by Bruce Springsteen • Lesson #44 • Feb 4, 2017

Editor’s Notes

Welcome to my guitar lesson for a solo acoustic version of Badlands, originally by Bruce Springsteen. This wasn’t ever my favorite Springsteen song, but it turned out to be the first one I learned. One of the things that hooked me was stumbling upon this acoustic cover by Julien Baker, which had a sparse and stripped down feel that won me over immediately. I went about learning the song myself, and this lesson is the result.

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Capo on the 2nd fret

I’m doing this so you don’t need to use barre chords (specifically, B-major) which is much harder to play than the D-G-A this requires when using a capo. The capo also lets you play an acoustic version of the main melodic intro you hear in the opening bars of the Springsteen recording.

Chords needed

Here’s all the chords you’ll need for this song. Not a lot! Standard I-IV-V in the key of D.

E –––––2–––––3–––––0––––––
B –––––3–––––0–––––2––––––
G –––––2–––––0–––––2––––––
D –––––0–––––0–––––2––––––
A –––––––––––2–––––0––––––
E –––––––––––3––––––––––––
       D     G     A  

Note, I’ll often play a single finger barred version of the A-major chord, where I’m focusing on only the middle 4 strings. This is easier to switch to, easier to mute (if you want to mute it), and allows you to add some flourish notes if you prefer. If nothing else this is a good trick to have up your sleeve when playing this chord… and while I certainly use the standard A-major chord voicing (x02220) in this song at parts, this still plays a role:

E –––––x–––––
B –––––2–––––     <--  Play these three 2nd fret notes
G –––––2–––––     <--  with your left index finger
D –––––2–––––     <--  barred across all 3 strings.
A –––––0–––––          
E –––––––––––

If you need help with this technique, check out this lesson I made:

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