Learn How To Play Cannonball

Chords and Guitar Lessons

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Complete song – Acoustic guitar(s) and vocal


The original recording of Cannonball by Damien Rice contains up to six guitars playing different lines. All these parts weave the different melodic lines into each other, creating a dream-like soundscape.

My one guitar arrangement is a combination of these parts. In the second video from the playlist above, you find a two guitar arrangement. Both arrangements and much more are available in the course.

A capo has been used to get into the same key as the original. What you hear is the key of Bbm, however, you think of Cannonball as if in the key of Em when you have the capo on fret 6.

For the 2nd guitar, the capo is on fret 1, now we must think as if in Am.

Chord progression

The verse chord progression is simple, mainly varying the extensions of the VI chord to add9, min7 and sus4, making the verse clearly in minor.

The chorus chords follow the simple I – IV – V movement which puts the chorus in major.

This switch between a minor verse and a major chorus is pretty common in modern songwriting. Roxanne and Dreadlock Holiday are merely two other examples.

Thinking as if in the key of Em (capo fret 6), the chords are:


||: Em Emadd9 Em7 | G G/A G/B :||

| Em Emb6 Em Esus4 Em | G D6/F# | Cmaj7 | Cadd9 D6/F# :||


||: G C | Dsus2/A :||

| G Csus2 G/B | Dsus2/A | C | Dadd11/A |

Chorus tag

||: Cmaj7 | G/B D/F# :II


||: Em :||

Guitar Lessons

Cannonball – Step 1 (Free Preview)

In this first step, we work out how to incorporate the vocal melody into the chords and strumming for the verse of Cannonball.

We do this using a capo on fret 6, as well as on fret 1. This means that you have to think first in Em, then in Am.

Go to Cannonball step 1.

Cannonball – Step 2

Let’s do what we did in step 1 to the chorus. As the melody is so simple and hits almost only chord notes, this is much easier.

Again, we practice with the capo on both fret 6 and 1.

Go to Cannonball step 2.

Cannonball – Step 3

In this step we look at the chorus tag, which only appears once in the song. Again, we do this using a capo in two places on the neck.

We also learn the end in both “keys”, which is super simple.

Go to Cannonball step 3.

Cannonball – Step 4

Let’s put it all together and play the complete song with a singer.

In this step, we have the capo on fret 6, this means that you must think as if in the key of Em.

Go to Cannonball step 4.

Cannonball – Step 5

Before we move on and learn more about Cannonball, let’s play the complete song using a capo on fret 1.

We play it with the singer again. Is this easier or harder? It definitely hurts more!

Go to Cannonball step 5.

Cannonball – Step 6

Now then, Aeolian is on the menu and it’s a massive master exercise for you to try in all five shapes.

There are TAB loops, but before you can practice along with them, do this slowly and make sure you fully understand the concept.

Go to Cannonball step 6.

Cannonball – Step 7

In this step, we play the vocal melody in several areas of the neck.

When you can do it along to the individual TAB loops, play the complete song, first with the singer, then without.

Go to Cannonball step 7.

Cannonball – Step 8

In the final step we construct a 2nd guitar part. Use this when you play with us and we’ll sound like a band.

The outro takes the vocal melody and expands on it by adding some fills.

Go to Cannonball step 8.

Related Pages


cannonballStill a little bit of your taste in my mouth
Still a little bit of you laced with my doubt
It’s still a little hard to say, what’s going on
There’s still a little bit of your ghost your witness

Go to Cannonball lyrics.

Damien Rice

damien-rice-thumbOriginally, Rice was a member of Juniper but on the evening of recording their first full album, Rice changed his mind and left the band.

Rice moved to Italy to start afresh, writing songs and busking his way around Europe. Back in Ireland, Rice got in touch with David Arnold and together they recorded the album O.

Go to Damien Rice biography.


Learning how to play guitar is best done through playing and learning from songs.

The advanced songs require you to learn 7th note chords and modal scales. This will be revolutionary for your understanding of the guitar fret board.

Go to Advanced guitar course.


You can learn how to play these advanced songs on the acoustic guitar.

Angels, Baby Won’t You Please Come Home, Blackbird, Cannonball, Don’t Wait Too Long, I Shot The Sheriff, Over The Rainbow, Roxanne, Scarborough Fair, Sunshine Of Your Love, Take Me To The River, Tears In Heaven, and Wish You Were Here.

Go to Advanced acoustic songs.

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