Blackbird chords



You can learn how to play Blackbird by The Beatles!

Inspired by J. S. Bach’s Bourree in E minor and a bird waking him up in the morning, Paul McCartney created a modern masterpiece in Blackbird.

There are a few things you need to focus on if you want to learn how to play Blackbird.

  • A constant open G string to bind the chords together.
  • A unique index finger strumming technique.
  • Variations in the chord progression like IV – IVm.
  • A key change for the chorus.
  • Odd time signatures for a bar only.

There are seemingly two Am-shaped dim7 chords in Blackbird, although, upon closer inspection, only a fraction of a C#dim is actually used.

The second suspected dim7 chord, starting on a D# is not even minor, it’s a D#(b5), an altered chord.

In the course, you get all the TAB you need in order to play Blackbird just like Paul McCartney did. Once this is achieved, we also develop a 2nd guitar. Learn this and we can play Blackbird together, like a folk duo.


Blackbird chords and lyrics


Chords for Blackbird

| 3/4 G Am7 G/B | 4/4 G |

| 3/4 G Am7 G/B | 4/4 G |
Blackbird singing in the dead of night.
| C C#dim Dadd4 D#b5 | Em Eb |
Take these broken wings and learn to fly.
| Dadd4 C#dim C | Cm G/B | A7 D7sus4 | 2/4 G | C G/B A7 | D7sus4 G |
All your life, you were only waiting for this moment to arise.

| 3/4 G Am7 G/B | 4/4 G |
Blackbird singing in the dead of night.
| C C#dim Dadd4 D#b5 | Em Eb |
Take these sunken eyes and learn to see.
| Dadd4 C#dim C | Cm G/B | A7 D7sus4 | 2/4 G |
All your life, you were only waiting for this moment to be free.

| Fadd9 Em Dmadd4 C | Bb6 C |
Blackbird fly,
| Fadd9 Em Dmadd4 C | Bb6 A7 | 2/4 D7sus4 |
blackbird fly, into the light of the dark black night.

| 3/4 G Am7 G/B | 4/4 G |
| C C#dim Dadd4 D#b5 | Em Eb |
| Dadd4 C#dim C | Cm G/B | A7 D7sus4 | 2/4 G |

| Fadd9 Em Dmadd4 C | Bb6 C |
Blackbird fly,
| Fadd9 Em Dmadd4 C | Bb6 A7 | 2/4 D7sus4 |
blackbird fly, into the light of the dark black night.

| 3/4 G Am7 G/B | 4/4 G | G | G | 5/4 G |
| G Am7 G/B C | G/B A7 D7sus4 |

| 3/4 G Am7 G/B | 4/4 G |
Blackbird singing in the dead of night.
| C C#dim Dadd4 D#b5 | Em Eb |
Take these broken wings and learn to fly.
| Dadd4 C#dim C | Cm G/B | A7 D7sus4 |
All your life, you were only waiting for this moment to arise.
| G C G/B | A7 D7sus4 |
You were only waiting for this moment to arise.
| G C G/B | A7 D7sus4 | G |
You were only waiting for this moment to arise.


Open strings as drones

The open G-string is used throughout Blackbird, giving the piece a drone effect that ties the chord progression together.

The function of this open G-string changes, like this:

  • A-shaped G chord at fret 10, the open G is the root
  • Em, the G is a m3rd
  • Eb, the G is the 3rd
  • C and Cm, the G is the 5th
  • Dadd4, the G is the 4th
  • Dmadd4, the G is the 4th
  • D#(b5), the G is the 3rd
  • Fadd9, the G is the 9th

Blackbird time and key signatures

Throughout Blackbird, you’ll find different time signatures appearing. The most obvious one is the verse which starts in 3/4, changing to 4/4 immediately.

This 3/4 time for a bar concept appears several times, but there is also a 2/4 bar hidden in there.

Blackbird is mainly in the key of G but it does modulate to F for the chorus. The modulation is abrupt as it starts, making the first F feel like a bVIIx chord in relation to G.

To get back to the key of G, we play A7D7sus4. In the key of F, that’s IIIx7 to VIx7. In the key of G, they are IIx7 and V7 chords.


Blackbird index finger strumming technique

Unique to Blackbird is the strange index finger strum technique. This is a homemade technique I’ve never seen before or since, which is strange as it’s so brilliant!

Combining the thumb plucking and strumming strings using a downward motion, the index finger strums the upper part of the chord.

Apparently, Paul learned how to play like this from Donovan, a Scottish folk artist who hang around The Beatles and Bob Dylan in the 60s.

Speaking of Bob, the rhythm of Blackbird’s strumming is actually the same as that of Blowin’ In The Wind.


Course preview (Guitar Lesson – Step 2)

In the first video above, starting at 2:21, you find a preview of step 2 from the course.

In this step, we play Blackbird in seven loops at a slow tempo of 74 BPM. Learn all seven loops and you have covered the entire arrangement.

In the preview, I’ll show you the first three. Here’s TAB for what I’m playing.

Example 1 is the intro and how we start a verse.

Example 2 is how the intro part is varied later on in the arrangement by manipulating the strumming of that A-shaped G chord.

Example 3 is the part where we start climbing chromatically from C.


Blackbird – 8 Guitar Lessons

Blackbird by The Beatles is a legendary song that we simply must learn note for note, just like Paul McCartney played it.

Once this is achieved, we can learn from Blackbird by building a 2nd guitar part and playing the song together.

Go to Blackbird – 8 Guitar Lessons.


Blackbird – Lyrics + Live performance

Blackbird singing in the dead of night.
Take these broken wings and learn to fly.
All your life, you were only waiting for this moment to arise.
Blackbird singing in the dead of night.

Go to Blackbird lyrics.


The Beatles

The Beatles biography.

The Beatles are the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed band in the history of popular music.

As the leaders of the so-called British Invasion, their catchy Rock & Roll infused pop songs took America by storm, creating hysteria everywhere they went.

Go to The Beatles – Biography.


Advanced Acoustic Songs

These songs use big chord extensions and sometimes, unique and complex chords that incorporate open strings.

Study these in-depth and you will gain a complete understanding of the fretboard, including how to build any scale, arpeggio, and chord, anywhere on the guitar.

Go to Advanced Acoustic Songs.


The Professional Guitarist Song Book

As a guitarist, a repertoire is the greatest asset that you can acquire.

Learn these songs and you can progress from being a bedroom player to working with acoustic duos, Jazz trios, Indie/Rock/Party bands as well as large Soul/Motown ensembles.

Go to Song Book.


Copyright + Comments

Studying great songs is the best way for a musician to develop, we believe displaying chords and lyrics falls under “fair use in education”.

If you are the copyright holder and do not wish to be represented in this way, or want to comment on anything in these lessons, do reach out.

Go to Contact.