Guitar skills (opens in new tab): The late Nick Drake never achieved wide-scale acclaim in his lifetime but over three studio albums he created an influential legacy of acoustic guitar (opens in new tab) playing characterised by advanced fingerstyle technique and experimental tunings.
Here we take a look at three chords from his songs River Man, Thoughts Of Mary Jane, Bryter Later track Introduction and From The Morning. You'll need a guitar capo (opens in new tab) and willingness to try new tunings for these but we hope they can inspire you.
Nick Drake liked to use interesting chords and voicings in his music. Put a capo on the 3rd fret to get the first chord of River Man (shift the note on the second string down a fret for the next chord in the song).
Tune your third string down a semitone for this one; EADF#BE tuning is often used by classical players for adapting lute music. This simple shape is played with a capo at the 6th fret in Thoughts Of Mary Jane.
This chord is taken from Introduction (the first track on Drake’s 1970 second album Bryter Layter) is a bit more extreme, using the rather unusual CGCFCE tuning with a capo placed at the 2nd fret.
Nick wrote several songs using BEBEBE tuning, and its droning minimalism especially suits the stark fragility of his later work. Capo’d at the 1st fret, this is the first chord heard on the song From The Morning.