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How to Play "The Boxer" - Simon and Garfunkel Complete Guitar Lesson



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hey everyone and welcome back to surf

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song tutorial today

brought to you by popular demand a

complete lesson on Simon & Garfunkel's

1974 classic the boxer we take you

through all the chord progressions the

finger picking patterns and also that

iconic intro got all the tabs available

for you at patreon.com slash Swift

lessons we find a ton of extra resources

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started with your lesson

I am just poor boy no my story said I

squandered my resistance for pocketful

mumbles

Sasha promising

all eyes in Jan's still man he is what

he wants to hear and disregards the rest

when I left my home in my family was no

more there boy in the company strangers

in the quiet

railway station running scared

lay low seeking out the four corners

whether I gave people go looking for the

places

they would know

line

Lila

like nah

la la la

asking only workmen's wages I go looking

for a job but I get no offers

just to come on from the whole zone

seventh and

I do declare there were times without so

lonesome that I took some comfort then

lalala

you

Linna line

line line line line line line

when I'm laying down my winter clothes

wishing I was gone going home

we're the New York City witches aren't

leading me leading me

go home

in the clearance stains a boxing and a

fighter by his tree and he carries the

minders I've ever eve of their leading

down or cutting till he cried in his

anger his she I

I mean but the fighters still remain

Linna line

Linna light

like bloodline

I love

lie lie lie

lie lie

lalala

nine line

line

the line

lie lie lie

right

learn

okay close look at the fretboard getting

started with my interpretation of Simon

and Garfunkel's the boxer

we're in standard tuning and we're going

to get started with the intersection

it's good sound like this

now real slow

okay so for easy learning we're going to

break that intro up into three different

parts part one is going to sound like

this

ok so I have my fingers stacked my

middle fingers on the 3rd fret of the G

my ring finger below that on the B

string 3rd fret and my pinky is on the

high E string 3rd fret over here on the

picking hand my thumb is designated to

the g string my pointer to the bay and

my middle finger to the high E string

though some players might prefer to use

their pointer middle and ring finger ok

but I'm going to do it this way we're

going to start off plucking the high E

string and pull in the pinky off so you

have 3 to 0 with a pool then grab that B

string after that you're going to play E

string B string g string

alright you put that together we have

okay next I'm going to ask you to take

the middle finger off you're going to

pluck zero three zero E string B string

g string you need to do that one more

time and that's part number two of this

intro

you combine it with part number one and

we have

okay and may take some brainpower to get

your middle finger to lift off that

string one more time parts one and two

together

all right now you're ready for part

number three

that was the first fret of the b-string

a seen it then grab the third fret of

the g string and pull off to the open

string then go back to the b string

first fret

combined in together parts 133

and then you're right on the a string

third fret in a C chord shape to start

the intro pattern

and outside inside pattern which we'll

get to in just a second

just like that okay fantastic now you

have the iconic intro down you're ready

to move into the verse section I have

the tab for the intro but also a chord

sheet for the whole song at patreon.com

slash buff lessons now once you keep in

mind that I'm gonna be referencing that

chord sheet as I go through this lesson

so line number one of your chord sheet

we have the chord progression C major I

am just a poor boy though my story

seldom told and that little walk down

there c c /b to a minor

with the count we have one two three

four one two three four one two three

four one two three four okay now that

you have the core progression for that

first line let's try to do some finger

picking and these are going to be

patterns that you can use throughout the

entire song you have two options both of

which have alternated bass the first one

is the outside inside pattern

it's not just like that okay so that was

a string B string D string g string

that's outside inside then your ring

finger on your fretting hand is going to

go up to a G note that's the low E

string third fret and your thumb on your

picking hand is going to follow so so

far you have that picking pattern

outside inside D string for the out then

side we're back to the B string then the

D string then the g string a B D G B D G

you practice saying that

do twice on the say

then when you get to the walk down

you're not going to include the low

e-string you're just going to go outside

inside outside inside and then the a

minor chord you'll give it the regular

pattern

okay and the tempo is pretty quick here

with this song 177 beats per minute

sure it should sound something like that

okay but you have to practice these

things very very slow okay so that

outside-inside pattern is going to sound

great throughout the entire song and

it's actually what he's playing on the

recorded track and what you can see him

playing on a lot of live performances

but the option that I enjoy best for

solo performance is basically a slight

variation to that pattern taking the

first two notes and putting them

together so then I end up with double

inside outside inside double inside

outside inside it's a little less taxing

on the arm and it breathes a little more

