I Shot The Sheriff chords by Bob Marley


Video blocked due to privacy settings

Change privacy settings


I Shot The Sheriff | Chords + Lyrics

0:00 – Chorus 1 0:23 – Verse 1 0:49 – Instrumental 1 0:56 – Chorus 2 1:18 – Verse 2 1:44 – Instrumental 2 1:51 – Chorus 3 2:12 – Verse 3 2:39 – Instrumental 3 2:49 – Chorus 4 3:11 – Verse 4 3:37 – Instrumental 4 3:44 – Chorus 5 4:06 – Outro

Chorus 1 (0:00)

| Gm | Cm Cm7 Cm Cm7 | Gm7 Gm Gm7 | Gm7 Gm Gm7 |
I shot the sheriff, but I didn’t shoot no deputy, oh no! Oh!
| Gm | Cm Cm7 Cm Cm7 | Gm7 Gm Gm7 | Gm7 Gm Gm7 |
I shot the sheriff, but I didn’t shoot no deputy, ooh, ooh, oo-ooh.

Verse 1 (0:23)

| Eb Dm7 | Gm7 | Eb Dm7/A | Gm7 |
All around in my hometown, they’re trying to track me down.
| Eb Dm7/A | Gm Gm7 Gm | Eb Dm7/A | Gm Gm7 |
They say they want to bring me in guilty, for the killing of a deputy,
| Eb Dm7 Dm | Gm/D |
for the life of a deputy. But I say.

Instrumental 1 (0:49)

||: G Minor Pentatonic riff :|| 2/4 Gm |

Chorus 2 (0:56)

| Gm | Cm Cm7 Cm Cm7 | Gm7 Gm Gm7 | Gm7 Gm Gm7 |
Oh, now, now. Oh! (I shot the sheriff.) – the sheriff, but I swear it was in self-defense. Oh, no! (Ooh, ooh, oo-oh)
| Gm | Cm Cm7 Cm Cm7 | Gm7 Gm Gm7 | Gm7 Gm Gm7 |
Yeah! I say: I shot the sheriff – Oh, Lord! – And they say it is a capital offense. Yeah! (Ooh, ooh, oo-oh) Yeah!

Verse 2 (1:18)

| Eb Dm7 | Gm7 | Eb Dm7/A | Gm7 |
Sheriff John Brown always hated me, for what, I don’t know.
| Eb Dm7/A | Gm Gm7 Gm | Eb Dm7/A | Gm Gm7 |
Every time I plant a seed, he said kill it before it grow.
| Eb Dm7 Dm | Gm/D |
He said kill them before they grow.

Instrumental 2 (1:44)

||: G Minor Pentatonic riff :|| 2/4 Gm |
And so, read it in the news.

Chorus 3 (1:51)

| Gm | Cm Cm7 Cm Cm7 | Gm7 Gm Gm7 | Gm7 Gm Gm7 |
(I shot the sheriff.) Oh, Lord! But I swear it was in self-defense, where was the deputy? (Oo-oo-oh).
| Gm | Cm Cm7 Cm Cm7 | Gm7 Gm Gm7 | Gm7 Gm Gm7 |
I say: I shot the sheriff, but I swear it was in self-defense. (Oo-oh) Yeah!

Verse 3 (2:12)

| Eb Dm7 | Gm7 | Eb Dm7/A | Gm7 |
Freedom came my way one day, and I started out of town, yeah.
| Eb Dm7/A | Gm Gm7 Gm | Eb Dm7/A | Gm Gm7 |
All of a sudden I saw sheriff John Brown, aiming to shoot me down.
| Eb Dm7 Dm | Gm/D |
So I shot – I shot – I shot him down and I say.

Instrumental 3 (2:39)

||: G Minor Pentatonic riff :|| Gm | Gm |
If I am guilty I will pay.

Chorus 4 (2:49)

| Gm | Cm Cm7 Cm Cm7 | Gm7 Gm Gm7 | Gm7 Gm Gm7 |
(I shot the sheriff), but I say (But I didn’t shoot no deputy). I didn’t shoot no deputy (oh, no-oh), oh no!
| Gm | Cm Cm7 Cm Cm7 | Gm7 Gm Gm7 | Gm7 Gm Gm7 |
(I shot the sheriff) I did! But I didn’t shoot no deputy. Oh! (Oo-oo-ooh).

Verse 4 (3:11)

| Eb Dm7 | Gm7 | Eb Dm7/A | Gm7 |
Reflexes had got the better of me, and what is to be must be.
| Eb Dm7/A | Gm Gm7 Gm | Eb Dm7/A | Gm Gm7 |
Every day the bucket a-go a well, one day the bottom a-go drop out,
| Eb Dm7 Dm | Gm/D |
one day the bottom a-go drop out, I say.

Instrumental 4 (3:37)

||: G Minor Pentatonic riff :|| 2/4 Gm |

Chorus 5 (3:44)

| Gm | Cm Cm7 Cm Cm7 | Gm7 Gm Gm7 | Gm7 Gm Gm7 |
I – I – I – I shot the sheriff. Lord, I didn’t shot the deputy.
| Gm | Cm Cm7 Cm Cm7 | Gm7 Gm Gm7 | Gm7 Gm Gm7 |
I – I (shot the sheriff). But I didn’t shoot no deputy, yeah! No, yeah.

