How I learned the opening chord to Neil Young's Old Man

Lesson #326 • Sep 4, 2020

Instructional PDF 3 pages

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It includes all of my notes for this lesson, allowing you to follow along at your own pace. You're free to download, print, and share the PDF across your devices.

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Editor’s notes

Hey friends! In this video I’ll focus on “Old Man” by Neil Young – in particular, that opening chord (Dm9), and how to strum it and sound just like Neil. Even given an exact tab, this is by no means an easy feat. As such, I’ll share with you here the 5-6 exercises I created for myself when learning this opening chord – in the likely event they may be helpful to you. For context, this is an entry in my “practice log” series of videos, where I share with you tips & tidbits as I make my way through tougher sections of certain songs.

Timestamps for my video:

  • 0:00 Lesson overview
  • 1:45 1. Learning the two chord shapes
  • 3:12 2. Understanding the basic timing
  • 5:37 3. Fingerpicking & the role of dissonance
  • 9:40 4. Learning the hammer-ons
  • 11:26 5. The role the thinnest string plays
  • 14:48 6. Putting it all together
  • 19:00 Farewell & final advice

Video lesson for the full song

Coming soon – check back the weekend of September 12, 2020.

Watch Neil Young play it live

I have to recommend this video, where you can watch the Neil himself play this song live. Of course, he makes it look so effortless.

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Hey there! My name is David Potsiadlo, and I'm the creator of the 400+ weekly lessons here at Song Notes, going back to 2013. Here’s my guitar story »

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