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PostPosted: Tue Oct 05, 2010 6:01 pm


Joined: Oct 05, 2010
Posts: 2
The advice on here has been really helpful, thanks, but I have a specific query about one part. I've spent a long time trying to get exactly how he plays it (youtube clip refers), and the only bit that eludes me is (I think) the altered 'A' form going up the fretboard slightly just after the line 'In the shadow of the carved rock tower' in the first verse.

I can just play the standard A here and it sounds ok, but he definitely moves up the fretboard with a shape I can't quite pin down - can anyone please help with this?


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 05, 2010 8:56 pm

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If I have the right part of the song in mind, there is a slide fingering in folk typical of Arlo and other finger pickers used in an A7 (V7) cadence. Basically, you play an A7 at the second fret, slide up to bm7 then to the C, but it is just the outer interval so really, it is sixths sliding up using the second finger as a guide.

Number fingers on left hand (if right handed so left hand is fretboard hand) from index finger: 1 2 3

3: 2nd string second fret
2: 4th string second fret

1: 2nd string third fret
2: 4th string fourth fret

3: 2nd string fifth fret
2 4th string fifth fret

The second finger stays down as a guide finger on the fourth string. Play the fourth string as a bass followed by second string alternating as you move from position to position.

For extra credit, you can use that same kind of fingering and go further. Essentially, it is a simple chord scale in sixths.

Happy trails!

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 05, 2010 11:09 pm

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Thanks for that fingering Len. You just gave me a whole different outlook on something I've been playing for years.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 06, 2010 12:47 am

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Maybe ya'll will bring him out of hiding and he'll post on here. We can only hope. :)

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 06, 2010 4:21 am


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That's great, len, just what I was looking for! Thanks! :D

It's sounding great now - what a song.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 06, 2010 11:12 am

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Darkest Hour really is a great song. One of Arlo's best IMO.

There is a variation on that lick using the 5 (A) and 2 (B) strings. The same interval forms show up in Alice's Restaurant. Arlo has some favorite moves that are used in a lot of blues and ragtime styles and are worth learning. You'll find them in James Taylor songs too. They are part of what for awhile has been a vanishing art of smooth ballad finger picking. Practice moving the forms up and down the neck as harmonized scales and there you'll find some great inspiration for playing and writing. Close interval chord forms are very cool and melodic particularly when you play solo. The 3rd-in-the-bass forms are nice.

I wrote a song way back in the day using these when I was learning a lot from Arlo. For what it's worth, the video is here.

Song for Kim:

It not being a solo arrangement, some of this may be hard to pick out of the arrangement (sorry; I'm a studio 'ho).

The intervals on the A and B show up at the ends of the verses ("But they're not wrong"). The close interval 3rd-in-the-bass show up in the little sequence at the very end of the song. Like Darkest Hour (although written some years prior to it), it uses the drop-D tuning and the same forms on the G and A chords. This is the orchestral acoustic folk guitar style Arlo, James, Happy Traum and others made famous. As you can tell, these guys are my heros.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 23, 2010 8:41 pm


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Clan Montgomery here!

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 Post subject: Re: Darkest Hour [CRD]
PostPosted: Sun Aug 31, 2014 4:31 pm


Joined: Aug 31, 2014
Posts: 15
Location: Goettingen, Germany
Here´s what I hear:

Darkest Hour Arlo Guthrie

Capo 4th fret

(C) (F) (C) (F) (C)
It's the tenth of January, and I (F)still ain't (G)had no (Am)sleep.
She comes (C)waItzing in the (F)nighttime made of (G)wings.
She is (C)dressed up like a bandit with a (F)hundred (G)sparkling (Am)rings,
(C)Looking for my (F)company to (G)keep.
(F)Coming closer (G)to me, she (C)doesn't (C/B)say a (Am)word,
In the (F)shadow of the (Dm)carved rock (G)tower,
Where the (C)sounds of the night were the (F)only (G)things we (Am)heard,
(F) In my (G)darkest (C)hour.

She don't want to hear no secrets, she would (F)guaran(G)tee me (Am)that.
She (C)knows there ain't no (F)words that can des(G)cribe her.
With her (C)white silk scarves and her (F)black (G)Spanish (Am)hat,
She (C)knows there ain't no (F)way I can de(G)ny her.
Yes, her (F)blue velvet (G)perfume, (C)filling (C/B)up the (Am)night,
The (F)guards are all a(Dm)sleep that watch the (G)tower.
The (C)moonlight held her breast as she (F)easi(G)ly un(Am)dressed,
(F) In my (G)darkest (C)hour.

Her father's in his chambers with his (F)friends all (G)gathered (Am)'round,
They are (C)plotting their (F)enemy's de(G)mise.
With their (C)last detail done, they a(F)wait the (G)coming (Am)sun,
While (C)I am staring (F)at my lover's (G)eyes.
Her (F)brothers and her (G)sisters are all (C)through (C/B)for to(Am)night,
Pre(F)tending that they've (Dm)just come into (G)power,
But (C)she, far most of all, knows that (F)they can (G)only (Am)fall,
(F) In my (G)darkest (C)hour.
- Instrumental verse -

Hungry wings; their melodies, while my (F)love a(G)wakens (Am)me
In the (C)midst of the (F)sunburst first (G)light.
Her hands are (C)holding up the skies as I (F)hid my (G)opened (Am)eyes,
Every (C)move just for her(F)self, and that's so (G)right.
Soon I (F)went along my (G)way, with no (C)words that (C/B)could ex(Am)plain
As (F)she began des(Dm)cending to the (G)tower.
Her (C)safety now concerns me, her (F)circum(G)stance to (Am)blame,
(F) In my (G)darkest (C)hour. (F) (C) (F) (C) (F) (C)

© Arlo Guthrie, All Rights Reserved

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