How I Go

by Yellowcard • Lesson #23 • Jul 6, 2016

Editor’s Notes

Here’s an acoustic guitar lesson teaching you how to play How I Go by Yellowcard. This is an amazingly fun song to play. While I’m not certain my arrangement is 100% what the band is playing, I do think it’s quite close to the mark — and either way, it makes for both a good challenge and a satisfying end-result (if you can pull it off). Best of luck with it!

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Chord progression cheat sheet

For quick references to the general tonal progressions used in this song, refer to this. For instructions & notes on exactly how to approach and play the chords on guitar, see further down this page. There are plenty of chord idiosyncrasies involving modified bass notes, atypical open strings, etc that I’m not worried about covering just yet.

VERSE     (see the tabs)

CHORUS    "And I'm... drying out..."
          | E      | F#m    | B      | A      |

          "Hurry now... lay me down..."
          | C#m    | E      | B      | A      |

          | B      | C#m    | A      | E      |

BRIDGE    "Son, I am not everything..."
          | C#m    | B      | A      | E      |
          | F#m    | C#m    | A      | B      |

Guitar chords and tablature

This song is a bit tricky! While you’re doing the bulk of the work with 4-5 chords, I play each of the chords in different ways based on section of the song (roughly matching what you hear in the Yellowcard version). All of the following tabs are based on my own practice and interpretation of the various transcriptions I’ve found online – each of which wasn’t sufficient for my needs in some way. Hopefully this helps. Enjoy!


Here’s how I play the intro: each of these four chords is strummed for one measure before switching (listen to the song for the strumming pattern). For the E/F# chord, you could also play 09x900 if the chord shown below is problematic.

A-|––––9––––––––7––––––––7––––––––0––––0––– twice

Walk-down riff

Here’s a few ways to play the walk-down riff heard throughout this song. In this first version (which I usually prefer), I approach it as playing four distinct chords – where each chord has an accented bass note (surrounded by * characters).

E ||———————0——————————0——————————0—————————0—————
A ||———————0——————————0——————————0—————————0—————
D ||———————9——————————9——————————9—————————9————— <—— Pinky stays here
G ||————9——————————7——————————6————————————7—————
B ||————————————————————————————————————9————————
E ||—————————————————————————————————————————————

To practice this, learn these chord positions (in this order). Then, use the tab immediately above for guidance on which bass note to play.

D-|-------9----------9----------9---------9----- <-- Pinky stays here.

Other ways to play the walkdown riff

Likewise, sometimes I’ll play it using an open position based on the E-major scale:


And an easier solution, if you’re interested, is to play it like this:

G-|-------x-x------x-x------x-x------x-x---  <-- Mute with your ring finger.
D-|----9--------7--------6--------4--------  <-- Ring finger plays these.


Four chords, played for one measure. Repeat as needed. Feel free to emphasize, accent, or otherwise lead each measure with this bass note as desired – if you listen to the Yellowcard version of this song, you’ll hear this note ringing through.

D-|--9--9--------7--7-------------------7------------6-----   (repeat)

Chorus, part 1

For the first verse, start on E. On the “go” begin the walkdown riff.

        E            F#m            B           A
    "...I'm... drying out... crying out... this isn't how I go..."

For all other verses, start on C#m. Repeat these four chords as needed for the “Hurry now, lay me down” line.

       C#m            E             B           A
    "...I'm... drying out... crying out... this isn't how I go..."

Chorus, part 2

For “Let these waters flow…” part of the chorus, play these chords. One measure each. Repeat as necessary.

                       B        C#m       A          E
     "Let these waters flow..."


Finally, the bridge. Similar chords from earlier in the song, though they’re used in a different order.

     C#m            B              A                    E
     "Son, I am not everything you thought that I would be...

         F#m         C#m             A             B
     "But every story I have told is part of me........"


Here are the lyrics for the song. Refer to the indentation to denote the various sections which repeat (verse, chorus, bridge). I’ve included the basic chords along with these lyrics – and am not worried about specifying the exact technically correct names (for chords like Bsus4add9, or similar – here, I just call that “B” – modify each chord as you wish).

    I could tell you the wildest of tales
    My friend the giant, and traveling sales
    Tell you all the times that I failed
    The years all behind me, the stories exhaled

            E             F#m           B
        And I'm... drying out... crying out...
             A           E (walk-down riff)
        This isn't how I go

    I could tell you of a man not so tall
    Who said life's a circus, and so we are small
    Tell you of a girl that I saw
    I froze in the moment, and she changed it all

            C#m           E             B
        And I'm... drying out... crying out...
             A           C#m
        This isn't how I go
                 E             B
        ...Hurry now... lay me down...
            A                B     C#m   A   E   
        And let these waters flow...............
                             B     C#m   A   E   

            C#m           B              A                    E
            Son, I am not everything you thought that I would be
                F#m        C#m             A            B
            But every story I have told is part of me--------

    And you keep the air in my lungs
    Floating along as a melody comes
    And my heart beats like timpani drums
    Keeping the time while a symphony strums

            C#m           E             B
        And I'm... drying out... crying out...
             A           C#m
        This isn't how I go
                 E             B
        ...Hurry now... lay me down...
            A                B     C#m   A   E   
        And let these waters flow................
                             B     C#m   A   E   
                             B     C#m   A   E   
                   ...let it flow................
                             B     C#m   A   E       (E   F#m   G#m   A   B)
                   ...let it flow................

            C#m           B              A                    E
            Son, I am not everything you thought that I would be
                F#m         C#m            A              B
            But every story I have told is part of me---------
            C#m              B                A               E
            Son, I leave you now but you have so much more to do
                F#m         C#m            A              B
            And every story I have told is part of you---------

                                                (walk-down riff, end on E)

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