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.

A constant open G string, variations in a progression like IV – IVm and a change of key for the chorus, are the three main things you need to focus on to learn how to play Blackbird.

There are seemingly two dim7 chords in there as well, although, upon closer inspection, only a fraction of a C#dim7 is actually used.

The second suspected dim7 chord, starting on a D# is not even minor, it’s a D#(b5), an altered chord. Get the full story of the entire arrangement, complete with TAB, in the advanced acoustic guitar course.

Open strings as drones

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

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

  • The A-shaped G chord at fret 10, the open G is the root
  • The Em, the G is a m3rd
  • The Eb, the G is the major third
  • The C and Cm, the G is the 5th
  • The Fadd9, the G is the 9th

Time and key signatures

Throughout Blackbird, you’ll find different time signatures appearing. The most obvious one is the verse that 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 A7D7. In the key of F that’s IIIx7 to VIx7. In the key of G, they are IIx7 and V7 chords.

The 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.

Blackbird – Guitar Lessons

Blackbird by The Beatles will soon be available as eight step by step guitar lessons.

Until then, there’s complete TAB for what I play in the video available.

Go to Blackbird – Coming Soon.

Blackbird – Lyrics

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 – 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 they took America by storm, creating hysteria everywhere they went.

Go to The Beatles – Biography.

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