Scarborough Fair

Learn how to play Scarborough Fair like Simon & Garfunkel did!

Originally an old folklore, ‘Scarborough Fair’ was made worldwide famous by Simon & Garfunkel.

The chords of ‘Scarborough Fair’ take full advantage of the II chord. By using the extensions sus2, 6 and sus4 we get a clear sense of the Dorian scale ringing through.

It would be very hard to play ‘Scarborough Fair’ using different shapes than what you see in the video lesson. It is the shape and the incorporated open strings that make the arrangement.

Using a capo anyway, we can adjust to the key to suit different singers by simply moving it up or down the neck.

What you can’t change is the fingerstyle patterns and chord shapes, as they are what gives ‘Scarborough Fair’ its distinctive sound.

Chords from the key of G

‘Scarborough Fair’ uses chords from the key of G. However, G (chord I) is not our home chord, instead, Am is (chord II).

In the verse, we use chord IIm7 and IIIm7. For the IIIm7, you keep the open strings of chord II.

This is actually a great way of producing any modal drone chord loop. You keep the root going, switch between the chord representing the mode and the one above.

In the advanced guitar course, you get a looped version of this to improvise with using the Dorian scale.

Scarborough Fair Fingerstyle

Since ‘Scarborough Fair’ is an old English fair, we want that European classical music vibe which has very little to do with groove and dancing.

Using a free-time approach when playing ‘Scarborough Fair’ will only enhance the performance. The tempo should slow down and speed up with the singers’ choir like parts.

Take the advanced course and learn more about fingerstyle techniques as well playing in different time signatures and modes.