This page will help you develop your understanding of how to prepare any song or piece so that you can confidently perform it – and then apply those ideas to a specific song so that you can play it with the best parts for your level on guitar.

Watch video 1 first, then video 2 that applies those ideas to Wagon Wheel. Then use the training audio underneath before finally working towards playing along with the original song.
Remember that for the original song, you’ll need to use a capo at the second fret. The training audio is in the open position so that if you don’t have a capo at home you can still work on this.

If anything’s not clear, feel free to ask us – and if you have already played this song before, consider challenging yourself with a more advanced part than you played before, and/or adding the vocals.

Perform A Song Confidently

How To Play Wagon Wheel

How to prepare this:
The first track is an instrumental with a prominent chord strummed on beat 1. Train the individual chord changes G/D D/Em Em/C C/G until you can do at least 22 in one minute or 43 in two minutes. If your chord changes are not at this point yet, do this first.
Have you done this?
Now – watching the video will have helped you identify whether you want to play:
1 Single strummed chord on beat 1 (this is an excellent part for anyone in the first year of guitar playing).
2. Fingerpicked pattern four notes in each bar (only if you attended the fingerstyle month) or
3. Fingerpicked pattern eight notes in each bar (only if you attended the fingerstyle month) or
4. Combination of fingerpicked pattern in verses and boom chak strumming in the choruses (this one is probably for those who have been playing for 1-2 years or more).
Whichever of those options you have chosen, now play along with the instrumental track below. To begin with, if it’s too fast to play the changes, you can play every other bar instead of every bar.


| G   | D   | Em  | C   |

| G   | D   | C     | C   |

When you feel comfortable playing the instrumental where you can clearly here each chord on beat 1 of the bar at the tempo above, you’re ready to put the capo on the second fret and play along with the original. Even if you find at some points that you’re not too sure where you are in the chord progression, try and stick with it and see if you can get back in. Using the audio above will acclimatise you to what the sequence feels like and it will be easier after you have done that to play along with the full band arrangement.
Bear in mind that when we play this, there won’t be banjos and fiddles and it’ll be easier – it will feel more like playing along with the instrumental.

Band arrangement

| G   | D   | Em  | C   |

| G   | D   | C     | C   |

use capo at fret 2