Stop This Train Guitar Lesson

Stop This Train by John Mayer (Full Guitar Lesson with TABS)

  • 13th September 2018
  • Songs

Scroll down for full fingerstyle guitar lesson (with tab/video tutorial) of Stop This Train by John Mayer.

Stop This Train was written by singer-songerwriter and guitarist John Mayer in the mid 2000s, it appears on his hugely successful album 'Continuum' and was released 12th September 2006. It's a song we can all relate to and predominantly it's the lyrics that affect us the most, at some point we all feel somewhat lost and afraid of growing older.

Stop This Train is no. 41 on my Top 60 Fingerpicking Songs of ALL TIME list. If you've not seen the list be sure to check it out and sign up to my weekly email lesson. That way you won't miss learning any of these great fingerstyle songs.

As well as the beautiful words to Stop This Train the acoustic guitar is also wonderfully constructed. It isn't an easy song to play and the tricky right hand technique will likely take some real work to get comfortable.

John employs a percussive tap on the bass strings on beats two and four throughout the song, and at the same time as these taps he plucks other strings down with the nail of his index finger. If you've never done this before you will almost certainly find it incredibly uncomfortable and hard to get accurate at first. For that reason I strongly recommend practising and mastering this technique before moving on to learn the rest of the song.

Stop This Train Song Details:

  • Key - D major
  • Tempo - 90 bpm
  • Tuning - standard
  • Difficulty - intermediate - advanced 

Intro/Main Riff

As mentioned above, the hardest part about the song is the picking technique, so I recommend learning the right hand pattern first and practising it over and over again until you can play it well. As always, focus on accuracy over speed.

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Stop This Train Riff Guitar Lesson


For the verse of Stop This Train you'll need to have pretty large hands to play the chords that John does. You have to stretch your fingers from the 3rd fret on the low E string to the 7th on the high e. If you can't quite make it then you could just play a G chord for the four bars.

Stop this Train Guitar Lesson


There's a lot going on in the chorus of Stop This Train, with many small nuances to apply. Virtually everybody plays this song slightly differently, so please don't get too caught up and meticulous about playing every note exactly the same way I have.

Stop this Train Guitar Lesson

1st Bridge 

Just before going into the third chorus there's a quick four-bar bridge. This shouldn't be too tricky to play if you've got the picking pattern down, as you just use that pattern right through the progression.

Stop this Train Guitar Lesson

2nd Bridge 

Heading towards the end of Stop This Train we have another bridge to deal with.

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Stop this Train Guitar Lesson

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.

  1. Diane left a comment on 17th May 2019 at 5:50 pm

    Chris, loved this tutorial. I’m a singer songwriter who has written a couple of crazy hard guitar picking songs, but this one has eluded me. Thank you for breaking it down for me

    • Six String Fingerpicking left a comment on 20th May 2019 at 2:10 pm

      Thanks Diane, glad you like the lessons. Would love to hear your songs.

  2. Tanner left a comment on 24th July 2019 at 5:07 am

    Thank you so much for this. Excellent tutorial!

    • Six String Fingerpicking left a comment on 25th July 2019 at 10:29 am

      It’s a real pleasure.

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