The Times They Are A Changin'
I was a teenager when Bob Dylan released this tune. I remember quite clearly hearing that raw power for the first time and my path as a young player took a sharp turn away from classical and Flamenco and into the new world of folk and rock and the blues. Thanks, Bob!
I was picking away the other day in Dropped D when I inadvertently started playing the melody line, next thing I knew I had a whole arrangement mapped out for the tune and I was having such a nice time playing through it I decided to turn it into a lesson so you could enjoy it too.
Tune that bass string down to D before you do anything!
Consider this more of a 'study' than anything else. Work on the long jumps up and down the fretboard. Think ahead for those so. Work on keeping everything clean and ringing. Arch those fingers where needed. That little slide up and down in the intro and outro needs to be very positive. The picking fingers will find this challenging as there is no set pattern to follow. There a couple of chord grabs, some double stops. A whole lot of details to work out.
It's in 3/4 waltz time and open this arrangement with an 8 bar intro. It's basically a I - iv - ii - V progression (D - Bm - Em - A7) but you'll notice that I call the Bm chord Gmaj7/B in the video and tab. That's because, technically, it is. That open G string in the Bm7 shape makes the batch of notes more G than B, but I still consider it a Bm chord in the context of the tune. I could have called it Bm7/add#5 but the chord naming police would have been at my door within minutes.
The tune starts at bar 9. You'll notice that I play the melody way up the neck instead of down near the nut. I tried both ways but there's something about the fingering and availability of open strings for the other picking notes that made me settle on this way. As always, I encourage you to try the other ways (work around the open chord shapes) so you can see, hear and feel for yourself how different positions offer different options for the picking hand. The wonder of the guitar is the fact that there are so many ways to play the very same thing. That's what has kept me interested for 57 years, and still does. So, explore, experiment.
You will find that this version sounds a lot trickier than it actually is, once you get the sequences down. Those open string notes come in very handy as you don't need to finger them on the fretboard -- they're just there waiting to be plucked -- and they're the ones that are adding the lilt to the feel.
So, nothing much to it, really. The main thing to nail (as always) is the feel. It needs to skip along lightly, let those notes ring through the empty spaces here and there, make it lilt along.
Hope you like it!
For this lesson, I will now be charging a small fee of US $4.95 for the Printable PDF of the TAB/Notation. Click here to order it.
As well as putting together these fingerstyle guitar lessons, I am also the author of PlaneTalk - The Truly Totally Different Guitar Instruction Package, which teaches a mindset, a way of thinking about music and a way of tracking it all on the guitar fretboard. Yes, there IS a constant down there in the maze of strings and fret wire, a landmark that points to everything at all times. I call it The Easiest Yet Most Powerful Guitar Lesson You Will Ever Learn and many testimonials at my site will back up that rather superlative description. If your goal as a guitar player is to be able to truly PLAY the guitar, not just learn by rote; to be able to invent on the fly, not memorize every note; to be able to see the WHOLE fretboard as friendly, familiar territory, not just the first 5 frets and to do it all without thinking about all those scales and modes, then you should read more here.