Classic Track: Little Green

Album: Blue | Artisit: Joni Mitchell | Year: 1971 | Guitarist: Joni Mitchell

You may be surprised to see this as a classic track on a site called nearlyarockstar. However, this is a great song to learn as it is in open G tuning, introduces some interesting chords and features finger picking throughout. It also happens to be an absolutely amazing piece of song writing!

By tuning to open G she has opened up some really expressive chords that are simple to play. The progression of Gmaj7 – Bm6 – Am6 – G2sus4 in this tuning allows open notes to be played throughout that are left to ring-out. This creates a harp effect which is typical of open tunings.

Tune the 6th string down 1 step to D, 5th string down 1 step to G and the 1st string down 1 step to D. This will give you DGDGBD. Leaving out the 6th string gives you an open G chord with the root on the 5th string.

In my recording I’ve used a capo on the fourth fret but my tab assumes no capo is used. Have fun learning this great song but also see what new chords you can come up with whilst your guitar is in open G tuning.

Intro

 Gmaj7	        Bm6	Am6      G2sus4          G
|4-------4-----|------0-------0-|----0----------|------0--------|
|3---3-----3---|3-------1-------|0H1---1-----1--|0-----------0--|
|----4---------|0---0---0---0---|0H2-----2------|----0-----0---0|
|--------------|--4-------2-----|---------------|--0-----0------|
|0-----0-------|4-------2-------|0----------0---|0--------------|
|--------------|----------------|---------------|---------------|

Main Theme

 Gmaj7		  Bm6	  Am6      G2sus4          G
|4-----4-----4---|------0-------0-|---------------|----0----------|
|3---3-3---3-3---|3-------1-------|1-----0-----0--|0H1---0-----0--|
|----4-----4-----|----0-------0---|----0-----2----|----------0---0|
|--------0-----0-|--4-------2-----|--0-----0-----0|--------0------|
|0-----0---------|4-------2-------|0-----0-----0--|0-----0--------|
|----------------|----------------|---------------|---------------|

 Gmaj7		  Bm6	  Am6      G2sus4          G7sus2
|4-----4-----4---|------0-------0-|---------------|3-----3-----3--|
|3---3-3---3-3---|3-------1-------|1-----0-----0--|0-----0-----0--|
|----4-----4-----|----0-------0---|----0-----2----|----2-----2----|
|--------0-----0-|--4-------2-----|--0-----0-----0|--0-----0-----0|
|0-----0---------|4-------2-------|0-----0-----0--|0-----0-----0--|
|----------------|----------------|---------------|---------------|

 Am6                          G   C
|------0---------|0-----0-----0--|------------5--|------------5---|
|1-----------1---|1-----1-----0--|5-----5-----5--|5-------5-----5-|
|----0-----0-----|----0-----0----|----5-----5----|-----5----------|
|--2-----2-----2-|--2-----2-----0|--5-----5-----5|---5------------|
|2-----2-----2---|2-----2-----0--|5-----------5--|5--------5------|
|----------------|---------------|---------------|----------------|

 Gmaj7            Bm6     Am6      G2sus4          G
|4-----4-----4---|------0-------0-|---------------|----0----------|
|3---3-3---3-3---|3-------1-------|1-----0-----0--|0H1---0-----0--|
|----4-----4-----|----0-------0---|----0-----2----|----------0---0|
|--------0-----0-|--4-------2-----|--0-----0-----0|--------0------|
|0-----0---------|4-------2-------|0-----0-----0--|0-----0--------|
|----------------|----------------|---------------|---------------|

Don’t worry too much about the picking, just get the chord changes right and play what comes naturally.

Classic Track: Dear Prudence

Album: The Beatles (White album) | Year: 1968 | Artist: The Beatles | Guitarist: John Lennon

This is one of my favourite Beatles tracks and also happens to be a great song to learn if you’re getting into finger picking. John Lennon wrote the main chord progression whilst out in India and the song is believed to be about Mia Farrow’s sister Prudence, who was suffering with depression.

Lennon’s guitar part is played in Drop-D tuning so tune the 6th string down to D. He uses this string as a pedal-tone throughout the song.

