okay so Leonard Cohen Suzanne as he originally played it we're in the key of E for this song no kapos anywhere there are only four chords in the whole song let's look at the four chords first of all it's going to be a normal equal now your song sheet is full of sus chords don't worry about those right now we'll talk about those when we get there just look at the main course we've got e we've got F sharp minor and to play this song F sharp minor normally is about the second fret and the third finger and little finger on strings five and four at the 4th fret Leonard Cohen place that chord using fingers two and three in front of the bar now that's not very common and when you try and do it you'll realize why it's quite a stretch to do that and actually to play this song we don't need the fifth string so play F sharp minor like this bar the second fret and third finger on the fourth string at the 4th fret then we get later on you get a G sharp minor a G sharp minor is exactly the same shape as that sharp minor but two friends have and finally there's an a chord which is just gonna be an a chord okay now Leonard Cohen is very fond of setting picking patterns going and then keeping the pattern going in the same way throughout the whole song that makes them kind of cool and fun to learn so let's have a look at what picking pattern uses you let's start with the intro most of the song Suzanne is in four beats to the bar counting one two three four but the intro just to mess us up isn't six beats to the bar I'm pretty sure that he does that stuff instinctively so we can account in six is here and we're going to do this we're gonna let me play it for you slowly then we'll break it down that's counting one and two and three and four and five and six and and what's going on there is out of an E chord shape we're pinching six or two straight numbers of course then we're bringing our index finger and middle finger to the 4th and 3rd strings and setting up a pattern that's going for three four one and two and now we're going to come back to the sixth string we're going to play six followed by four three four again so far we've got this one and two three and four band now we need to create this east wall cord and we get that back continue to hold a normally cord but putting the little finger down on the third string at the second fret and on five and six and we're going to we're going to play strings three and four then take a little finger off again and play strings three and four five and six and so here is the whole of the introduction sequence because once we play that bar we just repeat it so here's the introduction sequence 1 2 & 3 & 4 & 5 six bad now we repeat it so the next thing you'd hear would be that pinch again to the sixth ring in the second string we put it back up to speed we get this and you see you'd keep playing that introduction sequence really as many times as you want to he does it three times three bars just like me have a look at it then he don't try and play Suzanne exactly the way he plays it timing wise because he does some weird things he throws in little bars of only two beats and stuff that he doesn't even realize he's doing it I'm sure it must make it really fun for the musicians who play with him but just play that intro until you're ready to start singing and when you're ready to start singing we're going to keep the same pattern going except now it drops to four beats in the bar so the pattern now becomes pinching 6 and 2 followed by fourth string third string fourth string then six four three four that's the first part of the actual vocal part one and two and three and four and and with the saw which I can't sing because he sings solo but we'll give it a go Susan takes you now the second bar is the second half of the pattern that's how you need to think of it we're going to put that little finger back down again on to the east us good and then take it off so down 4-1 and and off again for two hands and then three and four and is just six string fourth string third string fourth string so that second bar which completes the person and with the vocal from the beginning to okay now if that if that picking pattern isn't coming immediately you want to practice that because once you get that pick pattern down it stays constant pretty well through the whole of the song actually I think will say exactly through the whole of the song maybe one change on the a chord you're repeaters for the second half of the first line you can now we go to the court of F sharp minor the one we looked at at the beginning play the same pattern you can you know I hope that patterns coming down for you if it's not just keep practicing it you're not gonna repeat it again on f-sharp minor and you and now we do it again on e twice the cheese crazy but that's why to be and she now we do it on g-sharp minor remember that corner he looks through at the beginning barring at the fourth fret oranges that cow so we've done the pattern once there two bars of it but it's just it adds up to the whole pattern then we change to a and we do the pattern the same way but now we want to pinch five and one and the alternating notes are on the third and second strings instead of the fourth and third okay so we're pinching by the 1 3 2 3 then 5 3 2 3 that's the first part of it all the way from now a sus 4 is a little finger on the second string third fret play 2 3 and then take little finger often pay 2 3 and finish the final bar that pattern on a by going 5 3 2 3 so that you got just okay now that's gonna be all the different music in the whole song so now we're just gonna see how he puts it together we come back to an E chord we're gonna play once around the pattern in E you a shot Maya have no love to give then she and II gets you we and she shot Maya let the river answer that you've finished on E now at that point come back to something like the intro again after always been her lover and finishing that pattern come back to something like the intro okay he throws in a bar of a very strange length in there between the first verse and the chorus don't try and imitate it you'll get your head in the spin just but something that feels natural to you based on the intro sequence and start to sing the chorus and you want to travel with her whenever you feel comfortable with it so one example would be to play the intro sequence once coming out of the first verse and to you and then start sick at the end of the intro sequence and you before going to G sharp minor and setting up the normal pattern again for want to travel with her to travel and you and play-ay the same way we played it before back to me again once rather person that she will trust you of f-sharp minor such thing body with your and on the word mind will go back to a again I will play the intro sequence let as many times as you want to two maybe three times before starting to see and Jesus was a sailor when he walked upon the water now verse two Jesus was a sailor will play exactly the same way we played verse one and then the chorus comes back again different words this time but the chorus and you want to travel with her we'll play it exactly the same way and then there's verse three Susan that takes your hand leads you to the river we'll plane that the same way we played verse one and then the chorus at the end again different words but the same accompaniment passing and they finished the song with a return to the intro pattern he plays it twice so at the after play the intro sequence twice he will finish with one final pinch of six and two out of an equal and that will give you let occur in Suzanne played pretty well exactly the way he's playing it have fun with it

