Introduction: How to Play "Hold Back the River" - James Bay
Once you get the plucking part down then you can play the whole song! With a simple number system, and an alternative method that is much easier, this lesson will make "Hold Back The River" an easy and fun song to play.
Check out the YouTube video above for reference, as 4 easy steps will cover the whole song.
Step 1: The Intro/Verse Riff (Chords)
The intro riff is plucked with two fingers, personally I use my thumb and index.
There are five chords to be plucked, each with only two strings being used. For the sake of simplicity, I'll name them by number.
Step 2: The Intro/Verse Chords (Order)
1... 2, 3... 4, 5... 4, 3... 4, 5... 4, 3.... B
Index: A/2nd Fret
Ring: D/4th Fret
Pinky: G/4th Fret
Middle: B/2nd Fret
Step 3: The Chorus
Asus4: Ring: D/2nd Fret // Pinky: G/2nd Fret
E: Middle: A/2nd Fret // Ring: D/2nd Fret // Index: G/1st Fret
Hold back the river, let me look in your eyes. Hold back the River so I...
Can stop for a minute and see where you hide, hold back the river, hold back...
Step 4: Alternative for Verse
Instead of plucking while you sing, you can strum on open strings and make it much easier for yourself.
While strumming open low E, you move around the A string.
With Open E
Index: A/7th Fret --- Index: A/9th Fret --- Ring: A/11th Fret
With Open A
Index: D/9th Fret --- Ring: D/11th Fret
The same order as before:
1... 2, 3... 4, 5... 4, 3... 4, 5... 4, 3... B