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Michael Johnson >> Folk Guitar Legends >>
Lesson Subject: Folk Guitar Legends II
What you learn: Neil Young Style
Michael: Michael Johnson

Michael: Hello class, welcome to the interactive class series on Folk Guitar Legends II. This lesson features the style of Neil Young! Mr. Young has made a major impact on many contemporary song writers. His picking and chording style is basic, but very unique sounding. The lesson sample will give you an idea of what you will learn:

Lesson Sample

Michael: Let's start with the first section using a Dm chord progression:

Part 1

Michael: Notice in this section you start by playing the open D root note and then strumming the rest of the Dm chord. Then you strum the F6, Cadd9, and then use a descending run from the C. Here's the jam track:

Looping Jam Track 1

Michael: Now you can also jam using the D Minor scale:

Michael: It sounds very Neil Young like when you add the open E string while playing the scale.

Michael: Try playing the scale over the jam track a few time to get use to playing over the rhythm guitar. For our next section you will switch to using the D Major chord instead of the Dm. Neil Young will switch from Major to Minor or Minor to Major to make the song sound interesting and make the verse and chorus sound different.

Part 2

Michael: See how switching to the D Major makes quite a difference in the sound? You start with the D Major and then slide the fingering up to the 5th fret. You then switch to the Cadd9 chord and then G. and ascending the same run you played earlier. The contrast between Part 1 & 2 sound very cool, and easy to play as well. Here's the jam track:

Looping Jam Track 2

Michael: Now you can play a cool double stop type solo over these chords as well. Here's the pattern you can use:

Michael: Try using the double note pattern over the looping jam track a few times. Our next section will start with the Em7 chord and the D and Cadd9 chords. Here's the progression:

Part 3

Notice that you hold down the 4th & 5th string on the 2nd fret with the 1st finger, and then the 3rd finger on the 2nd string/3rd fret. This allows you to play the chord easier, but you can use the 1st and 2nd finger on the 5th & 4th strings as well. Whatever seems easier for you. Towards the end of the phrase you play Am and then B7 to resolve the progression. Here's the jam track:

Looping Jam Track 3

Michael: The E Minor Pentatonic sounds very cool to jam over this section as well, here's the pattern:

Michael: Neil Young has a very rigid sounding lead style. I believe he uses heavy strings and a lot of attack with his guitar pick, along with a fast vibrato. Most of the scales he uses is the Minor Pentatonic and Blues scale. In our next section we are going to start with the Em7 chord again but alter the other chords.

Part 4

In this section you play the Em7 chord, then G, Cadd9 and then the A7 to A7sus4 chords. You end the phrase by playing the C add9 and D chords. Here's the jam track:

Looping Jam Track 4

Michael: You can use the same E Minor Pentatonic pattern I gave you earlier. Here's another E Minor Pentatonic pattern you can try over the jam track as well.

Michael: Let's jump to our last progression. In this section you start by picking the D chord, C add9, F & G.

Part 5

Part 5 - Picking

Notice how the open E (1st String) rings open for most of this progression. You adjust the fingering for each chord to include the open E and use the same basic picking pattern except for adjusting to play the lower notes of each chord. Here's the jam track.

Looping Jam Track 5

Michael: I hope this lesson gives you a better understanding on Neil Young's acoustic style.

lisa: It sure does!

Stratman: It does.

Michael: I hope to see you all next lesson! Bye!

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