I’ve transcribed 22 new songs for my students in the past few months, and just uploaded them to my website a few days ago. Have at ’em!
To see all 285 songs I have available, click here.
Girl – Beck – This song is currently the most popular song in my collection, averaging about twelve downloads a day. Seems I’m the first person to write out the chords to this sweet song off Beck’s new album, Guero.
Blue Eyes – Cary Brothers – Soon I’ll have taught every song on the Garden State Soundtrack–I’ve already taught the Shins’ “New Slang” and “Caring is Creepy,” “Don’t Panic” by Coldplay, “Such Great Heights” performed by Iron and Wine, and “The Only Living Boy in New York” by Simon and Garfunkle. Ohmygod, Zach Braff and I have, like, so much in common.
405 – Death Cab for Cutie – The 405 is a highway to the east of Seattle.
Marching Bands of Manhattan – Death Cab for Cutie – Another transportation song—this one uses water-as-metaphor-for-isolation-and-bridge-as-metaphor-for-love imagery, like the title track off the Transatlanticism album. When you live in Seattle (Death Cab is from Bellingham, just north of here a bit), and you travel our ferries and bridges enough, I guess you’re bound to start looking at life this way.
16 Military Wives – The Decemberists – My favorite song off their new album. There’s a great music video here, with cameos of Death Cab’s guitarist and producer Chris Walla and The Long Winters’ frontman John Roderick.
The Sporting Life – The Decemberists – Deceptively difficult strumming on this one (16 Military Wives is hard too). Remember to swing!
Heartache Tonight – The Eagles – When I got my wisdom teeth removed after graduating from high school, I spent three days in bed high on Percocet listening to Bob Marley’s Legend and The Eagles’ Greatest Hits over and over. I was in heaven.
Grateful Dead – Friend of the Devil – Finally, I get to teach some Dead songs and prove to my parents that my Grateful Dead cover band in college was a valuable educational experience. See mom and dad, all those late nights playing for drunk hippies at the Cypress Lounge were just stepping stones along my career path!
Grateful Dead – Ripple – This song was performed at the memorial service for several college friends of mine who died in a car accident returning from a Grateful Dead concert. I think it was a great choice–I love the mystical chorus.
Such Great Heights (real version) – Iron and Wine – The first few times I taught this Postal Service cover it was to introduce fingerpicking to students, so I used a very simple Travis picking pattern. The fact that I could hardly pick my own nose at the time I started teaching it also may have had some influence on the simplified arrangement. Now I can pick my nose very skillfully, thank you, so here’s the real McCoy.
Just a Ride – Jem – It’s just two chords, but what a ride.
Gamble Everything For Love – Ben Lee – Another cool fingerstyle song. Ben sounds a bit like Elliot Smith.
Redemption Song – Bob Marley – A Jesuit novitiate taught me this song when I was a sophomore at St. Ignatius College Preparatory. Years after I graduated, he sued the Jesuits for sexual harassment. Wonder what redemption meant to him….
Bird on a Wire – Willie Nelson – Leonard Cohen wrote this song. What incredible lyrics. “Like a bird on a wire, like a drunk in a midnight choir, I have tried in my way to be free.”
How You Remind Me – Nickelback – I don’t care for Nickelback that much, but when I teach songs I otherwise wouldn’t give a listen, I find things to appreciate. One of the roses among thorns here is that this is a great voice workout. “I’ve BEEN wrong, I’ve BEEN down…” My poor neighbors.
Wave over Wave – Jim Payne – I learned this song from Andy Hillhouse, my Celtic Guitar teacher at this summer’s Puget Sound Guitar Workshop. I learned it using the DADGAD tuning, but it’s written here in standard tuning.
Some Postman – The Presidents of the United States of America – Chris Ballew’s wife grew up down the street from a couple of my young students, so they got him to sign their guitars the last time they saw him at the community pool. I love it that my students get to hang out with rock stars. It can’t help but inspire them to practice more.
Donald and Lydia – John Prine – A wonderfully odd love song by a songwriter born with an old voice.
That’s the Way the World Goes ‘Round – John Prine – A playful tune with some dark lines. I think Prine’s a genius.
One – U2 – Perhaps the best song by one of the humongoust rock bands ever. The electric guitar part has given me fits for years, but I think I’m close to finally figuring it out. Someday I’ll tab it out….
Island in the Sun – Weezer – My old band Tilted Blue covered this song at a corporate barbecue for Fox Sports Northwest. I’m glad I’m finally learning how to play it right–I remember completely slaughtering the solo during our gig. It says a lot about our other material that, despite my performance, the crowd requested that we repeat this song for our “encore” (three drunk newscasting interns yelling for more cowbell).
I’m Always in Love – Wilco – Jeff Tweedy has a great gift for musical lyrics: “When I let go of your throat-sweet throttle….” A great song by one of my favorite bands.
Have fun, and let me know if you see any errors. Thanks!
hey rob, i like your taste. i want 2 play the guitar myself, but i didn’t have any time, besides i play 2 instruments already. i recommend beverly hills by weezer for your songs. cu…
I appreciate the comment you left on my space. Guitar has become one of my new hobbies, and now I’ve been looking for some good chord charts. This is awesome; thanks.
On a slightly less serious note, I’d like to figuratively examine your description of “One” by U2.
…I don’t think ‘hugest’ is a word. 🙂
thanks for the links… great songs-ill probably use them once i actually learn to play 😀
Thanks, Hannah. I’ve corrected the error.
hey there rob. thanks for the comment on my space! guitar is groovy, but im not the best at it.. im bad at riffs and other such like, but ive been learning it for less than a year, so i think im not too bad for that! thanks for getting beck’s girl up there, and weezer’s island in the sun. very good. well, keep blogging then!
hi rob, just a quick note regarding death cab for cutie’s 405. 405 runs along the east side of lake washington, not across it…those would be 520 and 90. otherwise, great site. keep up the great work!
And where my mind runs, who can say? Thanks for being on Space Cadet patrol, Linda. I’ve changed the text.
I’m thrilled to have found your site. Quick and potentially stupid question: in your chord charts, next to the chord “name” there is frequently a number or fraction. What does this mean? e.g. C(2) or G(1/2)
That’s the number of measures you play the chord. You can read more about it here: http://www.heartwoodguitar.com/chordguide.htm
Glad you’re digging the site!
Please send me the finger picking pattern of bird on a wire
by Leonard cohen for a classical guitar
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