so that sounds like that and that's a

traditional Travis picking pattern with

the alternating bass if you apply that

to your chord progression you'll have

but notice that kept the walk down I

didn't do the double on the walk down I

left that outside inside outside inside

and then I went back to the double pick

for the a minor okay so two different

picking patterns they're basically the

same pattern just one has the double

note in the beginning on the first beat

okay now moving on to line number two of

verse one we have

okay so that was a G major chord I

started off doing my double pick now my

root is on the low E string and I like

to start off by plucking the E string

and the B string double inside outside

inside now for the next measure I like

to hit both high high E string and low E

string

so your first two measures on line two

okay then you're going to go to a G

dominant 7 okay first fret of the high E

string is included

same exact pattern that you just played

then take the pointer finger off this is

called g6

okay now we put all that together we

have

and then you go to a C major chord for

two measures

okay now moving on to line number three

this part is going to sound like this

okay so we have the basic walk down from

C to C slash B to a minor okay there I'm

going to use my outside inside outside

inside double D G B D G then go to your

G major chord double D G B D G then

really whatever version of F major you

like sometimes in live performances Paul

plays a bard F

twice sometimes he plays a F with a C in

the base

okay with no alternate and base at all

it's really your choice you can also do

a strict outside inside pattern okay so

we walk down the G chord double D G B D

G okay an F bar

okay and repeat

and now you're ready for a seer if all

right so how do you do that take the C

major chord plug the a string and the B

string and then play the D string and

the high E string then you're gonna play

a G slash B 2nd fret of the a string and

the high I'm sorry the B string third

fret so if such a cool little line there

then you're going to play an A

minor a minor 7 shape really all you

need is the first finger on the first

fret of the B string and you couple that

with the open a string ok that middle

finger is actually not doing anything

there but my muscle memory just puts it

there kind of a minor 7 shape then you

go to a G major chord and you're ready

for line number 4 of the first verse

okay moving on to line number 4 of that

first verse we have a tricky little line

here I have it probably about 95% in

terms of accuracy compared to what Paul

does in his live performances so

basically what I was able to come up

with the kind of model what he does

and that gets you back to the C major

chord 416 BC or four measures so you

start off with the G major chord get

your thumb on the low E string your

middle finger on the B string double

inside outside inside you do that again

but this time you're going to hammer

onto the D string as you pluck the low E

string just the sound of your finger

coming down should make a sound

then you play

through the pattern

alright then you're going to put your

pinkie on the D string third fret

do your double DG second fret D string

open D and then get back to the C major

chord

you

just like that one more time

you

those how I'm keeping my fingers down

and nice and close that gives me back to

my patterns

whatever variation I enjoy

congratulations you've completed the

verse

okay so fantastic you have your intro

and your verse down real quick I'm just

going to play through the verse

instrumentally and have you play along

start off with the C major chord

one two three four block

digi

g7 g6 two measures of sea

walk down line three a minor G F and C

riff G hammer

and back to see

for measures

okay so now that we have verse one down

we can apply 99% of that to verse number

two when I left my home and my family

was no more than a boy in company of

strangers and the quiet of the railway

station running scared walk it down

laying low seeking out the poor f-major

quarters where the ragged people riff

the pleased ah here's where it's

different

the last line looking for the places

only they would know

okay so looking for the places only they

would know you just got to play G major

chord double D G B D G the F major chord

double D G B D G all right watch your

roots and then finally on the C major

chord double D G B D G double Shrunk

that gets you into the chorus looking

for the bases on me whatever F chord you

want for the bass is only they would

know

all right now we're ready for the chorus

okay now you're ready for the chorus at

this point in the song you're ready to

do some strumming which is great because

it will give your arm really your hand a

little bit of time to rest from all that

finger picking so here you're going to

play a minor chord all right that was a

string

strum with the nails g-strings strum

with the nails a string strum with the

nails each string strong

then you get to go to the low e-string

you have two options here you can just

go east rum East rum East rum East rum

or you could reverse that alternating

bass yeast rum a strong be strong a

strong

okay either way you go back to the a

minor chord again

just like that then you're going to go

to the G major chord it's going to sound

like this

then you're back to picking

okay so that G major chord

that was a G major chord I got the low

e-string strum it might be you can do an

upstroke in there too if you like

then play the open a string and strong

then you play the second fret the B note

2nd fret a string and strum

then you're gonna walk up to the C major

chord open a second fret a and then back

to finger picking

for four measures

Travis style on C major let's put all

that together now one two three Lila

line line on line

