We have quite a few packs of lessons from this group of four super musicians. Volume 4 features songs from the individual catalogs of Stills, Nash & Young.
Stephen Stills - Change Partners
Stephen Stills - So Begins The Task
Graham Nash - Chicago (We Can Change The World)
Graham Nash - Try To Find Me
Neil Young - Birds
Neil Young - One Of These Days
Lesson 1: Chicago (We Can Change The World) - Guitar Lesson
Chicago (We Can Change The World) is a song written by Graham Nash for his 1971 debut album 'Songs For Beginners’. It is also included on the CSN&Y album ‘Four Way Street’.
The title and lyrics refer to the anti-Vietnam War protests that took place during the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago and the subsequent trial of the Chicago Eight, later Chicago Seven.
During this trial Black Panther leader Bobby Seale was gagged and chained to a chair in the courtroom, and this is where the song starts.
In the lyrics Nash pleads with bandmates Stills and Young to ‘come to Chicago just to sing’ at a benefit concert for the Chicago Eight defense fund. Crosby had time off and wanted to go as well, but the others weren’t able to make it because of prior arrangements.
‘Rules and regulations, who needs them?’ is the only line Nash has ever regretted writing, since he feels that we of course need them. Instead he now often sings: ‘some of those regulations, who needs them?'
This lesson teaches an arrangement in the key of Am, based on how Nash plays it on the piano. It uses several of the same voicings, but an octave down. Others are the same, and for that higher up the neck.
We take a look at the picking, which is all in home position, and should be doable for any guitar student.
Lesson 2: So Begins The Task - Guitar Lesson
So Begins The Task is a Stephen Stills song that dates back to the early CSN days and eventually was released on his album Manassas in 1972. It is a somewhat basic fingerpicking song as far as patterns are concerned but he has a few specific embellishments and chord variations that are covered in this lesson.
Lesson 3: Change Partners - Guitar Lesson
Change Partners is a Stephen Stills song from his second solo album, released in 1971. The song only uses three chords and a few variations, but includes parts in different time signatures. This lesson shows a very basic way to play it as well as a more complicated version that requires muting some of the higher strings to bring out a moving melody line.
Lesson 4: Try To Find Me - Guitar Lesson
Try To Find Me’ is a very touching song written by Graham Nash. He performed it at the ‘Acoustic Concert’ which was recorded in 1991 in San Francisco, but it wasn’t until 2009 that it was released on his album ‘Reflections’.
When doing a concert at The Bridge School, an educational program for children who suffer from cerebral palsy, founded and run by Neil Young’s wife, Pegi, Nash saw two kids in their wheelchairs: ‘One, a little girl, who started to cry because she wanted to get out of the concert for whatever reason. And then this little boy, next to her in his wheelchair, took an unbelievable amount of time to slowly and painfully move his hand over to hers and squeeze her hand. And he made this little girl stop crying and at that moment this song was born, it’s called Try To Find Me.’
Since Nash accompanies himself on a grand piano, in the lesson we take a look at how to translate his playing to the guitar, by showing the patterns that he uses on the piano.
The arrangement is in the key of D, using all the chords, except for chord VII. The guitar is in Drop D-Tuning, capoed at the second fret, which puts it back in the original absolute key of E. For that we take a look at how to adjust the chords with the bass note on the sixth string.
There is also a segment in which I explain how I came up with a simple arrangement that is aimed at translating the emotional feel of the song, in particular by using dynamics.
Lesson 5: Birds
Neil Young's 1970 album, After The Gold Rush had a bunch of compelling and beautiful songs, including rockers like Southern Man, flatpicking classics like Tell Me Why, country staples like Oh Lonesome Me, and the hypnotically captivating Birds. He normally performs it on the piano but the recent release of a 50th Anniversary Edition of CSNY's Deja Vu included a stunning guitar version with Graham Nash adding harmony in the chorus.
This lesson follows that, going into double time strumming, hammer on embellishments on some chords, a very unusual time signature change, and even covers Nash's harmony.
Lesson 6: One Of These Days
One Of These Days is from Neil Young's 1992 album Harvest Moon. It is in one of his favorite tunings, Double Dropped D, where the first and sixth strings are lowered a whole step, from E to D. The tuning slightly alters the colors of the chords making for some interesting sounds.
The lesson goes into some theory behind the chords and shows various fingering possibilities for many of them. As it is, there are not a lot of chords involved and the strumming is fairly basic. It can be done with a pick or the fingers (like NY does). There are some barre chords and hinge barres (partial barres across some of the middle strings) which may be difficult for beginners. Nonetheless, this is a fun song to play.