Guitar lesson for
The Year That Clayton Delaney Died
Capo 1st fret
If you want to play along with the album version, through a capo on the 1st fret and use the chords I show here. This is how Tim T. Hall plays this song. You don’t need the capo - without it, you’ll just be a half-step lower in pitch (which is okay if you’re not playing along with his recorded version).
E –––3––––––––1––––1–––– B –––1–––1––––1––––0–––– G –––0–––3––––2––––0–––– D –––2–––2––––3––––0–––– A –––3–––3––––3––––2–––– E ––––––––––––1––––3–––– C C7 F G7
Here’s the chord progression written out - 4 counts per measure. Play each line once, then repeat the whole thing for each verse.
C . . . G7 . . . C . . . C7 . . . F . . . F . . . C . . . C . . . F . . . F . . . F . . . C . . . C . . . G7 . . . C . . . C . . .
Lyrics with chords
(capo 1st fret) C G7 C C7 I remember the year that Clayton Delaney died F C They said for the last two weeks that he suffered and cried F C It made a big impression on me although I was a barefoot kid C G7 C They said he got religion at the end and I'm glad that he did (use same progression for each verse) Clayton was the best guitar picker in our town I thought he was a hero and I used to follow Clayton around I often wondered why Clayton who seemed so good to me Never took his guitar and made it down in Tennessee Well daddy said he drank a lot but I could never understand I knew he used to picked up in Ohio with a five piece band Clayton used to tell me son you better put that old guitar away Ain't no money in it it'll lead you to an early grave I guess if I'd admit it Clayton taught me how to drink booze I can see him half stoned a picking out the Lovesick Blues When Clayton died I made him a promise I was gonna carry on somehow I'd give a hundred dollars if he could only see me now I remember the year that Clayton Delaney died Nobody ever knew it but I went out in the woods and I cried Well I know there's a lotta big preachers that know a lot more than I do But it could be that the good Lord likes a little picking too Yeah I remember the year that Clayton Delaney died
1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + D D U U D U
Sneak in extra strums of each chord as you’re able (I’m only showing a single strum of each here, for space reasons). Listen along to the song (or my video lesson) for context.
E ––––––––––––3––––––3–––––––––1–––––1–––––––––––3–––––––––––––––1––––– B ––––––––––––1––––––1–––––––––0–––––0–––––––––––1–––––––––––––––0––––– G ––––––––––––0––––––0–––––––––0–––––0–––––––––––0–––––––––––––––0––––– D ––––––––––––2–––2––2––––1–0––0–––––0–––––––––––2–––––––––––––––0––––– A –––––0–2–3––3–––––––––––––––––––––––––––0–2–3––3––––––3–2–0––––2––––– E –––3––––––––––––––––––––––––––––3–––––3–––––––––––––––––––––3––3––––– C G7 C G7
Intro riff exercises
Learning the above intro riff can be difficult, especially playing it at full speed. Here’s a way to practice the riff through breaking things into two exercise that build up the skills you’ll need to play this.
First, practice accenting these changing bass notes in a groove while strumming. Practice this on repeat. This will help establish the foundation you’ll need before you add the additional runs to and from the G chord.
E ––––––––––––3––––––3–––––––––1–––––1––––––––––– B ––––––––––––1––––––1–––––––––0–––––0––––––––––– G ––––––––––––0––––––0–––––––––0–––––0––––––––––– D ––––––––––––2–––2––2––––––0––0–––––0––––––––––– A –––––––––3––3––––––––––––––––––––––2––––––––––– E ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––3––3––––––––––– C G7
Second, practice this bassline sequence. Try to do it in time with the song, if you can (listen along for context). Start slow, get it down, and increase your speed until you can play it at full speed.
E ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– B ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– G ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– D ––––––––––––––––2–––––––1–0–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– A –––––0–2–3––3–––––––––––––––––––––––––––0–2–3–––––––––3–2–0–––––––––– E –––3––––––––––––––––––––––––––––3–––––3–––––––––––––––––––––3–––––––– C G7 C G7
WHen you’re comfortable with both exercises above, try combining them to create the full intro riff. Break that full riff into phrases (sections) if you can - don’t pretend you’ll be able to do it all at once!
Let me know if you have questions. I hope this was helpful.
Enjoy my lessons? Buy me a beer!
If this and my other lessons have proven helpful to you, please consider making a one-time donation to my tip jar. Contributions of any amount help make this project possible (including the many, many hours I put into it).
Subscribe to my YouTube channel
Be sure to never miss a lesson by subscribing on YouTube. I put out 2-3 new videos every week. These include full song lessons, as well as covers, practice tips, behind-the-scenes updates. Thanks!
Recent video lessons:
📝 Print-friendly PDFs now available for all new lessons I make, including all those listed below. Get a free sample »
- Stairway to Heaven (Interlude) by Led Zeppelin
- Yesterday (full lesson) by The Beatles
June 8, 2019
- An easier way to play F#m (no barre chord required)
June 4, 2019
- Yesterday (cover) by The Beatles
May 27, 2019
- How I change my acoustic guitar strings
May 19, 2019
- "My Old Kentucky Home, Goodnight" (fingerstyle intro) by John Prine
May 17, 2019
- Outlaw fingerstyle warmup ("Sleeping on the Blacktop") by Colter Wall
May 11, 2019
- First Call (horse racing / military bugle wake-up call)
May 4, 2019
- Imagine by John Lennon
May 2, 2019
- Jenny of Oldstones from Game of Thrones
Apr 23, 2019
- Wildflowers by Tom Petty
Apr 20, 2019
- Breezy strumming on E-Bsus4-Asus2 (Warm Up #18)
Apr 18, 2019
- How I composed a fingerstyle guitar arrangement (Practice Log #12)
Apr 13, 2019
- If I Had a Boat by Lyle Lovett
Apr 10, 2019
- Triad exercises w/ A, D, & E (Warm Up #17)
Mar 30, 2019
- Travis picking finger technique (Practice Log #11)
Mar 22, 2019
- Let Him Roll by Guy Clark
Mar 17, 2019
- Plush by Stone Temple Pilots
Mar 15, 2019
- Under the Bridge by Red Hot Chili Peppers
Mar 9, 2019
- Adding flourish to C-F-G-Am
Mar 7, 2019
- The Gambler by Kenny Rogers
Mar 3, 2019
- Always Remember Us This Way from A Star is Born
Feb 28, 2019
- Cowboy chords & walking bass lines (Warm Up #16)
Feb 23, 2019
- Improv blues guitar in A-minor
Feb 21, 2019
- St James Infirmary Blues
Feb 16, 2019
- Barre chord strength & Smells Like Teen Spirit (Warm Up #15)
Feb 14, 2019
- Faking open chords in key of D w/ major & minor triads (Warm Up #14)
Feb 10, 2019
Monthly email updates
If you want to keep posted of new lessons over email, sign up for my newsletter. I'll email once a month with a digest of all my new videos. I promise: no spam.