Learn Landslide on guitar
This post is a tutorial on how to play Fleetwood Mac's Landslide on guitar.
Though I've rated this tutorial to be at about a 1/10 difficulty rating, I don't want you to be misled by it. I think that it's an easy song to approach if you already have a good number of basic strumming songs, like Tugboat for example, under your belt.
I'll be showing you a fairly close transcription of Landslide, and it's best played on acoustic guitar.
What skills are required? What are the benefits to learning Landslide?
Landslide is a great song for learning fingerpicking from scratch. You'll need to have a reasonable grasp on basic chords like C, A minor, G major, and E minor for instance, though we're going to include many more chords than that. If you have about 20 songs in you already, then this song will be much easier for you to play because, chances are, you'll know the chords really well already.
The benefits to learning Landslide are even greater: By focusing on the minute movements and details required of you when you fingerpick, you are making your regular chords sound amazing.
Highly Recommended: Grab You Own Copy
For studying this song, it always helps to have your own copy ready to listen to (and pop into Capo too). That's why I always recommend downloading your own copy:
Getting familiar with Landslide
Landslide is one of those wonderful songs that captures so much truth with so little. The lyrics give me chills when I hear them. The best part about Landslide is that it manages to get better the older that you get. When I was in my 20's, I found this song a little annoying to listen to, but after getting more familiar with it and getting some winters under my belt, it got a whole lot easier to appreciate.
If you're super young, you might not appreciate this song at first, and that's okay. But to play it, I still recommend that you get super familiar with it before you start learning it. As I've mentioned many times before on this blog and my YouTube channel, being able to sing or hum any song before you start learning it will no doubt make your job learning the guitar part easier.
Of course, you could do a little score study: Why not listen to the song and read a totally awesome tab I've put together for you at the same time?
Approaching Landslide: Start with the fingerpicking pattern and then learn the chords
When I get finished with studying the score, I find that it's super appropriate to jump into the actual parts of the song. With Landslide, the most appropriate way to start is with the fingerpicking pattern, and then get into the chords.
Here's where you can find all the particular chunks on the YouTube video, (posted below for your convenience):
- Fingerpicking Pattern — 3:04
- Verse Chords — 5:52
- Chorus Chords — 8:31
Try practicing the verse next
If you have the verse chords and the fingerpicking pattern together at a moderately slow tempo, it's time to start working on the mechanics.
Don't take it fast at first. The trick is to take a little time to get used to the mechanics. In this stage, you're working on the individual finger movements in a detailed way. Think of this as a clock maker opening up a beautiful watch and making it run better. Taking Landslide fast prematurely will actually be to your detriment later. Instead, I'd say play it slower than you want to... like, really slow. This is a great step for solidifying all of the work you've done so far with this song.
Push the tempo to master the Verse
Make sure that you can play the verse note-perfectly at a slow tempo before you speed it up. Why? Well, if you speed up a mistake, it'll still be a mistake, but a fast one.
Once you have it at about 10-15 BPM faster than the record, I'd say that this is a good tempo, since you could easily play along with the recorded version of this solo at that point.
Try Practicing The Chorus Next
The chorus to Landslide is a bit tougher than the verse. The trick here is, again, to take it really slow and allow yourself some time to get used to it. Sometimes when I'm learning a new solo or piece, I like to take it slow for very long periods of time, even though in my heart I know I can play it faster. I know that's probably not what you want to hear ("I wanna play it now!"), but it actually saves time in the end and builds your technique faster.
Most troublesome chord progression: G to the D7/F#
In the chorus, the most difficult chord progression is G to D7/F#. Since many people have different fingerings with regards to these two chords, I can't comment on all of them and expect to still have a life outside of teaching (ha ha ha), but if you're using my fingerings in the YouTube video, here's a tip for you:
Slide your middle finger to the second fret of the low E string, and place your index finger on the B string first. What this does is strengthen the muscle memory of the index finger, which is (in this case) the finger that takes the longest to get to the second chord.
If The Chorus Seems Good at a slow tempo, Take It Faster!
Of course, the best part of going super slow with this or any song is that you carve out the best and most smart way to play a song. Of course, there's no need to take it slow forever. It's time to speed it up! Do it!
"I keep on hearing mutes and buzzes whenever I pluck a string. What up with that?"
If this is your first fingerpicking song ever, this is the best difficulty that you can face. Congrats!
If you're hearing mutes or buzzes, then your fretting hand is either out of position or is just not using the right amount of force. The idea then is to get even more detailed with how you are fretting the notes. Try being even more on your fingertips, and try re-positioning your fingers to be super close to being past the frets.
"I've got the mechanics at a slower pace, but how do I take it faster without it falling apart?"
Sometimes, you need to practice in a totally different way to solve the problem of speed mucking things up for you. So, for you, I ask this question: If what you're doing to speed it up isn't working, then why not try a different way altogether? I've got a couple of ideas for you: Try the Up 10 Down 5 workflow or High Edge workflow. These are very gentle ways of speeding up anything in guitar.
"How will I know if I've mastered this song?"
When you play along with the recording, you've got this song. Congrats!