Guitar lesson for

Sweet Home Alabama

by Lynyrd Skynyrd β€’Β Lesson #43

Video lesson

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Lyrics with chords

INTRO
    D ... Cadd9 ... G ... G ... (x4, with riff)

VERSE
    D      Cadd9           G
    ...Big wheels, keep on turning
    D           Cadd9          G
    ...Carry me home to see my kin
    D           Cadd9            G
    ...Singing songs about the Southland
    D              Cadd9      G
    ...I miss ole 'Bamy once again, and I think it's a sin, yeah

INTERLUDE
        D ... C ... G ... G ...  (x2, with interlude riff)

    D                    Cadd9       G          
    ...Well, I heard Mr. Young sing about her
    D                    Cadd9        G
    ...Well, I heard ole Neil put her down
    D                    Cadd9        G
    ...Well, I hope Neil Young will remember
    D             Cadd9               G
    ...A southern man don't need him around, anyhow

CHORUS
            D      Cadd9   G
            Sweet home, Alabama
            D         Cadd9        G
            Where the skies are so blue
            D     Cadd9    G
            Sweet home, Alabama
            D         Cadd9          G
            Lord, I'm coming home to you

        (interlude)

                                          F    C    D
    In Birmingham they love the governor (boo, hoo, hoo!)
    Now, we all did what we could do
    Now, Watergate does not bother me
    Does your conscience bother you? Tell the truth

            [chorus]

        Here I come... Alabama...

        (solo + interlude)

    Now, Muscle Shoals has got the Swampers
    And they've been known to pick a song or two
    Lord, they get me off so much
    They pick me up when I'm feeling blue, now how about you?

            [chorus x2, solo to end]

Chords needed

For 99% of the song, you’ll only need to know these 3 chords. If you’ve never seen the Cadd9 chord before, don’t be scared! It’s actually easier to play than the typical C-major chord, since you’ll be keeping your left-ring and left-pinky fingers in the same place as they are in the G chord.

E –––2–––––3–––––3––––
B –––3–––––3–––––3––––
G –––2–––––0–––––0––––
D –––0–––––2–––––0––––
A –––––––––3–––––2––––
E –––––––––––––––3––––
     D   Cadd9   G    

There’s one place in the song (the β€œboo-hoo” lyric) where an F chord is needed. You can play a full 6 string F if you please, but know you can also get away with a 4-string F that only uses the middle four strings.

E –––(1)–––
B ––––1––––
G ––––2––––
D ––––3––––
A ––––3––––
E –––(1)–––
      F

Chord progression for the entire song

For the entire song, you’ll want to use this progression from D to Cadd9 to G. Repeat it over and over:

"Sweet wheels keep on turning..."

D . . . Cadd9 . . . G . . . G . . .

In one or two cases, you’ll change this for one progression by throwing an F into the mix. You can use as simplified an F as you prefer:

"In Birmingham they love the Governor, boo hoo..."

D . . . Cadd9 . . . G . . . F . C .

How to play the main riff

There are many ways you can play this – each has slight variations in the final measure. I’m not super interested in mapping each of these out to their exact location in the song… for that, I leave it to you to listen to the album version, watch my video, and combine these as you prefer. Also, note that some of these riffs may not be 100% accurate to what you hear in the album version – I’m less concerned with an exact reproduction, and more concerned with giving you the structure that’ll get you started with things.

Variation A:

e –––––––––––|–––––––––––|––––––––––|––––––––––––––––––––––
B ––––––3––––|––––––3––––|–––––––3––|––––––––––––––––––––––
G ––––––––2––|––––––––0––|–––––––0––|––––––––––––––––––––––
D ––0–0––––––|–––––––––––|–––––––0––|––––––0h2––0––––––––––
A –––––––––––|––3–3––––––|–––––––2––|––0h2–––––––––2––0h2––
E –––––––––––|–––––––––––|––3–3–––––|––––––––––––––––––––––
    D           Cadd9       G

Variation B:

e –––––––––––|–––––––––––|––––––––––|––––––––––––––––––––––
B ––––––3––––|––––––3––––|–––––––3––|––––––––––––––––––––––
G ––––––––2––|––––––––0––|–––––––0––|––2–0–0–––4–0–0–––5~~–
D ––0–0––––––|–––––––––––|–––––––0––|––––––––––––––––––––––
A –––––––––––|––3–3––––––|–––––––2––|––––––––––––––––––––––
E –––––––––––|–––––––––––|––3–3–––––|––––––––––––––––––––––
    D           Cadd9       G

