How To Play Pictures Of Matchstick Men by Status Quo
Before they morphed into denim-clad boogiemeisters Status Quo were a late 60s psychedelic pop band, and this track is their most famous from that period. It's a great song with a great riff, and it's really easy to play. There seem to be at least a couple of different versions or mixes, and I prefer the one below which has the extra wah-wah guitar part and an overall more psychedelic sound.
Here's some decent footage of The Quo playing the song. At the start of the clip you get a good view of Francis Rossi playing the main riff: all on the B string with downstrokes of the pick throughout. You also get to see how Rossi and Parfitt are playing the chords in different areas of the neck.
I've written out the main riff below:
And here's a simple chord/lyric sheet for the entire song outlining the basic harmony. It's up to you where you play the chords - probably best to just experiment and see what works best for you. If you're a beginner, then most of it can be played with open chords in the first position and an easy F chord. If you know your barre chords, then there are plenty of options further up the neck. Download a PDF here should you wish.
Getting The Sound
As I say in the video, I'm not exactly sure what effects were used to get the guitar sound on the original - whether it's an effects pedal or a tape-based studio technique. Maybe it's both, as at certain points the effect is just on the guitar and at other times across the entire mix of the track. It sounds to me like some kind of phaser or flanger effect, and the entire guitar part could be double-tracked in places too. You can get quite close by using any phaser or flanger pedal and setting the rate or speed control quite slow.
If anyone knows exactly how the sound was acheived I'd really like to know, as there seems to be no definite information on the internet.