You can learn how to play I Shot The Sheriff by Bob Marley!

This one acoustic guitar arrangement of I Shot The Sheriff is inspired by the original Bob Marley recording.

The verse chord progression is simple and very Aeolian sounding. Using the IV and III chords to constantly point back to chord VI. Being in the key of Gm, the chords for the verse spell:

||: Eb Dm | Gm :||

The chorus is even more simple, moving just between Gm and Cm, or the VI and II chord.

The world famous riff following “…and I say” uses the Minor Pentatonic scale.


Building a one guitar arrangement

When you build a one guitar arrangement, you have to first work out what the most important parts are. To build I Shot The Sheriff, I focused on:

  • The bass line
  • Variations on the upbeat rhythms
  • The bass drum rhythm for the verse
  • Harmonizing the riff
  • Moving and extending CAGED chord shapes
  • Combining many examples in order to achieve the sound of a jamming band
  • Transcribing and incorporating licks from the original recording

Make sure the bass line is rhythmically solid and dynamically well pronounced.

You can vary it in an improvised way by changing the notes, but maintain the rhythm. Or alternatively, extend the notes into chords and even vary the rhythm.

In the advanced acoustic guitar course, first practice along to all TAB loops, before you start jamming or writing your own variations on the various themes I Shot The Sheriff provide us with.


I Shot The Sheriff – Guitar Lessons

You can learn how to play I Shot The Sheriff by Bob Marley!

Step 1 (Bass line transcription & CAGED chords)Step 2 (Chorus, 1st half)Step 3 (Chorus, 2nd half)Step 4 (Verse)Step 5 (Instrumental section)Step 6 (Complete song)Step 7 (Vocal melody, chorus)Step 8 (Vocal melody, verse & 2nd guitar part).


I Shot The Sheriff – Lyrics

I shot the sheriff,
but I didn’t shoot no deputy, oh no! Oh!
I shot the sheriff,
but I didn’t shoot no deputy, ooh, ooh, oo-ooh.

Go to I Shot The Sheriff – Lyrics.


Bob Marley – Biography

Bob Marley was a Jamaican singer, songwriter, guitarist, and activist.

Marley is the most widely known performer of reggae music and regarded by many as a prophet of the Rastafarian religion. Few artists have had such widespread recognition as Bob Marley.

Go to Bob Marley – Biography.


Eric Clapton – Biography

As well as a member of bands like Derek & The Dominos, The Yardbirds and Cream, Clapton has successfully played sessions for more stars than any other guitar player.

His long career earned him three inductions into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame.

Go to Eric Clapton – Biography.

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