Variation C:

e –––––––––––|–––––––––––|––––––––––|––––––––––––––––––––––
B ––––––3––––|––––––3––––|–––––––3––|––––––––––––––––––––––
G ––––––––2––|––––––––0––|–––––––0––|––––––––––––––––––––––
D ––0–0––––––|–––––––––––|–––––––0––|––––––0h2––0––––––––––
A –––––––––––|––3–3––––––|–––––––2––|––0h2–––––––––––3–––––
E –––––––––––|–––––––––––|––3–3–––––|––––––––––––––––––––––
    D           Cadd9       G

Variation D:

e –––––––––––|–––––––––––|–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
B ––––––3––––|––––––3––––|–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
G ––––––––2––|––––––––0––|–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
D ––0–0––––––|–––––––––––|––––––0–––––0–––––0–––––0–––––0––
A –––––––––––|––3–3––––––|––0h2–––0h2–––0h2–––0h2–––0h2––––
E –––––––––––|–––––––––––|–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
    D           Cadd9       G

Variation E:

e –––––––––––|–––––––––––|––––––––––|––––––––––––––––––––––
B ––––––3––––|––––––3––––|–––––––3––|–––1––––-–––1–––––––––
G ––––––––2––|––––––––0––|–––––––0––|–––2––––-–––0–––––––––
D ––0–0––––––|–––––––––––|–––––––0––|–––3––––-–––2–––––––––
A –––––––––––|––3–3––––––|–––––––2––|–––3––––-–––3–––––––––
E –––––––––––|–––––––––––|––3–3–––––|––––––––––––––––––––––
    D           Cadd9       G           F        C

Variation F:

e –––––––––––|–––––––––––|––––––––––|––––––––––––––––––––––
B ––––––3––––|––––––3––––|–––––––3––|––––––––––––––––––––––
G ––––––––2––|––––––––0––|–––––––0––|–––––––––––––––––2p0––
D ––0–0––––––|–––––––––––|–––––––0––|––––––0h2––0––––––––––
A –––––––––––|––3–3––––––|–––––––2––|––0h2–––––––––3–––––––
E –––––––––––|–––––––––––|––3–3–––––|––––––––––––––––––––––
    D           Cadd9       G           

Interlude riff

This is what you hear between each verse. Again, there are a few ways you can play it. Use the method(s) that work for your needs.

Variation A:

e –––––––––––––––|––––––––––––|–––––––––––––––|––––––––––––
B –––––––––––––––|––––––––––––|–––––––––––––––|––0–––––––––
G ––––––––7–7––––|–––––––5–5––|––––––––0–0––––|––––––2––0––
D ––––––––7–7––––|–––––––5–5––|–––––––––––––––|––––––––––––
A ––7h8h9–––––9––|––5h7–––––––|––0h1h2––––––––|––––––––––––
E –––––––––––––––|––––––––––––|––––––––––––3––|––––––––––––
    D               C            G Variation B:

e –––––––––––––––|––––––––––––|–––––––––––––––|––––––––––––
B –––––––––––––––|––––––––––––|–––––––––––––––|––0–1–0––3––
G ––––––––7–7––––|–––––––5–5––|––––––––0–0––––|––––––––––––
D ––––––––7–7––––|–––––––5–5––|–––––––––––––––|––––––––––––
A ––7h8h9–––––9––|––5h7–––––––|––0h1h2––––––––|––––––––––––
E –––––––––––––––|––––––––––––|––––––––––––3––|––––––––––––
    D               C            G

Variation C:

e –––––––––––––––|––––––––––––|–––––––––––––––|––––––––––––
B –––––––––––––––|––––––––––––|–––––––––––––––|––––––––––––
G ––––––––7–7––––|–––––––5–5––|–––––––––––––––|––4–––4–––––
D ––––––––7–7––––|–––––––5–5––|––––––––5–5––––|––5–––5–––––
A ––7h8h9–––––9––|––5h7–––––––|–––––––––––––––|––5–––5–––––
E –––––––––––––––|––––––––––––|––5h6h7–––––3––|––3–––3–––––
    D               C            G

Strumming Patterns

Here’s a few ways to strum it, in order of complexity (starting at the easiest version). The β€œβ€ symbol in the patterns below designates playing the bass note of that chord, for that strum. See my video for reference for all these.

D   .   C   .   G   .   .   .
1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +
d   d   d   d   d   d   d   d

D   .   C   .   G   .   .   .
1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +
d   d   d u d   d   d   d u d

D   .   C   .   G   .   .   .
1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +
d d d   d d d   d d d   d d d
Β― Β― >   Β― Β― >   Β― Β― >   Β― Β― >

D   .   C   .   G   .   .   .
1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +
d d d dud d d dud d d dud d d du
Β― Β― >   Β― Β― >   Β― Β― >   Β― Β― >

Hope that helps!

Let me know how things work for you when learning this song! Hopefully well. Hit me up with any comments / questions / etc.

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