Lila Lila lie

I love

I

okay just like that okay follow along on

your cord sheet we're at verse number

three fantastic we're making tons of

progress this is going to be exactly

like verse number one s can only work

men's wages I come looking for a job but

I get no offers

just to come on from

on seven and move to measures of sea

walk it down I do declare there were

times when powers F so lonesome that I

took some comfort here comes the ref

then all right then when you get to the

G major chord can you still do that riff

we can get back to the C major chord

for two measures before going into your

instrumental section okay moving on to

the instrumental break this is the only

section that during my demonstration I

messed up on I actually forgot a measure

of F major just as a disclaimer I'll be

sure to note that when we get there I

will note that this is basically the

same progression as verse number two in

fact there was supposed to be another

verse on the original recording but they

decided to go for an instrumental break

instead and I'm glad that they did so

nonetheless I'll take you through it

anyhow we have the C major chord two

measures the walk down a minor

the g-major chord for for solid measures

just

same thing over and over okay so a

little different than the verse then

back to the C chord

see and walk it down again then you're

going to go to the G

the f

the F this is what I forgot and then go

back to the C major chord for the riff g

f c root then you're ready for the next

chorus okay moving on to verse number

four this is basically going to be the

same as verse number one and three but

there'll be an extra chord change there

okay I'll be able to point that out to

you once we get to it starts off the

same way then I'm laying out my wind to

clues walk and wishing I was gone go in

G home

we're the New York City eg-6 winters

I'm bleeding me to measures a/c and

here's where changes an E minor chord

comes in

okay for leading me are you're gonna

pluck that the same way you would like a

G chord the E and the B string D string

g string E string again B string D

string g string double inside outside

inside okay so coming from that C chord

leading me

leading me

then do it to the a minor chord now

change your route to the a string two

times on the a minor then you're going

to the G chord going home

with that very cool live Paul Simon riff

there all right let's play through verse

number four then I'm laying now my

winter clothes and wishing I was gone

going home

we're the New York City winters on

bleedin me great free minor beating me

go win rip home

you

okay then you have four measures of C

major chord

where I like to mix together my two

different styles of finger picking

alright then we're on to verse number

five okay this one looks to me like it's

going to be the same as verse number two

in the clearance stands a boxer and a

fighter by strain and he carries the

does the same thing every glove that

laid him down or opera here I like to

throw in a little bit of strumming cut

in he cried out in his anger and his

shame

okay so how do I do that I got the C

major chord I'm going route strong

change the route to the G route strong

roots done root strum or cut into he

cried

is then you can do the walk down tang

then the a minor chord Shan

then when you get back to the G chord

you're gonna get back to finger picking

I am leaving I am leaving but the

fighters still read and then you get to

the C chord for the riff maze a little

see riff there

the pattern over G the pattern over F

and then

your C chord style forget into the

chorus double D G B D G root strong gets

you into the final chorus which is extra

extra long okay moving on to the final

chorus on your chord sheet this is

labeled outro it's a little bit

different than the other choruses in the

song I'm going to demonstrate it sounds

like this a 1 2 d lyla lie lie lie lie

lie lie lie

like all it seems so far

lalala

a lot

but as you see it never walks back up to

the sea so we need to treat that G chord

a little differently

you're gonna go low e-string strum open

a string strum 2nd fret a string it's a

B note strum then go back to the low E

string that third fret low E string the

G note root and strum before going back

to the a minor chord

it sounds beautiful

okay so that gets you back to a minor

you're going to repeat that eight times

Lila lie

line line line line

my my

love

okay I won't go through all those with

you just know on the ninth repetition

you're going to resolve back to see Lyle

I line the line

night

learn a line line line line

ah then you get into the closing chords

9 - patterns are recei then walk it down

a minor

four measures of G

if they're high e-string if you want

then go to the C chord two measures

walk it down

the G

now two measures of F's this is the same

as the instrumental section finger to

the see red I'm on the G I'm on the F

and then now it's time for the very end

where I've included a nice folk style

end in Secord double D G B D G then on

the C chord pluck the a string and the B

string together then do the same thing

for the G chord but move your thumb up

to the low E you can hit a couple of

extra strings in that upstroke with the

middle finger kind of paintbrush in the

strings then go back to the C chord to

resolve a great way to end this classic

tune okay everybody you have everything

you need to perform Congrats our level

one thanks so much for checking out this

lesson on Simon and Garfunkel's the

boxer I hope you enjoyed it thanks so

much to everyone who's putting your song

requests at Swift buttons calm I really

appreciate the guidance and thank you to

my supporters at patreon.com slash Swift

lessons if you're enjoying the extra

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Swift guitar lessons in Philadelphia

saying happy picking