Lynyrd Skynyrd

Sweet Home Alabama

Total Guitar - - HOW TO -

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.

Cheat sheet…

Ap­pears at: 0:03-0:12 Tempo: 95 bpm Key/scale: G ma­jor / G ma­jor pen­ta­tonic Main tech­niques: Arpeg­gios / sin­glenote lead

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