How to play Rusty Cage by Johnny Cash

Rusty Cage by Johnny Cash is another cover song that has a life of its own. Originally, this song was recorded by Soundgarden, but Johnny Cash took it to another level.

I really like how he transforms other artist’s songs. Not long ago we discussed another really great cover called Hurt – CLICK HERE. This time his cover is something a little bit different.

The major part of the song is quite repetitive, so you have to refer to the lyrics to really find exactly where you are in the song. It is based around the A5 power chord, with an occasional open 6th string and a small bend on the 3rd fret 6th string. Sometimes, the chord G makes an appearance and that adds a nice break to the song. Again, refer to the lyrics to sync it with your guitar.

What is kind of unusual in this song is the second part, which is not very typical of Johnny Cash. This part is shared between the acoustic and electric guitars and sounds pretty heavy. It’s really an awesome song to work on!

Song structure:
Verse 1: A5 – G
Verse 2 – E5

Verse 1.1 - Rusty Cage - Johnny Cash

Verse 1.2 - Rusty Cage - Johnny CashVerse 1.3 - Rusty Cage - Johnny Cash

Verse 2 - Rusty Cage - Johnny Cash

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How to play A Horse With No Name by America

I can’t believe it took me this long to do A Horse With No Name by America. It is an awesome song that you can add to your repertoire. Once we simplify the strumming pattern, even a total beginner guitarist will be able to play it.

I have used two sets of chords in this song in order to expand the harmony of the song. The core of the song consists of the chords Em and D6add9/F# and you can play the song by just strumming these two chords alone.

The second set of chords is something that you may add onto the chorus to spice up the sound. The original A Horse With No Name song features multiple guitars playing at the same time, so we need to try and find a balance to be able to play it in our own way.

Song structure:
Verse/Chorus: Em / D6add9/F#
Optional: Em9 / DM7sus2/E


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How to play Melissa by The Allman Brothers Band

Melissa by Allman Brothers Band is fun to learn and play on the guitar. The chord melody makes it a great song to learn as it is easily recognisable. It is also equally as good for beginners (excluding the barre chords) as well as more advanced guitarists.

The names of the chords in this song are hilarious. We have B7sus2/E and some other crazy names. Many times the composer is not really thinking about the names of the chords at the time of writing the song. He or she simply put chords or shapes that sound good together.

It is not until later when somebody needs to note or transcribe the song that the real names of the chords appear. So don’t be put off by the names, as it is quite an easy song to learn!

Song structure:
Intro: E / B7sus2/E / Emaj7 / B7sus2/E
Verse: E / B7sus2/E / Emaj7 / B7sus2/E
E  /  B7sus2/E / A / D6add9/A / Amaj7
E / B7sus2/E / Emaj7 / B7sus2/E
Cmaj7/G / B
Bridge : E / D / A / B / C#m / A / B

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How To Play Runaway Train By Soul Asylum

Runaway train by Soul Asylum is a great song to add to your collection of guitar songs . I love playing it on the guitar, as it is a very melodic song. It features relatively simple chords and cool a sounding strumming pattern. The presence of the F barre chord may discourage you from trying to learn this song, but I would try to learn it anyway.

In this online guitar lesson we will analyse the intro arpeggio and the strumming part of this song. At the end on this lesson you will have a full picture of how to play Runaway train by Soul Asylum.

One thing you have to remember is that we are going to use different strumming patterns for the verse/chorus and another different one for the bridge – verse/chorus: D DUD DUD DUDUDU, bridge: DDUUDU.

Song structure:
Verse/Chorus: C / Em / Am / G
Bridge : F / G / C / Am
F / Em / G / G

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How To Play The One I Love By REM

REM ” The One I Love ” is a really cool guitar song. It features a really melodic guitar lick that sounds great when you combine it with the chords. Although the intro part might be quite difficult, the chord structure is very easy and even beginner guitarists should be able to play it.

We will start this guitar lesson by analysing the intro lick. Remember that the best way to work on these licks is in isolation. Work on shorter pieces and don’t try to learn all the notes at once. Pick up 2 or 3 notes and try to integrate them together. After a while, add a few more. I explained this way of practising in the video lesson. In the second part, we will discuss the chord structure and how to strum this song.