With your strumming/picking hand use your thumb to play the 5th and 6th strings. Use your 1st and 2nd fingers for the 4th and 3rd strings with your third finger playing the 2nd and 1st strings. 

The picking rhythm can be a bit of a challenge at first so it’s a good idea to get this correct before trying to learn the song. Forget the fretting hand for a moment and just finger pick the open strings: 5th and 1st string together, 4th, 3rd, 1st, 2nd then 4th to the rhythm in my examples. This will make the chord changes a lot easier!

Intro

                                 Dsus4add2
|------- ------- ------- -------|12----- ------- ------- -------|
|-------------------------------|-------------------10----------|
|Fade-in-from-previous-track----|-----------12------------------|
|-------------------------------|--------0---------------0------|
|-------------------------------|0------------------------------|
|-------------------------------|---------------0---------------|
  D                              Am11/D
|10----- ------- ------- -------|8------ ------- ------- -------|
|-------------------10----------|-------------------8-----------|
|-----------11------------------|------------9------------------|
|--------0---------------0------|--------0---------------0------|
|0------------------------------|0------------------------------|
|-----------------0-------------|---------------0---------------|
 D6sus4                          Dmaj7sus2
|7------ ------- ------- -------|5------ ------- ------- -------|
|-------------------8-----------|-------------------5-----------|
|-----------7-------------------|-----------6-------------------|
|--------0---------------0------|--------0---------------0------|
|0------------------------------|0------------------------------|
|----------------0--------------|---------------0---------------|
C6/D
|3------ ------- ------- -------|3------ ------- ------- -------|
|-------------------5-----------|-------------------5-----------|
|-----------5-------------------|-----------5-------------------|
|--------0---------------0------|--------0---------------0------|
|0------------------------------|0------------------------------|
|----------------0--------------|---------------0---------------|

Verse

  D                               D11
|2------ ------- ------- -------|2------ ------- ------- -------|
|-------------------3-----------|-------------------3-----------|
|------------2------------------|------------2------------------|
|--------0---------------0------|--------0---------------0------|
|0------------------------------|3------------------------------|
|----------------0--------------|----------------0--------------|
Gmaj7/D                           Daugadd4
|2------ ------- ------- -------|2------ ------- ------- -------|
|--------------------3----------|-------------------3-----------|
|------------0------------------|------------0------------------|
|--------0---------------0------|--------0---------------0------|
|2------------------------------|1------------------------------|
|----------------0--------------|-----------------0-------------|

Chorus

  D                               D11
|2------ ------- ------- -------|2------ ------- ------- -------|
|-------------------3-----------|-------------------3-----------|
|------------2------------------|------------2------------------|
|--------0---------------0------|--------0---------------0------|
|0------------------------------|3------------------------------|
|----------------0--------------|----------------0--------------|
 C                                Gsus2
|0------ ------- ------- -------|3------ ------- ------- -------|
|-------------------1-----------|-------------------3-----------|
|-----------0-------------------|-----------0-------------------|
|--------2---------------2------|--------0---------------0------|
|3---------------3--------------|-------------------------------|
|-------------------------------|5---------------5--------------|

Middle Eight

  D                               D6sus4
||2------ ------- ------- -------|3------ ------- ------- -------|
||-------------------3-----------|-------------------3-----------|
||------------2------------------|------------4------------------|
||--------0---------------0------|--------0---------------0------|
||0------------------------------|0------------------------------|
||----------------0--------------|----------------0--------------|
  Dmaj7sus2                       D6sus4
|5------ ------- ------- -------|3------ ------- ------- -------||
|-------------------5-----------|-------------------3-----------||
|------------6------------------|------------4------------------||X3
|--------0---------------0------|--------0---------------0------||
|0------------------------------|0------------------------------||
|----------------0--------------|----------------0--------------||
  Dm7                             Cm6#5/D
|1------ ------- ------- -------|4------ ------- ------- -------|
|-------------------1-----------|-------------------4-----------|
|------------2------------------|------------5------------------|
|--------0---------------0------|--------0---------------0------|
|0------------------------------|0------------------------------|
|----------------0--------------|----------------0--------------|
  D6sus4
|3------ ------- ------- -------|
|-------------------3-----------|
|------------4------------------|
|--------0---------------0------|
|0------------------------------|
|----------------0--------------|

