Intermediate Acoustic Guitar Course Week 14 Step 3 and 4

American Pie Intro + Outro + Charts

Welcome back, today we work on the Intro and Outro, which are, very similar.

Following this we get a chart for the entire song, it’s a big one…

Let’s start by working on the Intro and Outro.

Week 14 – Step 3 – 20-30 min

There are many chord movements during the Intro so I’m gonna split in in half.

Ensure you can hear each movement so you can remember the progression in chunks.

The chords follow the melody very closely so keep the vocal in mind as you practice.

Here’s the fist half:
Key of G

Intro (free tempo)

| I V/VII VI | II IV | VI V Vsus4 | 2/4 Vsus2 V |
| I V/VII VI | II IV | VI IV | V Vsus4 V Vsus2 |

These first two lines are almost identical. The I chord moves to VI via V/VII.

This is a movement from parallel major to minor. From happy to sad.

Following this we go to chord II (4th up from VI). In IIIV we have another parallel movement, this time from minor to major. Sad to happy.

The last two chords of line one go from VI to V. Chord V having sus4 and sus2 extensions.

When the line is repeated a IV chord finds its way in between VI ad V.

As chords in G major the progression looks like this:

| G D/F# Em | Am C | Em D Dsus4 | 2/4 Dsus2 D |
| G D/F# Em | Am C | Em C | D Dsus4 D Dsus2 |

The second half of the Intro starts off in minor and goes well with the lyrics, the change is dramatic and works like a sad answer to the first two lines.

| VI II | VI II | IV VIm7b6/III II | IV V |
| I V/VII VI | IV V | I V/VII VI | IV V | I |

First we move from VIII twice, this is varied by IVII, going via the crazy sounding VIm7b6/III.

To move from IVVIm7b6/IIIII is similar to how we started: IV/VIIVI.
When we finish off the line with IVV we are set up to get back to chord I again.

The final line repeats what we started with in: IV/VIIVI. Add the IVV to get back to I again.

When you played this twice you finish on chord I.

In the key of G it looks like this:

| Em Am | Em Am | C Em7b5/B Am | C D |
| G D/F# Em | C D | G D/F# Em | C D | G |

During the Intro, these where the main movements:

  • I – V/VII – VI (parallel major to minor)
  • II – IV (parallel minor to major)
  • VI – V (sets us up for chord I)
  • VI – II (up a 4th minor blues trick)
  • IV – I/III – II (parallel major to minor)
  • IV – V (sets us up for chord I)

Following this Intro, the rest of the song have almost no other variations, it’s just the order of how they appear that change.

Here’s TAB for the entire Intro as played in the Video:
American Pie Intro

Outro (free tempo)

The Outro is almost identical to the Intro, just a few tiny variations have been put in place, let’s compare!

This was the first half of the Intro:

| I V/VII VI | II IV | VI V Vsus4 | 2/4 Vsus2 V |
| I V/VII VI | II IV | VI IV | V Vsus4 V Vsus2 |

And here’s the first half of the Outro:

| I V/VII VI | II IV | VI V | 2/4 Vsus2 V |
| I V/VII VI | II VI | VI IV | Vsus4 V Vsus2 V |

There’s a sus4 missing on the first line. On the second line, we go to a IV chord before the sus4 and sus2 variations.

For the second half we had this for the Intro:

| VI II | VI II | IV VIm7b6/III II | IV V |
| I V/VII VI | IV V | I V/VII VI | IV V | I |

This is the second half of the Outro:

| VI II | VI II | IV VIm7b6/III II | IV V | 2/4 Vsus2 V |
| I V/VII VI | IV V | I V/VII VI | IV V | I |

There’s also a 2/4 bar containing a Vsus2 and V chord. Other than that it’s the same chords.

Here’s the entire Outro as chords in the key of G:

| G D/F# Em | Am C | Em D | 2/4 Dsus2 D |
| G D/F# Em | Am Em | Em C | Dsus4 D Dsus2 D |

| Em Am | Em Am | C Em7b6/B Am | C D | 2/4 Dsus2 D |
| G D/F# Em | C D | I D/F# Em | C D | G |

Here’s the TAB for the Outro:
American Pie Outro


Finally, there’s the end to look at, here are the roman numerals:

| IV V | I IV | I |

In the key of G, these are the chords:

| C D | G C | G |

Use the video to work out how to play the End.

How to practice the Intro and Outro

Take your time with each section, listen to how the chords move and connect with the melody.

Aim to hear how the melody want different chords.

Use the lyric sheet, without looking at the chords.

DO NOT have them open at the same time. By doing it this way you will start to hear how the chords move.

If you just read: G – Am – C etc then you will just forever have to read it.

Week 14 – Step 4 – 20 min

Let’s look at a chart for the entire song, download and print this: American Pie Chart

Use the chart as you play along with the entire song. As the strumming patterns are so repetitive, there is no need to write out all of them, feel free to fill in some key areas using rhythm slashes.

This approach also saves space as we can now fit many bars on one line of music.

Saying that, it still covers two pages!


Today you learned the intricate movements of the Intro and Outro for American Pie.

You also got a chart for the entire song.

Next week we start working on another song, it doesn’t have as many chords, instead we work on playing a bass line over a static chord.

See you then!

Dan (your guitar guru)