COWGIRL IN THE SAND by Neil Young
“Cowgirl in the Sand” – another Neil Young classic!
As I’m sure you’ve noticed, I’m working with an acoustic here. The original electric recording features two guitar parts, but here, I’ll show you how to play the acoustic version that blends the two parts together pretty nicely. Neil does it when he performs this one live, so be sure to check out that version if you haven’t yet.
Something to pay attention to – every time I’ve seen him perform this live acoustic version, the guitar is tuned down a tone. If you’re trying to play along and it doesn’t sound quite right, that’s why. For this, I’ve just kept my guitar in standard tuning.
This song has a lot of the typical Neil Young quirks! The chords aren’t anything too crazy, but there’s a lot of embellishments throughout that make the tune more interesting, and maybe more difficult to play. It certainly is difficult for me to explain, as you’ll see in the video, but one thing I will mention here is to make sure your strumming hand stays pretty consistent the whole time you’re playing. This will make a huge difference when you start adding in some of those hammer-ons and picking variations.
Once you’ve got all of that down, you can work on some of the fills that pop in every now and again. If you’re having trouble with them, it can help to transcribe the notes. Put them down on paper so you can actually see what you’re trying to play, rather than relying on your ears so much.