by Gordon Lightfoot • Lesson #425 • Apr 9, 2022

Video Lesson

Print-Friendly Song Sheet 3 pages

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Editor’s notes

Hello, friends! New lesson today for SUNDOWN, the folk-country hit from Gordon Lightfoot released back in 1974. Many of you had written in requesting Lightfoot songs over the years - and this is the one that finally sunk its teeth in (on a recent visit to the Texas gulf coast).

This song only uses a few chords, but it’s the unique voicings Lightfoot using which really steal the show - specifically for the E, E7, and B - none of which use the typical chord shapes we’re used to. I’ll teach you how Lightfoot plays things, but also show you some fall-backs using common chord shapes if you want something a bit more accessible using what you already know. One other thing I’ll teach that Lightfoot doesn’t seem to do, is how to play this song using alternating bass notes. This lets you make it a bit more interesting, should you be playing this solo acoustic and want to spice things up.

Video timestamps:

  • 0:00 Lesson Summary
  • 2:07 Intro Chords & Strumming
  • 13:18 Verse
  • 20:14 Chorus
  • 23:31 Strumming w/ Alternating Bass Notes
  • 26:38 Full Playthrough

A Deep-Dive Into the Sundown Chord Shapes

If you want an in-depth explanation of the chords used in this song, as well as some common variations to these chords, check out this separate video I made (click here to get the PDF for this lesson):

Gordon Lightfoot’s Album Version

Gordon Lightfoot’s Live Version

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