THIS ETERNALLY FUN power-pop anthem from the early 2000s kicks off with a super-catchy, cleverly crafted intro and verse riff (see Rhy. Fig. 1, bars 1-4), compliments of guitarist Dave Keuning. Combining highly unusual “pretzel-finger” chord grips played way up high on the fretboard with an eighth-note arpeggiation pattern that incorporates the open high E string, the guitarist creates a sequence of sparkly “cluster” voicings via the technique of crosspicking, switching to a different string with each successive note, as one would do when fingerpicking.
This is actually a very challenging part to play for the fret hand! Looking at the chord frames at the beginning of the transcription, you’ll see that Keuning employs all four fingers and four- and five-fret stretches for these voicings, as well as for the sprawling G6 chord voicing that he uses later on in the song, during the pre-chorus (see Rhy. Fig. 2, bars 21-24). Your fingers will need to be warmed-up and limber to make these stretches, and using lightgauge strings and having low action on your guitar will certainly help make playing the song easier.
If you’re having a tough time playing all the notes of each arpeggiated chord and letting them ring cleanly, I suggest either omitting the fretted high E notes on the B string’s 17th fret (picking the open E twice instead) or letting go of the lowest note of each shape right after you pick it, which will buy you some much needed reach and free up a finger that can then hop over to fret one of the higher notes. You’ll lose a little bit of the overall sustain, but that’s not too bad, as the low note does momentarily linger in our mind’s ear. And the bass guitar, entering in bar 5, proceeds to double those low notes one and then two octaves down anyway.
This same advice applies to the aforementioned sprawling G6 chord in the pre-chorus. Using some extra reverb will help with the note sustain too, by the way.
Regarding the right hand, you’ll notice that we’ve included suggested picking strokes for the first four bars. Proceed slowly at first, striving for clean articulation and small, economical movements with both hands.