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Focusing on the left hand and all chords used in this song

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I think the material is excellent. I’ve benefited so much. I’ve now begun to improvise with some confidence and have written songs that feel authentic. I can now develop musically in a broad and rich way. Your work has illuminated an exciting path forward.– Roger

‘Babylon’ is a single from David Gray‘s hit album White Ladder.

The album was the result of trying to make it for over a decade as a singer-songwriter using the classic record label route. In the end, David recorded the album in his bedroom with the help of his drummer.

‘Babylon’ is played using a capo on fret 1, so what you hear is in Eb, but you think in D. As the chord riff use open strings it would be impossible to play it in this key without a capo.

In this first video lesson, you’ll see how to play the song from beginning to end using just one acoustic guitar.

Chord progression

These are the chords for the intro/verse/instrumental/chorus tag sections.

| D Dmaj7 | G | x7

2. | G | Em | Em |

3. | G |

The chorus is varied every fourth bar.

| D | A | Em | F#m |

| D | A | Em | G |

| D | A | Em | A |

| D | A | Em | A | A |

Babylon vs Fast Car

Both ‘Babylon’ and ‘Fast Car‘ are based around maj7 chord licks. ‘Babylon’ use a D shape, ‘Fast Car’ a C shape.

One of the best ways to learn about ‘song’ and ‘guitar part’ writing is to compare riffs that are similar like these. In the intermediate guitar course we compare these two songs in more detail, these are the topics covered:

  • How to play maj7 shapes all over the neck
  • Fast Car in the open position vs up the neck
  • The meaning of the progressions
  • Two complete charts
  • Strumming patterns for all sections
  • TAB

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