Guitar lesson for

Where Rainbows Never Die

by The Steeldrivers  •  Lesson #112

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Editor’s notes

In this lesson, I’ll teach you how to play the intro riff “Where Rainbows Never Die” by the Steeldrivers. This is a fun riff, repeating over the D-A-Bm-G chords, which is heard through most of the song. I’ll break down how to approach this riff from a practicing standpoint – and show tabs breaking down the musical phrases to tackle one by one.

Video timestamps:

Capo 2nd fret

If you want to play along with the Steeldrivers version, add a capo to the 2nd fret.

Main riff

Here’s the main riff you hear, which is repeated in the intro and verse.

e –|––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––3––3––3––3––|–
B –|––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––3––3––3––3––|–
G –|–––––2––––––––2–––––2–––––––––––––––––0––0––0––0––|–
D –|––0–––––––––––2–––––2––––––––4––––––––0––0––0––0––|–
A –|–––––––––––0–––––0–––––0––2–––––––––––2––2––2––2––|–
E –|––––––––3–––––––––––––––––––––––2––3––3––3––3––3––|–
      1  +  2  +  3  +  4  +  1  +  2  +  3  +  4  +  
      D        A              Bm       G

Alternate ending to the riff

And, here’s the version of the riff with the special ending, heard on the 3rd playthrough of the intro. For the 4th playthrough, they go back to the “main” riff shown above.

e –|–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––3––––––––|–
B –|–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––3––––––––|–
G –|–––––2––––––––2–––––2––––––––0–––––––––––0––––––––|–
D –|––0–––––––––––2–––––2–––––––––––4––0–––––0–––––0––|–
A –|–––––––––––0–––––0–––––0––2––––––––––––––2––0h2–––|–
E –|––––––––3–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––3––3––––––––|–
      1  +  2  +  3  +  4  +  1  +  2  +  3  +  4  +  
      D        A              Bm       G

How to practice the riff when learning it

Here’s what I practiced over and over while first learning the riff. The focus here is learning (1) the chords, and (2) the bass note transitions. Don’t worry about the timing (yet) and don’t worry about the precise melodic bass notes (yet). Once you get this down, then you can worry about those.

e –|–––––2–––  –––––––––––  –––––––(2)–  ––––––––3––––––
B –|–––––3–––  ––––––––2––  ––––––––3––  ––––––––3––––––
G –|–––––2–––  ––––––––2––  ––––––––4––  ––––––––0––––––
D –|––0––––––  ––––––––2––  ––––––––4––  ––––––––0––––––
A –|–––––––––  –––––0–––––  ––0––2–––––  ––––––––x––––––
E –|–––––––––  ––3––––––––  –––––––––––  ––2––3–––––––––
      D             A            Bm           G

Chords needed for the song

Here’s the normal way you play the chords used in this song. When strumming the verse, try to only emphasize the bottom 2-3 strings of each chord (as this song as a very bassy sound to its progression).

e –––2––––0––––3––––2––––  –––2––––(2)––––0–––  
B –––3––––2––––3––––3––––  –––3–––––3–––––0–––  
G –––2––––2––––0––––4––––  –––4–––––2–––––0–––  
D –––0––––2––––0––––4––––  –––4–––––0–––––2–––  
A ––––––––0––––2––––2––––  –––0–––––0–––––2–––  
E –––––––––––––3–––––––––  –––––––––2–––––0–––  
     D    A    G    Bm       Bm/A  D/F#   Em    

But for the intro, I recommend the following voicings / finger positions:

e ––––––––    x--- don't play this string
B –––2––––    <--- left hand index finger (barred)
G –––2––––    <--- left hand index finger (barred)
D –––2––––    <--- left hand index finger (barred)
A –––0––––
E ––––––––

e –––3––––    <--- left hand pinky finger
B –––3––––    <--- left hand ring finger
G –––0––––
D –––0––––
A –––x––––    x--- don't play this string (mute it)
E –––3––––    <--- left hand middle finger
     G     ## Strumming patterns

Here’s three ways you could strum this.

Continuous down-up strumming:

D     A         Bm    G   
1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +
d u d u d u d u d u d u d u d u

Continuous down strums:

D     A         Bm    G   
1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +
d d d d d d d d d d d d d d d d

Conventional strumming pattern:

D     A         Bm    G   
1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +
d   d u   u d u d   d u   u d u

Lyrics w/ chords

Capo 2nd fret

    e –|––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––3––3––3––3––|–
    B –|––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––3––3––3––3––|–
    G –|–––––2––––––––2–––––2–––––––––––––––––0––0––0––0––|–
    D –|––0–––––––––––2–––––2––––––––4––––––––0––0––0––0––|–  x4
    A –|–––––––––––0–––––0–––––0––2–––––––––––2––2––2––2––|–
    E –|––––––––3–––––––––––––––––––––––2––3––3––3––3––3––|–
          1  +  2  +  3  +  4  +  1  +  2  +  3  +  4  +  
          D        A              Bm       G
    D    A                     Bm   G        D       A    Bm  G
    ........I'm an old man now... I can't do nothing
    D    A               Bm   G          D       A    Bm  G
    ....Young folks don't pay me no mind
    D   A         Bm     G        D        A    Bm  G
    ....But in my day I sure was something
       D      A        Bm    G       D        A    Bm  G
    Before I felt the heavy hand of time

    (D / A / Bm / G)
    I'm an old man now... I'm bound for glory
    Time to lay these burdens down
    Had enough of this old world of worry
    Gonna trade my troubles for a crown

    (D / A / Bm / G)
    I will make my way across the fields of cotton
    And wade through muddy waters one last time
        D      A        Bm      G
    And in my dreams I come out clean

        Bm        Bm/A            G     D/F#           Em       G (let ring)
        ...When I reach the other side, waste away the sunsets
        (G)                     D
        ...Where rainbows never die

    [ instrumental verse x4 ]

            ...I've got on last thing to do
            ...One more mile before I'm through
            ...Casting off these early chains
            G                     A
            ...Going where theres no more pain

    [ instrumental verse ]

    (D / A / Bm / G)
    I will make my way across the fields of cotton
    And wade through muddy waters one last time
    And in my dreams I come out clean

        Bm        Bm/A            G     D/F#           Em       G (let ring)
        ...When I reach the other side, waste away the sunsets
        (G)                     D
        ...Where rainbows never die

    (D / A / Bm / G)
    I'm an old man now... can't do nothing
    Young folks don't pay me no mind      (end on D)

Good luck!

Thanks for reading! I hope this helped you. Questions? Comments? Requests? Let me know!

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