How To Play Suzanne Leonard Cohen
Tagged on:                             

37 thoughts on “How To Play Suzanne Leonard Cohen

  • July 27, 2019 at 11:31 am
    Permalink

    Thank you 🙏

    Reply
  • July 27, 2019 at 11:31 am
    Permalink

    Phenomenal lesson!!! So clear and easy to understand. Sounds exactly like Leonard Cohen's record. Well explained and demonstrated with the two screens. Thanks greatly.

    Reply
  • July 27, 2019 at 11:31 am
    Permalink

    Great tutorial… thankyou

    Reply
  • July 27, 2019 at 11:31 am
    Permalink

    I was with you until 5:45 Jerry. Im confused as to what you did there and how it fit with the previous half of the bar

    Reply
  • July 27, 2019 at 11:31 am
    Permalink

    Hmm…when I started playing it in 1967, I believe I played it in D-bass (dropped D) but that was a long time ago…and we didn't have the Internet back then. How about a lesson on how to play "The Dangling Conversation"? That one always somehow eluded me. Thanks!

    Reply
  • July 27, 2019 at 11:31 am
    Permalink

    Am I right in thinking the tab on the website isn't what's described in the video?

    Reply
  • July 27, 2019 at 11:31 am
    Permalink

    Great lesson, thank you! You have a very nice accent and a beautiful voice too :- )

    Reply
  • July 27, 2019 at 11:31 am
    Permalink

    Tried to download the PDF but was very slow then failed. Great video though.

    Reply
  • July 27, 2019 at 11:31 am
    Permalink

    Amazingly clear and concise tutorial!

    Reply
  • July 27, 2019 at 11:31 am
    Permalink

    THANKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 😀

    Reply
  • July 27, 2019 at 11:31 am
    Permalink

    Cheers well done! Love the fret cam and proper explanation

    Reply
  • July 27, 2019 at 11:31 am
    Permalink

    Nicely done, Jerry! Many Thanks to You.

    Reply
  • July 27, 2019 at 11:31 am
    Permalink

    Great lesson! Thanks so much. I have to say, using my thumb to alternate was a little easier than index and middle fingers. But I guess it all depends on your style of playing. It's a tricky little number, but once you get the fingers all rolling, it sounds nice. Leonard uses a nylon string, and he plays around with the tuning and the picking pattern. It would be impossible to play it 'exactly' like him. This is a very nice version and it's close enough to the real deal. Thanks so much for playing this song. You're patient and easy to follow. Cheers! Thumbs up!