End (4:06)

||: Gm | Cm Cm7 Cm Cm7 | Gm7 Gm Gm7 | Gm7 Gm Gm7 :|| x3
| Gm | Cm |


You can learn how to play I Shot The Sheriff!

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

Great care had to be taken in order to fit that legendary bass line in, paired with the reggae strums, played in a varied way so it sounds like a band jamming.

I’ve also transcribed several licks from the original recording and managed to fit these into this one acoustic guitar arrangement, it took a long time but was well worth it.

The various recordings Bob made of this fantastic song really are a treasure with so much to learn from.

Below, you’ll find the first two steps from the course where I’ll break down the bass line for the chorus and verse and show you, step-by-step and note for note how to play I Shot The Sheriff on just one acoustic guitar, enjoy!


Video blocked due to privacy settings

Change privacy settings


I Shot The Sheriff guitar lesson | Bassline and chords

Let’s start off this madness by working on the fundamental bits.

Below is example 1, the bass line. Use the TAB loop to practice this the most, you need to know it so well that when you go to sleep tonight, it’s still playing in your head.

I Shot The Sheriff chords and bass line.

Here’s example 2, now we’re practicing chords and shapes. Use the TAB Loop until you can do it.

I Shot The Sheriff chords chorus simple.

Let’s move on. Here’s example 3. This example will take longer since the rhythm is more complex.

I Shot The Sheriff chords chorus more complex.

Here’s example 4. This is the verse bass line.

I Shot The Sheriff chords and bass line, verse.

Here’s example 5.

I Shot The Sheriff chords verse.

Let’s practice more chord shapes! Example 6 looks like this. This is not easy, you may need to keep that TAB loop going for a while.

I Shot The Sheriff chords verse, example 6.

Here’s example 7. It’s the same as example 5, although now the rhythm has changed.

I Shot The Sheriff chords verse, example 7.

Almost there, only example 8 to complete (use the TAB loop!) These are the same shapes as example 5, but with a new rhythm.

I Shot The Sheriff chords verse, example 8.

In the next step, we start working on the acoustic guitar part for the first half of the chorus.


Video blocked due to privacy settings

Change privacy settings


I Shot The Sheriff guitar lesson | Chorus (1st half)

Let’s work out how to play the first half of the chorus on just one guitar.

Here’s example 1. It’s the bass line again, although now fretted in a new way.

I Shot The Sheriff chords TAB chorus, example 1.

Let’s develop this into one guitar part, here’s example 2. now there are chords.

I Shot The Sheriff chords TAB chorus, example 2.

Let’s find plenty of variations on this concept, here’s example 3. Notice the change in the bassline between Gm and Cm.

I Shot The Sheriff chords TAB chorus, example 3.

Ensure you can play along with all TAB loops before you move on to example 4. Now, the bass line has new notes.

I Shot The Sheriff chords TAB chorus, example 4.

In example 5, you find more variations on the bass lines.

I Shot The Sheriff chords TAB chorus, example 5.

Next up, even more, bass line variations! Here’s example 6.

I Shot The Sheriff chords TAB chorus, example 6.

Almost there, only example 7 to practice, along with the TAB loop of course.

I Shot The Sheriff chords TAB chorus, example 7.

In the course, we next work on the 2nd half of the chorus. This is followed by how to play the verse, the instrumental section, and various licks from the original recording.

In step 6, we play the complete song. You’ll get full TAB for what I play from beginning to end, just like you saw in the first video at the top of the page here.

In steps 7 and 8 we play the vocal melody. For the complete experience, sign up here.

Eric Clapton’s version of I Shot The Sheriff was more popular

Released in 1973 on the album Burnin’ and also as a single, I Shot The Sheriff is one of Bob Marley and The Wailers’ signature songs.

Originally, Bob wanted to say “I shot the Police” but to avoid “fuzz from the government”, he decided that using sheriff would still get the message across.

Only a year after the original release, Eric Clapton released a cover version on his sensational album 461 Ocean Boulevard. This clearly helped to spread the song and must have introduced Marley to a wider audience as Clapton at this time was known worldwide.

Clapton’s version chartered better than the original, reaching the number-one spot in the U.S. To this day making it Eric’s only U.S. #1.

Apparently, Bob once came over to Eric’s house. After he’d left, a note was found on the fridge door saying: I Shot The Sheriff, with the I being underlined.


I Shot The Sheriff | Related pages


I Shot The Sheriff – 8 guitar lessons

I Shot The Sheriff - 8 guitar lessons in the course.

To play I Shot The Sheriff on just one guitar we must study what the bass is playing on the original recording.

Once this is established, everything else falls into place. After learning the complete song step by step we also tackle the vocal melody.

Go to I Shot The Sheriff – 8 guitar lessons.


Advanced Acoustic Songs

When you can play I Shot The Sheriff's chords, discover more 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.


I Shot The Sheriff – 5 similar tunes

When you can play I Shot The Sheriff's chords, try these five tunes from the song book.

Eric Clapton

Find out more about Eric Clapton, the man who covered I Shot The Sheriff.

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.


Eric Clapton on the web

Listen to Eric Clapton on Spotify.

Bob Marley

Find out more about Bob Marley, the man who wrote I Shot The Sheriff's chords.

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

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

Go to Bob Marley.


Bob Marley on the web

Listen to Bob Marley on Spotify.