the whole.
  • Instead of playing with the strumming pattern indicated above, try playing by alternating upstrokes and downstrokes. (Down – Up – Down – Up etc)

Pro Tip: As you progress on your guitar journey, you will find that you pick up all sorts of different chord shapes. Many of these chord shapes are off-shoots of chords you may already know like A major or G major.


It’s important to have songs at the ready that you can experiment with these new chord shapes over.

  • Bad Moon Rising by Creedence Clearwater Revival is one of those songs that allows you to experiment at length with how things sound and feel because it revolves around such a simple progression.
  • Another way we can tighten our guitar playing is by singing along.

You may think that singing is not for everyone, but we’d argue differently. Here’s why:

  • Singing opens our ears up to taking in more of what is happening in a piece of music.
  • Singing also forces our brain to be in two places at once – With the guitar as well as our voice.

This might seem confusing, but it helps to train your ears to better recognize notes, and your brain to split its focus in two places.

Start by humming along to the song, then check out this chord chart of your Bad Moon Rising chords and the lyrics to the song.


Finally, let’s talk about some artists who have done this song incredible justice over the years.

Notable Covers Worth Checking Out

Due to the fact that this song was released in 1969, it’s had plenty of time to be reinvented and reimagined by a whole slew of different musicians in different genres. 

  • One of the most beautiful parts of music is that anything can be reimagined a thousand different ways.
  • Covers allow musicians to interpret a piece of music in their own way, and this only ever adds to the original character of the song if you ask us.

We’ve put together a short list of some of our favourite versions of Bad Moon Rising over the years. Check them out below!


For a dark and ominous rendition of this classic CCR tune, check out Mourning Ritual’s version here.

For a solo guitar version on a harp guitar (you heard right – harp guitar), check out Jamie Dupuis’s cover here.

If you’re into live looping and want to see a guy with a beautiful beard sing some CCR, check out Cutty Jones and his looped rendition of Bad Moon Rising here.


There you have it, everything you need to know about learning how to play Bad Moon Rising by Creedence Clearwater Revival with the guitar.

Where Do I Go From Here?

If you want more out of these chords of the song Bad Moon Rising, be sure to check out our suggestions below:

  • Have a listen through the song and play along
  • Practice your chord transitions
  • Practice with a metronome
  • Count out loud as you play
  • Find other songs by CCR that use similar chord progressions

Recommended Resources

If you enjoyed this article on CCR’s Bad Moon Rising chords, you’re going to love our other free content!

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