“Rose Parade” by Elliot Smith Tutorial for Guitar

In addition to being a songwriter, I’m also a music fan and a teacher. Therefore, I was happy when a longtime client approached me with the possibility of creating video tutorials and tablature for some of his favorite songs, including this one by Elliot Smith. Incidentally, they are some of my favorite songs, too.  This tutorial is fairly thorough, moves pretty slowly, and doesn’t assume a lot about your guitar skills. I hope that you’ll find it a useful tool!

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Singer/songwriter Elliot SmithIn 2004, some months after Elliot Smith’s untimely passing, I was asked to participate in a tribute concert in which musicians from the Chapel Hill, Durham, and Raleigh area performed some of Smith’s songs. It seemed like a nice way to deal with a lot of the feelings that come up when someone you admire so much passes away, and I was eager to participate. When asked what song I wanted to do, my immediate response was “Rose Parade.” Unfortunately, it was the first choice for numerous other acts, and someone had already claimed it. It was and is probably my favorite Elliot Smith song. It’s kind of amazing that the main pattern  is comprised of all major chords, yet sounds so melancholy – the ever-present riff within the pattern emphasizing the emotion. Then there are the lyrics. Imperfect, mysterious, and gritty. There’s a lot to like about this sad but beautiful song, and I hope that you’ve gleaned something from this tutorial.