If your into the blues as much as I am your going to Love this Sweet Home Chicago guitar lesson. There have been many a bluesman that have played this tune. Blues men like Robert Johnson, Freddy King, and Eric Clapton. After doing a deep dive into Eric Clapton’s style of Sweet Home Chicago. I decided to put together this guitar lesson.
What will be covered in “how to play Sweet Home Chicago”. In How to Play Sweet Home Chicago you will learn:
- Sweet Home Chicago Chords
- Rhythm Section
- Intro to Sweet Home Chicago
- Bonus Video- Tutorial
- Sweet Home Chicago Tab PDF
- And Sweet Home Chicago Lyrics
If your ready to learn this iconic song. And one of my favorites. The Eric Clapton version of the song. Grab your guitar and lets get with it.
Sweet Home Chicago Chords
In most blues songs the chords are dominant 7 chords. The chords in Sweat Home Chicago are: E B7 and A7. There is a boogie woogie rhythm played through out the song. The chords that are being played are the E5 chord, A5 . Then B7 and A7. Which if this is new to you no problem. Look at the Chord Diagrams below. Click the link if you need to know how to read a chord chart.
Intro to Sweet Home Chicago
This is a great intro. That can stand only. It’s that good. The intro starts on the 3rd string.
We are going to start on the G string. The third string at the 7th fret. Hammer onto the 9th fret. Then pick the open E string. The 6th string, and then strike the top two strings. Just pick upwards on the high E string. And the B string. Which is string 1 and 2.
Then you are going to pick the third string again at the 7th fret. And Hammer onto the 9th fret again. Then with your first finger on the 7th fret. Still on the G string. Pick the G string. With your third finger fret the 9th fret of the D string. The fourth string. Then using your first finger on the 7th fret of the D string. Play the D string, and then slide to the 5th fret. Still on the D string. And end on the A string. The 5th string. At the 7th fret of the A string.
After that your going to pick up two times on the first two strings. Like before two beats of the high E and B strings. Play them open and at the same time.
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Perform the Slide
Using your second finger and your third finger. Place them on the G and E string. Starting at the 7th fret. Place your second finger on the G string. And your third finger on the High E string. Then you are going to pick and slide those two fingers up to the 9th fret.
Then you are going to hybrid pick. If you are not familiar with hybrid picking. Let me explain. Use your pick on the G string. To pick the G string. Then at the same time you are going to use your third finger to pick the high E string.
If this is your first go at hybrid picking it might take a minute to get used to it. So just practice picking those two strings with your pick and finger. Until it becomes easier.
Now your going to pick both strings and slide to the 9th fret. Pick and go back to the 7th fret. Like I say if you have problems with this. Break it down. Go slow and before you know it. You will be hybrid picking the slide.
The Up Strum
Next Your going to pick up one time. On the top two strings. Like before, but only strum up one time. If you listen to the record. This song is at a fast tempo. But the good thing about music and playing the guitar. Is that you can make it your own. Slow it down so that it is manageable for you.
The next lick is at the 8th fret of the B string. Place your first finger on the 2nd string at the 8th fret. And pick the B string. Then place your 2nd finger on the G string at the 9th fret. And pick the G string. You play this lick two times. Then using your first finger on the 9th fret of the D string. Pick the D string. And slide to the 7th fret and then the 5th fret. Ending on the 7th fret of the A string.
When you slide from 9 to 7 to 5. You pick the D string when your fretting the 9th fret. And then slide up to the 7th fret. And slide again to the 5th fret. Picking the D string once your fretting the 5th fret of the D string.
After that Pick the Top two strings again. Just like before. Then slide again. The slide that we just covered. Remember it starts at the 7th fret. Fretting strings G and the high E string. And strum up one last time on the B and E string. After the slide move.
Playing the Second Part of the Opening Licks in Sweat Home Chicago
Now move up to the first fret. Your going to play the open A string. Then using your first finger. Placing it at the first fret of the A string. And pick the A string. Next with your second finger. Fret the second fret of the A string. Again pick the A string.
Repeat that lick again, But this time end it by playing the open E string. The 6th string.
Make sure you use the correct fingers. As the timing of this is 123 123.
A Cool Lick
Then we have the coolest lick of the whole song. That’s strictly my opinion. But Once I show you it I’m sure you would agree.
The lick starts at the 6th fret on the G string. Place your second finger there. And pick the G string. Then with your first finger fretting at the 5th fret of the B string. Pick the B string. Going back to the G string. With your second finger still fretting the 6th fret. Pick the G string again.
After that on the high E string. Fret the 7th fret. And then pick the 1st string. Move up half a step to the 6th fret, picking the E string again. Then move up half a step to the 5th fret. Still on the E string and pick the string.
Then with your pinkie fret the 8th fret of the B string. Pick the 2nd string. With your first finger still at the 5th fret of the 1st string. Pick the high E string. And place your pinkie one more time at the 8th fret of the B string and play the note.
Use your first finger to fret the 5th fret, of the B string. Place your second finger at the 6th fret of the G string. Play the G string and end this great lick back on the 5th fret of the B string. Then there is a walk down to the first verse.