Song structure:
Verse: G / D / C / C
Bridge : Em / D / Em / Em

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How to play Midnight Rider by The Allman Brothers Band

Midnight Rider by The Allman Brothers Band is a great example of how we can connect the guitar lead part of a song with the chord strumming. The lead part is based around strings 5 and 4. Pay attention to your finger choices.

In this example, I prefer to play the 3rd fret on the 5th string with my second finger. As explained in the video lesson, by doing it that way, it will prepare you to play it together with the chord, but also it is somehow easier to play lines like this one with the 2nd finger.

Song structure:
Verse: Dsus2 / Gm / C
Bridge : Dsus2 / C / A#

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How to play See You Again – Charlie Puth

Lets learn how to play ‘See you again’ by Charlie Puth. It is a really cool song that not only sounds great on the piano but also on the guitar.

If you want to practice this song along to the original track (and use open chords) you will have to place a capo on the third fret. Some of you may not have a capo, so I will explain this song in the normal open position. We have only 3 chords – Em, G and C. The trick here is in the rhythm part. We will count to this song like this: 1   2 and  3  4. The chord changes appear on 1 and ‘and’.

Song structure:
Verse: Em / G / C / G

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How to play Money – Pink Floyd

Money is a great classic song by Pink Floyd. It features a cool base line lick that we will learn during this lesson. Pay attention to your finger choices.

I like to assign one finger per fret, that way it is easier for me to memorise the song, but also it is easy to transpose songs to different keys. In this lesson, as explained in the video, one way of looking at this song is by focussing on the chords, in this case the power chords B5, F#5 and E5. You can learn songs more quickly and easily, just by finding some logic around the stuff happening on the fretboard.

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How To Play Hurt – Johnny Cash

This song is a perfect example of how to turn a cover song into something better than the original recording. The song structure is quite simple.

We will spice up the progression a little bit by adding Dsus2 and Fadd9 chords. The verse is a combination of arpeggios and strumming. Make sure that you target the right notes. We will play C major and A minor from the 5th string and Dsus2 from the 4th. In the verse, we will keep our 4th finger on the 3rd fret, 1st string across all of the chords. This will add a very cool continuum between the chords.

Song structure:
Verse: Am / C / Dsus2
Chorus: G / Am7 / Fadd9 / C

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Introduction to guitar power chords

Power chords can be a very cool addition to your chord library. They consist of only two notes ( without going too deep into music theory – the distance between these two notes is called the perfect fifth interval). You can hear it in a countless number of recordings and across many different music genres (but commonly used in heavy metal and hard rock music).

Because of their simple structure, it is very easy to use power chords. These type of chords are neither major or minor. Because of their two note structure they miss the 3rd degree of the scale that gives the minor or major identity to the chord. The simplicity of the layout makes it very easy to write a song using power chords. You don’t have to think about whether the chord that you want to use should be minor or major. Just play the shape and let magic happen. There is only one problem with this however, as the power chord only has two notes, it may sound a bit weak but you can give power chords a full and rich sound by simply using overdrive or distortion. Lets have a look at the diagram:D5 power chord

To play the chord, position your first finger on the 5th fret, 5th string and third finger on the 7th fret, 4th string (and you play only those two notes ). In this example, the name of the chord comes from the 5th fret, 5th string. We call this position, the root note (and the root note in this example is the note D), so the name of the chord is D5 (The 5 in the name simply refers to the perfect 5th interval) . If you move this chord to the 7th fret, 5th string the name will be E5 – because that is the note E.E5 power chord

But what happens if you want to play the power chord in an open position?A5 power chord

Now the root note (the place from which the chord takes its name ) is on the open 5th string. So to play this chord, you need to position your first finger on the 2nd fret, 4th string and then play the open 5th and 4th strings. The shapes are movable and you can play them from the 6th, 5th, 4th and 2nd string (the root note is on these strings) , if you play from the 3rd string (because string B is tuned differently), you will have to slightly alter the shape (the second note has to be played one fret higher).A5 power chord

You can also play these chords starting with the root note on the 6th string. Simply take this shape and bring it to the 6th string. In this example we have an A5 power chord :

A5 power chord

As you see these are very mobile shapes, you can move them to different strings. One example of power chords in action, is the song “Cocaine” by Eric Clapton – Click here to learn “Cocaine”. Try to learn this song and apply the knowledge from the article. One tip: when you play this song try to think in terms of the root notes – always remember which note you play at the given moment. It will really improve your fretboard knowledge!

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