Neon

Neon by John Mayer (Live Version) Full Guitar Lesson with TABS

Neon was written in the mid to late '90s and first appeared on John Mayer's 1999 EP 'Inside Wants Out'. However, the song first became well-known on his hugely successful album 'Room for Squares' (2001). 

In this lesson we're going to be looking at the live version of the Neon, taken from his 2007 live album 'Where The Light Is'.

This is not a song for beginners by any means - there's a huge amount to learn and so many techniques you need to know. So buckle up and prepare yourself for a little frustration as you learn to master this brilliant, but very complicated, song.

Neon Song Details: 

  • Key - C minor
  • Tempo - roughly 106 bpm
  • Tuning - drop C (C, A, D, G, B, E)
  • Difficulty - advanced

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The Intro:

Let's start off with the jaw dropping intro John Mayer does on the live recording of Neon.

If you're up for a guitar challenge then this is it, it really is very hard and will require a lot of practise and technical ability. There's so much great stuff to learn here that you can rob and put in your own playing.

Intro (part 2):

It doesn't get much easier here I'm afraid.

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The Riff:

The majority of the song is played between the thumb and first finger. You will likely find this a very bizarre technique if you've not done it before.

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Pre-Chorus 

Don't feel as though you have to play this note-for-note, as I'm sure John Mayer mixes things up every time he plays Neon. 

Chorus:

Some pretty awkward chords for the chorus here. Find which fingerings work best for you and watch your timing as you work your way through the progression. 

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Bridge:

Finally we have the bridge to look at. Watch out for the crazy triplet runs at the end!

If you want to make sure that you're really on the right track with fingerpicking, then try one of my fingerstyle guitar courses - find out more here.

If you have any questions or want to share anything at all, then please leave a comment below.

I hope you've found this lesson useful and thank you for reading.

Recent Song Lessons

  1. Charlie left a comment on 15th November 2018 at 12:59 pm

    Hey dude!

    Thank you so much for this lesson and especially for the intro & bridge parts from the live version. Your lessons are the best out of the lessons I’ve seen so far for this song. I’ve managed to get the main riff, pre-chorus and chorus down ages ago allready and hats off to you for making the lessons on the most difficult parts.

    • Six String Fingerpicking left a comment on 15th November 2018 at 2:26 pm

      Hey thanks Charlie, really happy that you like the lesson. I’m glad I put the extra effort in to do the intro/bridge, was bloody hard! Enjoy.

  2. Charlie left a comment on 27th November 2018 at 3:45 pm

    Hey Chris

    Thought I’d ask how are we suppose to reach up to the 17th fret on an acoustic without a cutaway as an attempt to do that would be tough to do?

    • Six String Fingerpicking left a comment on 27th November 2018 at 6:41 pm

      Hey Charlie,

      The honest answer is ‘with great difficulty’. You’re going to have to take you’re hand virtually right off from the fretboard, up from underneath the neck and reach across.

      It’s bloody hard but you can do it! If you watch John Mayer play it you can see he’s not using a cutaway.

  3. Imtesal left a comment on 22nd January 2019 at 2:05 pm

    A great tutorial it is wanted to know is the right hand pattern on the main riff exactly the way john does? Does it include the slap notes on the e string (c string)?

    • Six String Fingerpicking left a comment on 24th January 2019 at 12:09 pm

      As far as my ears tell me it’s really very close. But really you need to decide for yourself using your ears.

  4. Aleksa left a comment on 31st March 2019 at 7:22 pm

    Best tutorial!!!
    I start learning and its so hard but i van do it!
    Thanks for tutorial.

    • Six String Fingerpicking left a comment on 3rd April 2019 at 10:14 am

      Thank you! Just keep going and you’ll get it.

  5. Daniel left a comment on 21st April 2019 at 4:32 am

    Hi,

    Great tutorial, and so awesome that you just put it out there… Can I make a contribution to your site?

    Thanks!

    • Six String Fingerpicking left a comment on 23rd April 2019 at 1:53 pm

      Thanks Daniel, glad you like the lessons.

      I don’t have a donation offering I’m afraid but thank you so much for wanting to, it’s very kind and I truly appreciate you appreciating my work.

  6. Dante left a comment on 16th June 2019 at 2:33 am

    Awesome tutorial, best I’ve found. Same feeling towards your top 60 list. For the chorus part, what should I do with the 5th and 1st string? When I’m strumming with the chords given in the tab, hitting either of those two open strings just kills the sound.

    • Six String Fingerpicking left a comment on 25th June 2019 at 6:27 pm

      Hey Dante, really happy you like the lesson, it’s such a great song! You have to mute those two strings out with your fretting hand or yes, it will sound horrendous.

  7. Don left a comment on 21st June 2019 at 4:46 pm

    When I sign up for the course is there downloadable PDFs of these songs that will be available?

    Don

  8. Hayley left a comment on 11th July 2019 at 12:22 pm

    You’re absolutely right that you need to get into Mayer’s technique to make this work. Otherwise, it’s a lost cause. Thanks for the amazing lesson.

    • Six String Fingerpicking left a comment on 16th July 2019 at 11:09 am

      Yeah, I find it really helps me to get the groove right. Some people do it well using three or four fingers but often times it’s just not quite right.

  9. Matt S left a comment on 28th July 2019 at 8:11 pm

    Fantastic lesson. Thank you for putting all of this together and making it so easily available. It’s much appreciated!

    • Six String Fingerpicking left a comment on 29th July 2019 at 6:37 pm

      It’s a real pleasure Matt.

  10. ChiemP left a comment on 3rd August 2019 at 2:07 pm

    Thank you so much for the videos!! They are really helping so much. They are easy and understandable and well put together. Thank You!!

    • Six String Fingerpicking left a comment on 5th August 2019 at 11:16 am

      Thank you, I’m really happy you like the lessons

  11. Steve left a comment on 26th September 2019 at 1:21 am

    What happened to the inline tab? They are all getting locked up and it seems to have coincided to be the same time I signed up for your newsletter. Before I could watch the videos and look at the tab for each section.

    • Six String Fingerpicking left a comment on 26th September 2019 at 11:40 am

      Yeah, the tabs are all transitioning into being legally published. If I don’t do it the site could get shut down and I’d probably have a big fine to pay. I’m not willing to take that risk, and it’s only right to respect artists’ work.

      • Steve left a comment on 27th September 2019 at 2:38 am

        That makes sense, the timing was really suspicious but it seems purely coincidental. Your site has great content, you deserve to get paid for all this work! I have to say $8 seems a bit high for a single song tab. That works out to $480 for your top 60. Is there a subscription that gets me all songs? I’m more interested in the songs with the awesome videos than the lessons at this point.

        Either way, I wish you the best. Also, I have to say your guitar and playing sound amazing. If you had solo guitar up on Spotify I would totally listen to you!

        • Six String Fingerpicking left a comment on 28th September 2019 at 2:12 pm

          Yeah, the timing there is just a coincidence. The tabs are expensive I agree, I wish I could make them cheaper but the pricing has nothing at all to do with me, it’s all up to the publishers, I guess their margins are high. If it were up to me they’d be around $3 each but I can’t legally sell them on my own. Currently you can’t bulk buy them but if you sign up to Music Notes they do offer some discounts on their sheet music.

          It’s all annoying I know, but I want to stay within the law.

          Thanks a lot Steve, all the best.

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