Guitar lesson for

My My, Hey Hey

by Neil Young  •  Lesson #157

Video lesson

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Editor’s notes

In this video I’ll teach you how to play the intro riff of “My My, Hey Hey” by Neil Young on an acoustic guitar. I’ll teach you the chords, show the tabs, explain the strumming, and walk you through a step-by-step process of how to go about learning this riff.

Lyrics w/ chords

Tune down a whole step to play with Neil Young: DGCFAD.

See my sheet music for the complete lyrics, with chords and intro tab included.

Tune down a whole step to play with Neil’s version

To play along with Neil Young’s version (e.g., on Rust Never Sleeps) you’ll need to tune your guitar down one whole step (DGCFAD). However, in my video lesson above, I’m staying in standard tuning to keep things easy.

How to play the chords

E ||–––0––––3––––0––––0––––0––––
B ||–––1––––0––––1––––1––––3––––
G ||–––2––––0––––2––––0––––0––––
D ||–––2––––0––––3––––2––––2––––
A ||–––0––––2–––––––––3––––2––––
E ||––––––––3––––––––––––––0––––
       Am   G  Fmaj7  C   Em7

Strumming pattern

I’m a bit torn on this – do you copy Neil, or use your own pattern? He’s so loose with his strumming, I’m hesitant to try to quantify it into a single pattern. Here’s what I recommend to start with – do with this what you will:

1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +
D   D   D U D U

Use that for all verses and refrains –– no matter which chord you’re playing. For example:

Am              G               Fmaj7
1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +
D   D   D U D U D   D   D U D U D   D   D U D U D   D   D U D U


C               Em7             Am              Fmaj7
1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +
D   D   D U D U D   D   D U D U D   D   D U D U D   D   D U D U

How to learn the riff

Start with the chords and strumming

First, learn these chords and understand the timing (e.g., Am for one measure, G for one measure, Fmaj7 for 2 measures). I also recommend practicing strumming here, whether you want to keep it simple or be loose and free like Neil.

See sheet music for the tab.

Adding lead notes, but keeping it simple

Next, add some of the foundational lead notes as shown below. If this is tough for you, stick to this simplified tab (below) and take it slow. Watch my video and listen to Neil for reference. This tab below omits some of the strummy nuance, just to help get you through the front door. A final note: it may be easier to use all downstrums at this stage, for the lead notes especially (i.e., the notes between the strums).

See sheet music for the tab.

Advanced version with nuance

This is my attempt to tab it out exactly like Neil plays it. There’s a bit more strum nuance, and a bit more delicacy with the lead notes. Not shown in the tab below is the hammer-on that occur in the first note after the full G-chord strum (see my video for reference):

See sheet music for the tab.

Finally, here’s a modified version of the riff – the only difference between the lead phrase immediately after the G-chord strum (which can start off with a hammer-on as well).

See sheet music for the tab.

Good luck!

Thanks for reading! I hope this helped you.

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