Outro

 D6                              Dsus4add2
|14----- ------- ------- -------|12----- ------- ------- -------|
|-------------------12----------|-------------------10----------|
|-----------14------------------|-----------12------------------|
|--------0---------------0------|--------0---------------0------|
|0------------------------------|0------------------------------|
|-----------------0-------------|---------------0---------------|
 D                               C6/D
|10----- ------- ------- -------|8------ ------- ------- -------|
|-------------------10----------|-------------------8-----------|
|-----------11----------11------|------------9------------------|
|--------0----------------------|--------0---------------0------|
|0------------------------------|0------------------------------|
|-----------------0-------------|---------------0---------------|
 D6sus4                          Dmaj7sus2
|7------ ------- ------- -------|5------ ------- ------- -------|
|-------------------8-----------|-------------------5-----------|
|-----------7-------------------|-----------6-------------------|
|--------0---------------0------|--------0---------------0------|
|0------------------------------|0------------------------------|
|----------------0--------------|---------------0---------------|
 C6/D
|3------ ------- ------- ------0|3------ ------- ------- -------|
|-------------------5-----------|-------------------5-----------|
|-----------5-------------------|-----------5-------------------|
|--------0---------------0------|--------0---------------0------|
|0------------------------------|0------------------------------|
|----------------0--------------|---------------0---------------|

Classic Track: Shape of My Heart

Album: Ten Summoner’s Tales | Year: 1993 | Artist: Sting | Guitarist: Dominic Miller

If you’re a Sting fan you’ll know this was from his fourth solo album but if you’re like me, you would have first heard this during the end credits of the film Leon.

Ok, this is going to hurt but stick with it! At first the chord shapes may be a challenge but start slowly and build from there. I’ve seen loads of ways to play this and I can’t be sure how the recorded track was played but I’m basing my lesson on this performance of the song: View Video

Ideally this should be played on a classical guitar with nylon strings but I’m going to have to use my acoustic. Before you even attempt to play it just hold down the chord shapes until they become easier (!). Once you can move between these shapes whilst listening to the song try working on the finger picking.

This is the fingering for the chord shapes in the first 4 bars which should set you up for the rest of the song:

  • Bar 1: 6th fret- 1st finger, 9th fret- third finger, 10th fret- pinky
  • Bar 2: 6th fret- 1st finger, 7th fret- 2nd finer, 9th fret- pinky
  • Bar 3: 4th fret- 1st finger, 5th fret- 2nd finger, 7th fret- pinky
  • Bar 4: 4th fret- 1st finger barre’s the entire 4th fret, 7th then 6th fret- pinky

Part 1

|-------------|------------|------------|-------------|
|--10-----10--|--9------9--|--7------7--|--7-----6----|
|-------6-----|------6-----|------4-----|--4-----4----|
|-------------|------------|------------|-------------|
|-----9-------|----7-------|----5---5---|--4---4------|
|-------------|------------|------------|-------------|

|-------------|-----------|-------------|-------------|
|--10-----10--|--9-----9--|--7-------7--|--7-----6----|
|-------7-----|------6----|------4------|--4-----4----|
|-------------|-----------|-------------|-------------|
|-----9-------|----7------|----5----5---|--4---4------|
|-------------|-----------|-------------|-------------|

Part 2

|------------5---|-------------|---------------|----------------|
|--7----7--------|--5----------|----------6----|-7----5---------|
|--4------6------|--2h4--2-----|----------4----|-7---------7----|
|----------------|-------------|------6--------|----------------|
|--5--5----------|-------------|--4------------|-5--------------|
|----------------|--5----------|---------------|----------------|

|------------|---2-------|
|--2---------|---2-------|
|--2--4--2---|---2-------|
|------------|---4-------|
|--4---------|---4-------|
|------------|---2-------|