How to Play Hey Hey, My My by Neil Young

Some songs were meant for a solo Acoustic Guitar and voice. This is one of those songs. That opening riff really grabs the audience whenever I do this in my solo gigs.

Here’s an example of a song that uses both chords and melody at the same time. So we’re not just strumming chords. It’s a really common thing for solo guitarists who have to try and make things sound interesting all on their lonesome. For beginners it might seem like it’s going to be hard, but it’s way easier than you might think.

I’ve just gone for the intro at this stage, as it’s the coolest part. And their are a lot of different moving parts all happening at the same time.

The chords are super easy. Am, G and Fmaj7. Not much to worry about there. For those of you who are familiar with my work either with the jamorama lessons or my youtube stuff, the right hand strumming side of things will be easy. So, for everyone, it’s a really good idea to master the strumming and chords part of the song first. The strums used are really cool and simple. Either the classic ‘Rock strum’ D DU UD for the Am and G (1 bar each) followed by the more funky D D DUDU. UD DUD for the Fmaj7 (2 bars)…or just play the ‘Rock strum for every bar.


Start by getting that initial chord and riff programmed. By now you should really be understanding how important it is to program before moving on….if not… you’ll simple stumble and stagger through it, never really getting it together. Take bite sized chunks and program them (play them over and over and over)…then program the next bite sized chunk…then combine them.

Note: Remember, as you move nearer to the end of the riff/pattern/progression you’re programming, that the last thing you programmed has been played less… SO you won’t have that part as well programmed. People get so impatient to finish a piece off….especially when they have most of the piece sounding pretty confident…we tend to rush through in our excitement to finish it off.

Happy playing freaks!!

How to Play Hey Hey My My by Neil Young

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  1. Andy

    Hey Mark,

    thy for your wunerful expanation. It works great.

  2. darryl skeavington

    Hello mark just learnt hey hey my my from your jamarama site did you do a follow up please great lesson by the way.

    1. Mark McKenzie Post author

      Hi Darryl, I haven’t got to that yet! But I’m working on more song lessons at the moment, which will probably include the other parts for this great song. Hopefully I’ll have those up soon. I’ll definitely post something on the blog about it.

  3. Dan White

    I can not yet manage the more complex strumming pattern, but yes, please do the rest of the tune. Thanks so much.

  4. Allan

    Hi Mark, Great song and your good to follow. Keen to carry on though when you have time.
    Have a great Christmas. Allan

  5. jef robinson

    Great song Mark, subscribe as much for new material that works acoustically as lessons. Be great to see your part 2, I couldn’t wait and found it elsewhere. I’d love to see more of the chord and melody or chords with riff worked in. The lessons work well, you break the song down into ideal learning sized parts. A complete performance at the end would help, I had never heard this song so was guessing a bit until I youtubed it.
    Nice one jef

  6. Richard Elkan

    Mark I love the way you teach guitar in your courses and have really enjoyed how much I have learnt in this last 3 months from your Jamorama guitar course as well as all your videos I would like to be able to play the whole song of Hey Hey My My I have surprisedmy

  7. Gary Wallis

    Hi Mark
    I too recently joined with a 1 yr., membership and have the same problem of not being able to open up the bonus software.
    I think your teaching techniques are great. Your lesson plan is easy to follow and I am seeing progress with my playing. Really appreciate your selection of songs to practice on. Look forward to more of Hey Hey My My

    1. Jon Coursey

      Hi Gary, I’ll get Luis in support to contact you to get that sorted out! Glad to hear you’re enjoying the lessons. More on the way soon… 🙂

  8. Kathy

    I am a subscriber to your site for about 6 months now and really enjoy your courses. Love your song choices as well. Goes so well with acoustic guitar playing. Any chance of including the music for the songs as a download? I live in my RV and sometimes do not always have internet/wifi when on the road. Thanks so much for all your great work. I too would love the whole song. Picking away, Kathy

    1. Jon Coursey

      Hi Kathy, I’m glad you’re enjoying the lessons and the song choices. They a literally just what Mark want’s to teach on the day, and most often that means songs he’s been playing while out gigging. We have a lot of fun recording them. About the music for download, did you mean like sheet music? Unfortunately we’re not licensed to do that. But if enough people wanted it we could look in to it. Keep up the playing!

  9. jim

    I like your easy style of teaching. Love to hear the rest of this songand am interested in subscribing

  10. James Lemons

    Mark, I recently bought 1 year membership in Jamorama and I think it is really great. You are a great teacher. I have not been able to open the Bonus Software. I can get Chordbook and Tuning. Could you help. Thanks!

    1. Mark McKenzie Post author

      Hi Jim, Good to hear you’re enjoying the course! About the software, I’m not sure what the issue is but I just talked to Luis our support man and he’s going to email you shortly to get this sorted. Hang in there, help is on the way!

  11. dave

    Hi Mark great lesson will try it out now

  12. Jay

    Thanks Mark!
    Love it! Sounds awesome and I really appreciate the way you teach. I went through several online courses and was honestly ready to give up when I found your course and said what the heck I’ll try one last time… I am subscribed to your course at Jamorama and am enjoying it very much. I highly recommend it. Please make a part II with the rest of this tune. I feel like my playing is really improving!

  13. Ian D Mackay

    Fabulous! Would really like to learn more of this song.
    Kind regards

  14. Mark Bridle

    Hi Mark I have watched a lot of your videos and you are the best teacher I have seen on the net,I have picked up a few cords but find it hard to put them together, I think watching you it seems that strumming my be my problem. Cheers Mark.

  15. Bunnyc

    Hey! Mark , I’m in the market for a acoustic guitar and I like the one your are playing. Please let me know the Brand and manufacture of it. If possible, where I could purchase one. By the way I live in the USA. Thank you, much appreciated. Bunnyc

  16. Bill

    Mark…. love to learn the complete song. Nice acoustic riff with western sort a sound. love it.

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