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In this song lesson I will demonstrate how to play “Old Man” by Neil Young. Released on his 1972 album Harvest, Old Man quickly became one of Neil Young’s most beloved songs and it remains that way today.
In this Old Man guitar lesson video I will teach you the entire song note-for-note. I would put it at around an intermediate level.
The most difficult things about learning this great acoustic song are getting the right rhythm down and mastering all of the hammer-ons that are being played within the chords for part of the song.
I start the lesson off teaching the rhythm pattern that you will be using for most of the song and I think you should really master that before adding all the chord changes. After you have the rhythm down correctly all of those chords and hammer-ons will just seem to lock into a groove and everything will flow along quite nicely.
For the hammer-ons you will need to concentrate on making clean and quick movements down onto the string. Accenting that string with the pick will also help the hammer-ons be heard over the rest of the chord. The main hammer-on section uses the verse chords in an instrumental format and it is probably the hardest part of the song to master. Just take your time with it and the rest of the song will just seem easy. 🙂
I think you will find when going through this lesson that Neil Young is a great rhythm guitarist. I know a lot of players simply ignore how essential rhythm is to music and are only interested in guitar acrobatics. But, with this song you will find a truly great rhythm guitarist at work within one of the greatest acoustic guitar songs of it’s era. Enjoy!