Sweet Home Alabama
Probably one of the best-known ‘southern rock’ tracks, SweetHome
Alabama by Lynyrd Skynyrd was recorded by what many regard as the definitive line-up of the Jacksonville, Florida-born band, which featured original vocalist Ronnie Van Zant and guitarists Gary Rossington, Ed King and Allen Collins. The iconic intro riff comes courtesy of Ed King’s mildly overdriven Fender Strat. If you’re planning to learn this, it’s probably best to think of it as a riff of two halves.
First up comes a run of D5, Cadd9 and G chords. These are simple open shapes but King makes the most of them with arpeggios – which means he takes a ‘one note at a time’ approach. Played at speed the rhythm of the arpeggios may catch you out, so practise slowly to begin with.
Bars 2 and 3 both end with more of a lead guitar vibe: play the G major pentatonic lick in bar 2 with your fret hand in roughly the same position as you play the G chord; after the G in bar 3 move gradually up the fretboard.
Appears at: 0:03-0:12 Tempo: 95 bpm Key/scale: G major / G major pentatonic Main techniques: Arpeggios / singlenote lead