How to Play Big Yellow Taxi by Joni Michell

Joni Mitchell, Canada’s queen of folk/pop first wrote this song and performed it in the 1970’s. However, it wasn’t until recent renditions from well-known artists such as Counting Crows that the song slowly regained its popularity.

Interestingly, this song requires a special tuning of your guitar in order to pull-off. Apart from the unusual tuning, the rest of the song is pretty straightforward and should pose no problem for you. Have fun!

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p.s.: Towards the end of the video tutorial, there is a special performance by Mark and his wife, Marla. Enjoy…

Highlights of Joni Michell’s Big Yellow Taxi

1 – Big Yellow Taxi is a really fun song to play especially if you are still new to the guitar. This song can do wonders in helping you practice and learn the barre chords. You might want to spend some time to build up your finger strength and endurance prior to tackling this song.

2 – Alternate tuning. The song is played with an open D tuning. If you find that the alternate tuning causes your guitar to become unplayable, you might want to consider using a capo on the 2nd fret so that it reduces the strain on your instrument.

3 – Practice with a metronome. The strumming patterns in this song are somewhat repetitive and straightforward. Once you can play along to one of the sections and manage to keep time with a metronome, the rest of the song is just a cakewalk.

4 – As with learning new things, I highly recommend you break up the song into smaller chunks for better learning. For example, you should tackle the introduction first before moving on to the verse and so forth. Once you can play the individual parts with ease, you can then combine the pieces you had learnt and form up the full song. This is a tried and proven method that others can attest to.

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