Scarborough Fair

Learn How To Play Scarborough Fair

Chords and Guitar Lessons

Watch These 2 Videos

Complete song – Acoustic guitar and vocals


Originally an old folklore, Scarborough Fair was made worldwide famous by Simon & Garfunkel.

The chords of Scarborough Fair take full advantage of the II chord. By using the extensions sus2, 13 and sus4 we get a clear sense of the Dorian scale ringing through.

It would be very hard to play Scarborough Fair using different shapes than what you see in the second video in the playlist above. It is the shape and the incorporated open strings that make the arrangement.

Using a capo on fret 7, we think in the key of Am, but what you hear is Em.

You can’t change the finger style patterns or chord shapes, as they are what gives Scarborough Fair its distinctive sound.

But what you can do, is ad a 2nd guitar part, this is what you see in the first video above.

Scarborough Fair Chords

In the verse, we use all kinds of intervals from the Dorian scale, maintaining the open 5th string.

To name the chords can cause all kinds of debate, after all, they are unique due to the open strings so reading them as you would with any song, doesn’t make all that much sense.

Still, this is what they actually are, thinking in A (remember there’s a capo on fret 7!)


| A13sus4 | Dsus24 Dsus4/F# | Cmaj7 G/B ||: A13sus4 | Asus2 :||


||: A13sus4 | Asus2 | G C/E G | A13sus4 | A7sus2 |

| C | Am7 | C D | A13sus4 | Asus2 |

| A13sus4 | Asus2 | Asus2 | C | C G/B Am7 | G C/E G |

| C/E G | A7omit3 | G C/E | G C/E G | A13sus4 | Asus2 |

| A13sus4 | Asus2 :||


| A13sus4 | Dsus24 Dsus4/F# | Cmaj7 G/B | Asus2 |

Guitar Lessons

Scarborough Fair – Step 1

In order to play Scarborough Fair perfectly at 129 BPM, we have to break the arrangement down into smaller chunks and practice these on a loop at different tempos.

Go to Scarborough Fair step 1.

Scarborough Fair – Step 2

In this step, we simply increase the tempo.

Instead of playing at 100 and 110 BPM, we now play at 120 and 129 BPM. TAB loops are available for all 6 examples.

Go to Scarborough Fair step 2.

Scarborough Fair – Step 3

Let’s play the complete song!

Capo is on fret 7, think in A Dorian and play it exactly like the original along with me and a singer with full TAB.

Go to Scarborough Fair step 3.

Scarborough Fair – Step 4

In this step, we work out how to play a 2nd guitar part without a capo.

The part will only work alongside the first part and is played with a pick, rather than finger style.

Go to Scarborough Fair step 4.

Scarborough Fair – Step 5

Let’s play all 6 examples at a higher tempo.

When you can do this, you’ll be set up to play the entire song.

Go to Scarborough Fair step 5.

Scarborough Fair – Step 6

In this step, there are TAB loops with the verse chopped in half to practice to at the full tempo.

Following this, there are two complete versions of the song in the playlist to play with me and the singer.

Go to Scarborough Fair step 6.

Scarborough Fair – Step 7

Let’s practice Dorian in the same way as when we learned Aeolian and Ionian, by using the master exercise concept.

Following this, let’s play and then develop the vocal melody of Scarborough Fair.

Go to Scarborough Fair step 7.

Scarborough Fair – Step 8

In this final step, we play Dorian in three shapes. This is followed by learning the vocal melody in a higher octave.

Finally, we discover the secret to how Paul Simon writes songs, and get an example of how to do it!

Go to Scarborough Fair step 8.

Related Pages


Scarborough FairAre you going to Scarborough Fair?
Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme
Remember me to one who lives there
She once was a true love of mine

Go to Scarborough Fair lyrics.

Simon & Garfunkel

simon-garfunkel-thumbThe duo of Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel was a hugely successful American folk duo.

Their hits include Homeward Bound, Scarborough Fair, The Boxer, Mrs. Robinson, Bridge Over Troubled Water and American Tune.

Go to Simon & Garfunkel biography.


Learning how to play guitar is best done through playing and learning from songs.

The advanced songs require you to learn 7th note chords and modal scales. This will be revolutionary for your understanding of the guitar fret board.

Go to Advanced guitar course.


You can learn how to play these advanced songs on the acoustic guitar.

Angels, Baby Won’t You Please Come Home, Blackbird, Cannonball, Don’t Wait Too Long, I Shot The Sheriff, Over The Rainbow, Roxanne, Scarborough Fair, Sunshine Of Your Love, Take Me To The River, Tears In Heaven, and Wish You Were Here.

Go to Advanced acoustic songs.

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