    Reply
  • July 27, 2019 at 11:31 am
    Permalink

    Great lesson. Thanks. I prefer to use my thumb to alternate between the 6th and 4th strings. Not sure if Cohen would have done that or not.

    Reply
  • July 27, 2019 at 11:31 am
    Permalink

    merci très bon tuto, je ne parle pas anglais mais j'ai tout compris.

    Reply
  • July 27, 2019 at 11:31 am
    Permalink

    I've liked this song for awhile but I've kept on putting off learning this song because I've just been lazy. I think I should learn it now.

    Reply
  • July 27, 2019 at 11:31 am
    Permalink

    Hey Jerry. Great tutorial… I'm still as confused as Hell, but out of confusion comes clarity! About those 2/4 bars… My Leonard Cohen Anthology says the coda ("And you want to travel…") is played in 2/4, and that's immediately followed by two bars of 6/4, before the next verse starts. So that flipping between time signatures is a formal thing, although LC might make stuff up on the spur of the moment, as well!

    Reply
  • July 27, 2019 at 11:31 am
    Permalink

    I'm using standard tuning and it just doesn't sound correct . Does anyone know if his guitar is tuned differently

    Reply
  • July 27, 2019 at 11:31 am
    Permalink

    Merci Monsieur.

    Reply
  • July 27, 2019 at 11:31 am
    Permalink

    Thank you for this. You are a clear and helpful communicator and pace things well.

    Reply
  • July 27, 2019 at 11:31 am
    Permalink

    E' una canzone o un capolavoro? Capolavoro, non ci sono dubbi.

    Reply
  • July 27, 2019 at 11:31 am
    Permalink

    you're awesome!! that song is one of my favorites, thank you very much for teach it! love from chile.

    Reply
  • July 27, 2019 at 11:31 am
    Permalink

    thanks for slowing it down.  Wonderful, thank you.

    Reply
  • July 27, 2019 at 11:31 am
    Permalink

    Obviously the real version is more difficult than the one you play, my friend.
    You have a simplified pattern.

    Reply
  • July 27, 2019 at 11:31 am
    Permalink

    This is really good. Really high quality tuition. 

    Reply
  • July 27, 2019 at 11:31 am
    Permalink

    Bravo great tutorial

    Reply
  • July 27, 2019 at 11:31 am
    Permalink

    great video. i'm a self-learner so i need someone to show me very slowly how to play a new song. that's what u did on your video very nice. thank you.

    Reply
  • July 27, 2019 at 11:31 am
    Permalink

    I've loved this song for 40+ years now and am just learning to play it……..probably 39 later than I should have.
    Thank you for posting this lesson and for the (I think) unique style of photography which makes it SOOOO clear. Mind you, it doesn't let these old fingers play any swifter. 

    Reply
  • July 27, 2019 at 11:31 am
    Permalink

    Just wanted to write that I learned how to play the song from this tutorial a couple of months ago and now I play the song all the time.  This is a really great video.

    Reply
  • July 27, 2019 at 11:31 am
    Permalink

    Than you very much for bring us the secret! nice sound and soul in your voice!

    Reply
  • July 27, 2019 at 11:31 am
    Permalink

    only play please…

    Reply
  • July 27, 2019 at 11:31 am
    Permalink

    Easy to learn! Thanks for sharing. 

    Reply
  • July 27, 2019 at 11:31 am
    Permalink

    Thanks for that man..you sing it very well..love this..

    Reply
  • July 27, 2019 at 11:31 am
    Permalink

    Very well done tutorial and very accurate.

    Reply
  • July 27, 2019 at 11:31 am
    Permalink

    My hands are so puny my bar chords don't make any noise

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *