Magazine article Acoustic Guitar

True Colours

Magazine article Acoustic Guitar

True Colours

Article excerpt

Donovan may be best known for psychedelic pop hits like "Mellow Yellow," but he's long been a folkie at heart. For evidence, just listen to his 1965 song "Colours," with its gentle acoustic strumming and string-bass reinforcement.

"Colours" is a simple, five-verse tune, built from the I, IV, and V chords in the key of E major. Many musicians assume it's played with the cowboy chords E, A, and B. But a peek under the hood reveals the song is played in open-D tuning (DADFlAD), in the key of D major, with a second-fret capo causing it to sound a major second higher. (Accordingly, all the notation here sounds a second higher than written.)

The most difficult part of "Colours" is its intro, which features some fancy picking. Donovan decorates a single-note melody with open-string strums. …

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