Guitar lesson for

Lookin' Out My Back Door

by Creedence Clearwater Revival  •  Lesson #261

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Editor’s notes

Here’s a quick lesson for the CCR song “Lookin’ Out My Back Door” – performed fingerstyle with no capo. This is what I’d call an “easy” or “lazy” approach to this song, where I’m taking a very accessible route when it comes to the capo (not using one), fingerpicking (using an easy pattern), and key change (not bothering withit here). While not the stuff of virtuosos, this approach makes for a good campfire take on the song - which sometimes is all you need to feel the musical goodness.

I plan on eventually tackling a more thorough lesson of this song (complete with muted strumming, chord changes, a few guitar licks, etc) – but that will be for another day.

Lyrics w/ chords

** Capo 1st Fret

    [muted strumming, then...]

    A ... F#m ... D . A . E . A .

    A                            F#m
    Just got home from Illinois, lock the front door, oh boy
    D          A               E
    Got to sit down and take a rest on the porch
    A                    F#m
    Imagination sets in, pretty soon I’m singing
    D         A              E           A
    Doo, doo, doo... lookin’ out my back door

              A                         F#m
    There’s a giant doing cartwheels, a statue wearin’ high-heels
    D               A               E
    Look at all the happy creatures dancin' on the lawn
      A                  F#m
    A dinosaur Victrola, listenin’ to Buck Owens
    D         A              E           A
    Doo, doo, doo... lookin’ out my back door

        E                             D                A
        Tambourines and elephants are playin’ in the band
                  A           F#m           E
        Won’t you take a ride on the flying spoon? Doo, doo, doo...
        A                        F#m
        Wondrous apparition, provided by magician
        D         A              E           A
        Doo, doo, doo... lookin’ out my back door

    [instrumental verse w/ solo]

        [E] Tambourines and elephants are [D] playin’ in the [A] band
        Won’t you [A] take a ride [F#m] on the flying [E] spoon? Doo, doo, doo...
        [A] Bother me tomorrow, [F#m] today I’ll buy no sorrows
        [D] Doo, doo, [A] doo... lookin’ [E] out my back [A] door

KEY CHANGE - or keep using chords above after moving capo up 2 frets

        [muted strumming, then...]

        | F# . . . | E . B . | B . G#m . | F# . . . |

    B                            G#m
    Forward troubles Illinois... lock the front door, oh boy
    E               B               F#
    Look at all the happy creatures dancing on the lawn
    B                   G#m
    Bother me tomorrow, today I’ll buy no sorrows
    E         B              F#          B
    Doo, doo, doo... lookin’ out my back door


    [muted strumming => E B F# B => end]

Other notes

Standard Tuning, Capo 1st Fret

This tab shows how to play this song using a capo (positioned on the 1st fret) in standard tuning. You only need to apply a capo (and play in the key of A major) if you want to play along with the album version. Otherwise, a capo is not required. Also, let me disclaim that I’m aware CCR may have played this song without a capo, starting in the key of Bb. If you’re looking for the exact tab to play in Bb, seek elsewhere. I’m primarily concerned with creating a tab that is accessible to the masses (and playing in the key of A is certainly easier than that of Bb).

Guitar Chords Used

Here is how to play the guitar used in this song. First, the chords used in the key of A:

      A   F#m   D   E

After changing key to B, you’ll want to use these chords:

      B   G#m   E    F#

Note the Change in Key

Late in the song, note that the song modulates (changes key) up one whole step. Using the chords shown above, you’ll notice the change is from the key of A to the key of B. All chord progressions stay the same, as far as each chord’s relative position to the root. Ultimately, this change in key is by no means required when playing the song – but I wanted to make note of this for those interested in a faithful adaptation.

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