Acoustic Intros (Tab)

Since the last Acoustic Intros post I’ve been itching to do another one. And I realised that I’ve notched up five requests that (just about – I’m looking at you Bonnie Bear) fit that description.

They vary in difficulty but they all make use of fingerpicking. Usual rules apply: I try to do them in same key as the original but it’s not guaranteed; if you request the rest of the song I will scream the point isn’t to play the whole song but have a bit of fun, inject a bit of familiarity like this or to incorporate into a medley like this.

Nick Drake – Day Is Done



One of Nick Drake’s best songs (although I would probably say that about 60% of his music). This tab is in the same key as the original but I have had to simplify things a fair amount to get it to work.

The picking is all thumb and two finger style. That does mean playing two notes in a row with the thumb on different strings. I usually try to avoid that but I think it’s the best way to handle it here.

Buy it on iTunes

Elvis – In the Ghetto



Buy it on iTunes

Thumb and two finger picking here as well.

Trickiest bit here is the middle of bar 2 (and the repeats of that move). When you slide from the 5th fret to the 6th have your index finger barred across the E and A strings ready for the rest of the bar.

Bon Iver – Holocene



This is the only one in this post that isn’t in the original key. To play along with the record slap a capo on the 6th fret.

Buy it on iTunes

Corinne Bailey Rae – Put Your Records On



All chords for this intro. You could use strums for this but it’s more effective with one finger per string picking like the original.

The trickiest bit is bars 2-3 and 5-6. Here’s an easier way of playing it that loses very little in the sound.

For the x’s in the tab I’m bringing my hand down on the strings so they click against the fretboard. Here’s a video of that technique. The first half shows creating the click with just the thumb. Then using the whole hand (trickier but produces a more forceful click).

Buy it on iTunes

Royal Teeth – Hold Me



Hey look, A ukulele riff! Royal Teeth make really effective use of a uke in the riff. Straight forward thumb and two finger picking here too.

Buy it on iTunes


More Acoustic Riffs

View Comments


  1. snacks June 9th, 2014 8:41 pm

    How do I play this like ledward?

  2. Woodshed June 9th, 2014 9:17 pm

    snacks: No one can play like Ledward!

  3. snacks June 10th, 2014 4:58 am

    Woodshed: I have bob’s part down so that’s like halfway there right??

  4. Daniela June 17th, 2014 10:53 am

    Woodshed: I think that the mp3 sample under Bon Iver’s song isn’t really that sample you wrote above it, it is rather the Royal Teeth’s sample.
    Nonetheless, that’s a really great post you’ve done, putting together all this nice intros! chapeau!

  5. Woodshed June 17th, 2014 11:17 am

    Daniela: Thanks very much for letting me know. No idea why that happened – it’s actually linked to the right file. If you click the link that says MP3 you’ll get the right thing.

  6. minigirl July 18th, 2014 6:08 am

    Oh wow, Al, somehow I missed this post until now and am delighted that you posted your audio of the intro for In the Ghetto! I’m still just amazed that you wrote the tabs so quickly when I asked about it, and no, I’ve not mastered it yet as you have – but I will! :) My fave of all time and really love how you’ve transitioned it to this wonderful little instrument! TY so much! ~PS

  7. Woodshed July 18th, 2014 2:54 pm

    minigirl: Thanks very much!

  8. tbone October 24th, 2014 8:54 pm

    I really enjoyed learning Day is Done. I love that picky stuff. I’m surprised you haven’t taken on an Elliott Smith tune yet. I’ve been having fun with this one, too.

  9. tbone October 24th, 2014 8:55 pm

    Didn’t put the link in there, because I got distracted. This one is fun:

  10. Woodshed October 25th, 2014 4:58 pm

    tbone: Thanks! I’ll definitely keep Elliott Smith in mind for future tabbing.

Sorry, Comments Are Broken Right Now