Guitar Tablature: "Michael, Row the Boat Ashore"

Learning how to play "Michael, Row the Boat Ashore" on guitar will give you a chance to try out a syncopated strumming pattern. The strum that normally occurs on beat 3 is anticipated, meaning that it actually comes half a beat early. This kind of syncopation gives the song a Latin feel. Remember, on the Dm and F chords, you don’t strum the lowest two strings (the 6th and 5th). For the C chord, don’t strum the bottom string (the 6th).

To play “Michael, Row the Boat Ashore,” you need to know how to play C, Dm, Em, F, and G chords; how to play a syncopated eighth-note strum; and the meaning of the word hootenanny.

The basic chords that make up the C family are C, Dm, Em, F, G, and Am. If you practice the A-, D-, and G-family chords, you should be able to play C, Em, G, and Am. The only two new chords are Dm and F. Once you learn these two, you have all the basic major and minor chords down pat. Listen to “Dust in the Wind” by Kansas or “The Boxer” by Simon and Garfunkel to hear the sound of a song that uses C-family chords.

Michael, Row the Boat Ashore
Michael, Row the Boat Ashore

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