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Sweet Home Chicago Walk Down to the Verse
At the end of the intro to Sweet Home Chicago there is a walk down. And it sounds really cool. And fits perfectly in the song. But it really is simple to play. To do this you will need to use hybrid picking again. Which was discussed earlier. We are going chromatically walk down to the B7 chord.
With your pick picking the A string. And your finger picking the first string. The E string. Start at the 5th fret. Fretting the note. Picking the A string and the E string at the same time. Then move up a half step to the 4th fret. Place your finger there. And pick the A and the E string again. Move to the 3rd fret. Use your finger and fret at the 3rd fret of the A string. Pick the A and E string. Ending with the B7 chord. And then the Verse begins.
Sweet Home Chicago Chords
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After the intro of the song. You go right into the rhythm. Which is a boogie woogie in the key of E. If your not sure what that is. Don’t worry I’m going to break it all down for you. Like everything in guitar break it down into bite size pieces. So that it is manageable for you. Once you learn that one little part. Go to the next part. And before you know it. You will have the whole enchilada.
The chords that are played are the E5, A5 and D5. Here is how to play those chords. You first start with your first finger on the A string. Which is the 5th string. You are going to fret at the second fret on the A string. With your picking hand you are going to play strings 5 and 6 at the same time.
You are going to pick those strings two times.
Then using your third finger fret the 4th fret. Still on the A string. You pick the E and A string at the same time. And two times through. So you are counting 4 beats. 1 2 3 4. You are playing two beats with your first finger fretting the 2nd fret on the A string. Then you are placing your third finger down at the 4th fret and playing two beats.
Example: one two – three four, one two – three four, one two – three four, one two – three four. Then you go to the A5.
Related Article: Buddy Guy Inspired Guitar Lesson.
Playing the A5 in a Boogie Woogie
What’s great about playing the A5 is. You are playing the same thing as the E5. But you are moving everything down a string. So now you are fretting the second fret of the D string. Place your first finger on the second fret on the D string. Use the same rhythm 12 34. Also use your third finger to fret the 4th fret of the 4th string.
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The Classic Turnaround
Coming off of the E5 chord there is a turnaround. The turnaround can be played at the beginning of a song. In the middle of the song. Or to end the song. The turnaround is a great musical motif. After playing the E5 the next chord is the B7. It is played for a measure. Then the A7 is played for a measure. Ending on the E chord. Just one beat of the E chord.
After that there is a Riff that is played in a lot of blues songs. And the riff starts on the 4th fret of the G chord. Use your second finger to fret the G string. And at the same time fret the B string. Use your first finger for that. So you are fretting the 3rd and 2nd strings.
What you want to do is slide up to those frets. From around the 2nd fret. So keep your fingers in the same position. Then move down or back towards the headstock. So that your second finger is lined up on the second fret. And your first finger should be at the first fret. Now practice sliding up to the fourth fret.
You want to pick the B and G string at the same time. And then slide ending with your 2nd finger on the fourth fret. This may be a little tricky. So practice it until you concur that and move to the next part.
Which is the rest of the turnaround. After sliding to the 4th fret you are going to walk down to the first fret. In essence you are playing the 2nd and 3rd string. In the same position and going from fret 4 and walking down. 4, 3, and 2. And ending with the B7.
Bonus Video- Tutorials
All together – Pick the B and G string & slide to the 4th string. Keeping your fingers locked in position. Move to the 3rd fret on G and 2nd fret on the B string. And picking both strings. Then move down again, to frets two and one respectfully. Picking both strings when you get to each fret.
This is done all together and is fluent. The turnaround ends with the B7 chord. Then You are back to the E5. Where it starts over again. This is why it is a turnaround. This could go on indefinitely. And you are back to square one with the E5, and so it goes,
Sweet Home Chicago Lyrics
Come on, Baby don't you want to go Come on, Baby don't you want to go Back from that land of California To my sweet home Chicago Come on, Baby don't you want to go Come on, Baby don't you want to go Back from that land of California To my sweet home Chicago Two and two is four Baby, Four and Two is eight Come on now darling you don't really want to make me late I'm Crying Please Baby don't you want to go Back from that land of California To my sweet home Chicago One and One is Two, two and two is four I'm heavy loaded, i'm looking I've gotta go I'm Crying please, Baby don't you want to go Back from that land of California To my sweet home Chicago Come on, Baby don't you want to go Come on, Baby don't you want to go Back from that land of California To my sweet home Chicago Come on, Baby don't you want to go Come on, Baby don't you want to go Back from that land of California To my sweet home Chicago
Sweet Home Chicago Tab PDF
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Eric Clapton Version Sweet Home Chicago Key
Sweet home Chicago Eric Clapton version is in the Key of E. The chords in the song are the E5 A5 B7 and A7. With a lot of cool riffs and licks sprinkled in the mix.
Sweet Home Chicago-Robert Johnson Chords
Robert Johnson Chords to Sweet Home Chicago are E5 A5 B7 and A7.