Guitar lesson for

Kodachrome

by Paul Simon  •  Lesson #20

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Editor’s notes

This is my acoustic guitar lesson for “Kodachrome” by Paul Simon. It includes my cover of the song, including the tabs, chords, and lyrics needed to play the entire song.

Lyrics & chords

INTRO

    D  . . . D  . . . G . . . G  . .  .
    Em . . . A7 . . . D . . . Em . A7 .

          ...with bassline riff while on G

VERSE
                 D       Dmaj7      D7                G (with riff)
    When I think back on all--- the crap I learned in high school
    Em               A7                  D        Em  A7
    ...It’s a wonder I can think at all
                  D       Dmaj7  D7            G (with riff)
    And though my lack of edu----cation hasn’t hurt me none
    Em                A7             D
    ...I can read the writing on the wall

CHORUS
            G       B7    Em
        Kodachrome-----------
                           Am               D
        They give us those nice----- bright colors
                         G              C
        They give us the greens----- of summers
                        A7           D               G    B7    Em
        Makes you think all----- the world’s a sunny day, oh--- yeah
                Am         D
        I got a Ni-----kon camera
                         G        C
        I love to take a pho----tograph
                      A7           D          G      Bm   Em    A7
        So mama don’t take----- my Kodachrome away

                D                               G
    If you took all the girls I knew when I was single
    Em                        A7             D       Em  A7
    ...And brought them all together for one night
                  D                         G
    I know they’d never match my sweet imagination
    Em                  A7                 D
    ...Everything looks worse in black and white

            G       B7    Em
        Kodachrome-----------
                           Am               D
        They give us those nice----- bright colors
                         G              C
        They give us the greens----- of summers
                        A7           D               G    B7    Em
        Makes you think all----- the world’s a sunny day, oh--- yeah
                Am         D
        I got a Ni-----kon camera
                         G        C
        I love to take a pho----tograph
                      A7           D          G      Bm   Em    A7
        So mama don’t take----- my Kodachrome away

OUTRO

            G            Bm          Em
            Mama don’t take----- my Kodachrome away
            G            Bm          Em
            Mama don’t take----- my Kodachrome away
            G            Bm          Em
            Mama don’t take----- my Kodachrome away

            (start strumming in double time!)

            G                            
            Mama don’t take my Kodachrome
            Bm
            Mama don’t take my Kodachrome
            Em
            Mama don’t take my Kodachrome away

            G                            
            Mama don’t take my Kodachrome
            Bm
            Leave your boy so far from home
            Em
            Mama don’t take my Kodachrome away


                        ...repeat this G-Bm-Em sequence as desired, then end

Chords used

Verse chords

e |---2----3----0----0---        e |----2-----2-----2----
B |---3----0----0----2---        B |----3-----2-----1----
G |---2----0----0----0---        G |----2-----2-----2----
D |---0----0----2----2---        D |----0-----0-----0----
A |--------2----2----0---        A |---------------------
E |--------3----0--------        E |---------------------
      D    G    Em   A7                 D   Dmaj7   D7  

Chorus chords

First, the turnaround played at the beginning (and in between) of each chorus run:

e |----3-----2-----0----
B |----0-----0-----0----
G |----0-----2-----0----
D |----0-----1-----2----
A |----2-----2-----2----
E |----3-----------0----
       G     B7    Em

After the turn around, you’ll play these chords in this order:

e |----0----2----3----0----0----2----
B |----1----3----0----1----2----3----
G |----2----2----0----0----0----2----
D |----2----0----0----2----2----0----
A |----0---------2----3----0---------
E |--------------3-------------------
       Am   D    G    C    A7   D

Outro chords

e |----3-----2-----0----
B |----0-----3-----0----
G |----0-----4-----0----
D |----0-----4-----2----
A |----2-----2-----2----
E |----3-----------0----
       G     Bm    Em

Intro tab

Complete intro tab (that I play) looks like this:

 e |------2--------2--------2--------2--------|-
 B |------3--------3--------3--------3--------|-
 G |------2--------2--------2--------2--------|-
 D |---0--------0--------0--------0-----------|-
 A |--------------------------------------0---|-
 E |------------------------------------------|-

  -|-------------------------------------------------|-----
  -|-------------------------------------------------|-----
  -|-----0-----------0----------0--------------------|-----
  -|-----0--------0--0----------0--------0-----------|-----
  -|--------1--2--------1--2-------1--2--------------|-----
  -|---3----------------------3-------------3--2--1--|--0--
       G

  -|----0-------------0-------------2----------0----0-----|---2---
  -|----0-------------2-------------3----------0----2-----|---3---
  -|----0-------------0-------------2----------0----0-----|---2---
  -|----2-------------2-------------0----------2----2-----|---0---
  -|----2-------------0------------------------2----0-----|-------
  -|----0--------------------------------------0----------|-------
        Em            A7            D          Em   A7        D

How to practice the G-riff

G-chord finger position

e |----3---- <-- Pinky
B |----0----
G |----0----
D |----0----
A |----2---- <-- Middle finger
E |----3---- <-- Ring finger
       G    

Riff Exercise #1

First, practice this – which keeps the left hand entirely still the entire time (focus on the up- and down-strum alternating with the right hand).

e |----3----   ------------------------------------------
B |----0----   ------------------------------------------
G |----0----   ------------------------------------------
D |----0----   ---------------0--0--------------------0--
A |----2----   ---------2--2--------2--2--------2--2-----
E |----3----   ---3--3--------------------3--3-----------
                  D  U  D  U  D  U  D  U  D  U  D  U  D

Riff Exercise #2

Second, practice this – only difference is how you change your 5th fret note with index and middle finger.

e |----3----   ------------------------------------------
B |----0----   ------------------------------------------
G |----0----   ------------------------------------------
D |----0----   ---------------0--0--------------------0--
A |----2----   ---------1--2--------1--2--------1--2-----
E |----3----   ---3--3--------------------3--3-----------
                  D  U  D  U  D  U  D  U  D  U  D  U  D

Riff Exercise #3

Third, add the final walkdown to that leads you into the E-minor chord which transitions you out from the riff.

e |----3----   ------------------------------------------------------0----
B |----0----   ------------------------------------------------------0----
G |----0----   ------------------------------------------------------0----
D |----0----   ---------------0--0--------------------0--------------2----
A |----2----   ---------1--2--------1--2--------1--2-----------------2----
E |----3----   ---3--3--------------------3--3-----------3--2--1--0-------
                  D  U  D  U  D  U  D  U  D  U  D  U  D  U  D  U  D  U

Riff Exercise #4

Finally, if desired, on some of the up-strums you can play some of the middle strings. This lets the riff sound more “strummy”, if this is the sound you want.

e |----3----   ------------------------------------------------------0----
B |----0----   ------------------------------------------------------0----
G |----0----   ------0-----------0-----------0-----------------------0----
D |----0----   ------0--------0--0-----------0--------0--------------2----
A |----2----   ---------1--2--------1--2--------1--2-----------------2----
E |----3----   ---3-----------------------3--------------3--2--1--0-------
                  D  U  D  U  D  U  D  U  D  U  D  U  D  U  D  U  D  U

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