You can learn how to play 1234 by Feist!

1234 is a single from Feist which came to fame through an early iPod ad. The video lesson is a simple arrangement of how this song could be played on just one guitar.

The arrangement uses a drop D tuning. Because of this, chords played from string six must be fretted differently.

Being in a drop D tuning means that you de tune the 6th string from an E, to a D.

You must visualize the normal chord shape, replacing the root only. Simply imagine the entire shape, don’t just focus on the root note.

The verse is a simple I – I/VII – VI – IV progression which gives the track a descending feel.
The chorus uses a V – IV – V – IV progression to build ourselves up again for the verse. 

Together these two progression create a loop that drive the track forward.

The single line variation at 1:04 doesn’t sound strange since the chord progression by now is so ingrained in us, only referring to its descending pattern is enough. This is a great trick when in need of creating a breakdown section out of nothing.

When you properly go for it in the last chorus the effect is more dramatic since the difference in dynamics is more extreme.


These are the chords for the intro/verse/outro sections.

| D D/C# | Bm G |

The bridge is almost identical, only changing one chord, goes like this.

| D A/E | Bm G |

The chorus is even simpler, moving only between chord V and IV, like this

| A | G |

Drop D tuning

1234 is played in drop D tuning, this means that you lower the 6th string from an E to a D. Because of this, all chord shapes using this string will have to be modified.

Simply raise whatever you were going to do with two frets:

G chord verse/bridge – The root is on fret five rather than three. This means you can barre it from the root up to string four, using just one finger.

This creates a thick sounding chord which works well with both D and D/C# as well as D and A/E.

G chord chorus – During the chorus, the G chord looks more like an open position G. Mute the 5th string, play the root on fret five, string six.

Rhythm guitar is about attention to detail

To get the rhythm part solid, yet groovy, you need to practice to a metronome, aim to place the 2nd and 4th beat later on the click than 1 and 3, which should be on.

This style of playing creates a lazy groovier feel that goes well with the bluesy vibe of 1234.

Experiment with how much later you go and what this does to the groove.

The anticipated shuffled strums can also be manipulated in how close they are to the main strums. Experimentation is the key here.

Notice the slight difference in dynamics when the verse starts.

Aiming to be as dynamic as possible in your playing, rather than relying on pedals and gadgets will make you a better musician, so as demonstrated here, constantly adapt your strumming to the vocal.

Keep the dynamical aspects improvised, adapting to vocals and other instruments.
This type of approach is all about the right hand and will make you grow as a musician.

To never play the same thing twice will keep you in the music, an important step in order to let music come through you, rather than from you.

1234 – Lyrics

One, two, three, four
Tell me that you love me more
Sleepless long nights
That is what my youth was for

Go to 1234 – Lyrics.

Feist – Biography

As a daughter of an abstract expressionist university lecturer, Feist’s artistic path was clearly laid out with interests in dance, paint, film and music.

All these elements come together in the music video for 1234. Feist has in 2009 said that she is taking a short break before the next album will be recorded.

Go to Feist – Biography.

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