How To Play ‘Landslide’

“Landslide” by Fleetwood Mac, specifically the soulful strinabsolutelygs of Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham, has struck a chord with generations of listeners. If you’re reading this, it’s probably because you’ve been humming it to yourself and thought, “Hey, wouldn’t it be cool to play this on my guitar?”

Well, you’re absolutely right. Let’s dive in and learn how to serenade like Stevie and Lindsey!

Why “Landslide” Is A Guitarist’s Gem

The Essence of Fingerpicking

The beauty of “Landslide” lies in its simplicity. The fingerpicking style used in this song is straightforward, making it a great intro to the world of fingerstyle guitar. Once you get a hang of the patterns, you’re going to feel like a fingerpicking prodigy!

The Chords Are Friendly

The song primarily revolves around three chords: C, G, and D. That’s it! So, if you’ve been playing guitar for even a little while, you probably already have these chords under your belt.

Emotional Resonance

There’s a raw, emotional vibe to “Landslide.” When you play it, you’re not just strumming chords, you’re telling a story. This means that even as a beginner, you can convey a lot of emotion with this song.

Basic Chords to Get You Started

Let’s dive into the basics. These are the primary chords you need to familiarize yourself with:

C Major

  • Index finger on the 1st fret of the B string.
  • The middle finger on the 2nd fret of the D string.
  • Ring finger on the 3rd fret of the A string.
  • Strum from the A string down.

G Major

  • Index finger on the 2nd fret of the A string.
  • The middle finger on the 3rd fret of the low E string.
  • Ring finger on the 3rd fret of the B string.
  • Pinky finger on the 3rd fret of the high E string.
  • Strum all the strings.

D Major (or D7 if you’re feeling spicy)

For D Major:

  • Index finger on the 2nd fret of the G string.
  • The middle finger on the 2nd fret of the high E string.
  • Ring finger on the 3rd fret of the B string.
  • Strum from the D string down.

For D7 (adds a bit more tension):

  • Index finger on the 1st fret of the B string.
  • The middle finger on the 2nd fret of the G string.
  • Ring finger on the 2nd fret of the high E string.

The Fingerpicking Pattern: Making Magic with Your Fingers

Now, this is where the magic happens. “Landslide” is all about that iconic fingerpicking pattern.

Starting with the C Chord

Begin with your C major shape. With your thumb (T), pick the A string. Using your index finger (I), pick the D string. With your middle finger (M), pick the G string. So, it goes: T, I, M. Then reverse it: I, T.

That’s the basic pattern! And guess what? This same sequence works for the G chord too! Just remember to start on the low E string for G.

Transition to D

When transitioning to the D chord, you’ll change things up a bit. Starting on the D string, go: T (D string), I (G string), M (B string), then reverse: I, T.

Bringing It All Together

A basic sequence of the song goes: C, G, D, back to G. Practicing this transition smoothly is the key. The fingerpicking pattern remains relatively consistent, with minor changes as you shift chords.

The Lyrics and Emotion

Guitar playing isn’t just about getting the chords and pattern right, especially for a song as heartfelt as “Landslide.” Once you’re comfortable with the chords and fingerstyle pattern, sing along. Dive into the lyrics, understand the emotion, and convey it as you play. After all, the best guitar performances are those that touch the soul.

Advanced Tips: Elevating Your Landslide Performance

Add Some Variation

Now that you’ve gotten the basics down, how about mixing it up a bit? Instead of sticking rigidly to the pattern, try experimenting. Maybe change the speed or add a little flair by throwing in some hammer-ons and pull-offs in between the chords. These little touches can make the song sound fresh every time you play.

Transitions are Key

While “Landslide” is simple, the beauty lies in the smooth transition between chords. Focus on making your chord changes seamless. This will give your performance a polished feel and let the emotion of the song flow uninterrupted.

Dynamics Make a Difference

Remember, it’s not always about playing louder or softer but understanding when to do which. As you play through “Landslide”, listen to the original track and pay attention to the dynamics. Notice how Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham build up the song and then let it breathe. Try to emulate that in your playing.

Importance of Tuning for “Landslide”

Accurate Tuning Matters

Just a heads up, if you’re playing along with the original track, you might find your guitar sounding a bit off even if you’re nailing the chords. That’s because the original recording is slightly flat of the standard pitch. It’s not a whole half-step down; it’s just a bit flat. So if you want to play along with the track, you’ll need to tweak your tuning a tad. But if you’re performing solo or with friends, standard tuning works perfectly.

Use a Tuner

Especially for beginners, always use a tuner. Even if you have a good ear for music, a tuner can help you nail the perfect pitch. There are plenty of tuner apps available for smartphones nowadays, so there’s no excuse!

Making The Song Your Own

Experiment with Tempo

“Landslide” is inherently a slow, soulful song. But there’s no rule against jazzing it up. Try playing it at a faster tempo or maybe even slowing it further down for an even more soulful rendition.

Personal Touches

Throw in a personal touch. Maybe add a little riff in between verses or change the fingerstyle pattern for a verse. As long as you maintain the soul of the song, feel free to make it your own.

Play Along with Other Instruments

Guitar isn’t the only instrument that can shine in “Landslide.” If you have friends who play other instruments, collaborate! A soft drum beat or a melodious violin can add layers to the song, making it even more enchanting.

Video: How To Play Landslide

Wrapping Up

Learning to play “Landslide” on the guitar can be an incredibly rewarding experience. Its simplicity makes it approachable for beginners, while its depth offers a canvas for more experienced players to showcase their skills and emotions.

Keep practicing, and remember that playing the guitar is as much about feeling as it is about technique. So, immerse yourself in the song, feel its rhythm and emotion, and let your fingers dance on the strings. Before you know it, you’ll be playing “Landslide” not just with your hands, but with your heart. Happy strumming, and may your guitar journey be ever joyful! 🎸