XO by John Mayer
John Mayer is known for his interesting song structures, and there’s no exception here with “XO.” This is a lovely tune that’s great for strumming on an acoustic, but its complexity really comes across in how he plays it. Crazy to think this is a cover of a Beyoncé song, but John really transforms it into something fresh.
As many John Mayer fans already know, his hands were all but made for guitar playing. He’s been genetically gifted with extra-long thumbs that allow him to pull off fingerings and shapes that most of us simply can’t (no matter how much we practice)! It can be frustrating, sure, but it’s all a matter of perspective, isn’t it? His music presents a fun challenge where we get to dissect his songs, learn from his styles and techniques, and ultimately make the song our own.
All of that said, this tune only needs the thumb over technique for the F chord which is relatively simple - it's not like Neon! There’s some fun strumming throughout the song that will help you work on keeping a precise and full rhythm while keeping your pick light in hand. Something I always recommend when confronted with a tricky strum pattern or rhythm is to simply practice strumming on muted strings before adding in the fingerings. It really simplifies the learning process when you break things down into smaller, less daunting parts.
On top of that, hammer-ons and accented notes add dynamism to your playing, which really help to bring everything to life. All of that combined is what transforms a chord progression to a proper song.