“Ants Marching” by Dave Matthews Band

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Difficulty: Intermediate

In this lesson, we have included all relative parts to the song. Below each part is an explanation on how to play it. This riff is set to 110 bpm (beats per minute).


This is a rather simple intro, but in the original recording
it is backed by a few other instruments. Here, you will be the
only instrument, in case you are interested in playing the song
from start to finish with only your acoustic! To play this part,
simply reverse how you usually play power chords, with your 1st
finger on the fifth fret and your 4th finger on the seventh fret.
Then, all you have to do is move your 4th finger to the eighth
fret when applicable.


For the verse, you will start off with the D chord. After that,
you will need to mute the strings as shown. Try not to skip this
step, mainly because it will throw off your timing. Just start
slow, and you will get it. When you go into the hammer-ons, try
barring your 1st finger on the fourth frets, so that all you have
to do then is use your 2nd finger to hammer-on to the fifth frets
when needed. In the next measure, you are playing a G chord. Once
again, following that is the mutes that you definitely want to
play. For the hammer-ons in this part, you won’t be so lucky as
to barre. Here, you will just have to allow your fret hand to
form a quick E chord shape. That will help you in moving more
fluently. Just remember to use your 1st finger on the fourth fret
as your pivot point, and allow your 2nd and 3rd fingers to roll
right on the fifth frets.


Here is what both guitars sound like together:

Guitar 1

For this guitar part, you are simply playing a G chord, followed
by the D chord, and then to the E chord.

Guitar 2

For this part, start with your 3rd finger on the twelfth fret.
Next, use your 2nd finger to play the tenth fret. Then, use your
1st finger to play the eighth fret. All you have to do next is
use your 2nd finger again to play the tenth fret as you did before.
The same applies to the twelfth fret as well. You just use your
3rd finger. To end the measure, use your 1st finger on the tenth
fret, but this time on the “high E” string. Notice that
you will be playing a trill. Do this by rapidly shaking the string.
NOTE : Notice how in the second measure you will need to do this
again, but the ribbon-like thread is much bolder. That just means
the same thing, but you are shaking the string much more this
time on the twelfth fret. Use your 2nd finger for the twelfth


The chorus to this song is really easy, but the progressions
come rather quick. You will be playing, in this order, the following
chords : Bm, D, G, Bm, and finally the A chord.

Riff Resources

Complete Transcription
To “Ants Marching” (PDF)

Complete Transcription
To “Ants Marching” (Power Tab)