Heart of Gold Guitar Lesson

Learn to play Heart of Gold on guitar with this song lesson! It provides an ideal opportunity to practice different elements such as rhythm and chord progression.

Em (E minor): Acting as the vi chord, Em adds contrast and emotional depth to a progression while providing a springboard into other chords.


Heart of Gold’s classic chord progression and melodies include simple open chords to catchy riffs – making this song an excellent way to practice fundamentals of acoustic guitar playing and practice fundamental techniques such as open chords. Furthermore, its introspective lyrics allow listeners to contemplate life’s deeper questions.

The song centers around the G major chord, serving as the tonic in G key and offering strong musical stability and stability for any chord progressions. Em (E minor) chord is used as tension chord to build anticipation while providing a change of tone that leads back to the tonic chord.

The D (D major) chord is another tension chord used as a transition from G major, adding melancholy and blues elements to a progression and often serving as a melodic hook that helps listeners reconnect with its tonic note.


Heart of Gold by Neil Young is one of his best-known songs. With its soothing acoustic guitar melody, simplistic chord progression, and introspective lyrics – it has become an instant classic that every guitarist can appreciate. Furthermore, Heart of Gold serves as an invaluable opportunity to study various elements of Young’s guitar playing style such as catchy riffs or rhythm and strumming patterns.

C minor chords add tension and melancholy to a progression while serving as a bridge to bring us back to the tonic G chord.

Down-strums provide another fascinating aspect to this song that makes for enjoyable exploration: this pattern can be found both in the intro and chorus sections, so practice may be required in order to get consistent sound and form. Listening to the original recording of this track may also give an idea of its rhythm and timing.

Guitar Techniques

Heart of Gold is an ideal song to learn on guitar, as its chord progression and rhythm are easy to master. However, some aspects can prove more challenging to master such as its unique riffs and catchy strumming patterns. By dedicating enough time to master these different aspects of the tune you can craft your own unique take on it!

To play the riffs in Heart of Gold, start off practicing them using a metronome before gradually increasing the tempo as you become more comfortable with them. Also try practising strumming patterns at slower tempos, which will help improve consistency when down-strumming and create a groove more naturally when performing live. It is also a great way to gain more experience playing open chord shapes as well as learn a full intro lick.


Heart of Gold’s soothing acoustic guitar melody and straightforward chord progression makes it easily adaptable for players of any level. In this lesson, we’ll dive deeper into Neil Young’s playing style that makes this timeless classic such as his catchy intro hammer-on lick or its unique strumming pattern and chord progressions; exploring their contributions to its overall sound.

As our starting point, we’ll begin with a basic strumming pattern composed of eighth notes and sixteenth notes in an easy two-beat rhythm, featuring down-strums and up-strums alternatingly. This basic strumming pattern can serve as the building block for more complex patterns down the road.