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Learn 4 Neil Young guitar chords

Neil Young
(Image credit: Francois LOCHON/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

Guitar lessons: Whether it's electric or acoustic guitar, with a band or solo, Neil Young has always forged his own path. A true firebrand capable of fearsome discordance and heartbreaking sensitivity, he is one of the greatest guitarists and songwriters of all time. Here's four key chords from four of his classics that might just inspire your own compositions…

Em7

Chords

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This open position shape is the opening chord from Heart Of Gold, with fingers 2 and 3 holding down the regular Em shape and the 4th finger is taking care of the added b7 interval. Strum the full chord, then repeat with some downstrokes while focussing your pick on the treble strings for the Heart Of Gold vibe.


Fmaj7/A

Chords

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This rich sounding chord from the Hey Hey My My (Into The Black) acoustic version is a common or garden Fmaj7 on the highest 4 strings with the major intervals ‘1 3 5 7’ or the notes ‘F A C E’. Putting the 3rd in the bass with the open A string adds a nice fatness to this open shape.


Dm9

Chords

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This chord is the signature sound from Old Man and Neil often play it with a 1st finger hammer from the open 3rd string, to the 7th fret, while keeping the 4 strings ringing. 

While Dm9 is the simplest name for it, you could also view the top 3 strings as an Fma7 and a D in the bass. The unique sound of this inversion is due to the highest 2 notes being only a semitone apart.


Dadd9 (drop D tuning)

Chords

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This chord is played in drop D tuning, which means tuning the thickest string down a tone from E to D. The basic chord is played by fretting the 10th and 11th frets on strings 2 and 3 and keeping the other strings open. Strumming all six strings should give you a big expansive sound. Alternate between adding your 4th finger and 1st finger on the frets suggested for the complete Harvest Moon sound.

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