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How to Play Badfish by Sublime on Guitar

Badfish is a song by the American ska punk band Sublime, released in 1992 as part of their debut album 40oz. to Freedom. The song is a tribute to the reggae band Bad Brains and their song Banned in D.C., and it also references the surf culture of Southern California. Badfish is one of Sublime’s most popular songs and it showcases their unique blend of reggae, rock, and punk influences.

In this article, we will show you how to play Badfish by Sublime on guitar using chords, tabs, and video lessons. We will also explain the meaning and history of the song, as well as some tips and tricks to make it sound better.

Chords

Badfish by Sublime uses six basic chords: A, Bm, G, D, E, and D7. The song is in the key of A major and has a simple chord progression that repeats throughout the verses and choruses. The chords are played with a ska rhythm, which means that you only strum the upbeats (the “and” of each beat) and mute the downbeats (the numbers) with your palm. Here are the chord diagrams for Badfish by Sublime

Intro Chords        Verse Chords (SKA)
E--0---0---0---0----|----5---7---3-------------|
B--2---3---0---2----|----5---7---3-------------|
G--2---4---4---2----|----6---7---4---7---9-----|
D--2---4---5---2----|----7---9---5---7---9-----|
A--0---2---5---0----|----7---9---5---5---7-----|
E----------3--------|----5---7---3-------------|
   A   Bm  G   A         A   Bm  G   D   E
 
[Intro]
(A  Bm  G  A)
 
 
[Verse]
A                       Bm       G                             A
When you grab a hold of me, you tell me that I'll never be set free
              Bm     G                              A
But I'm a parasite, creep and crawl I step into the night.
             D      G                          A
Two pints of booze. Tell me are you a bad fish too? (are you a badfish too?)
D                     A       D                     A
Ain't got no money to spend. I hope the night would never end.
D               A              D                       E
Lord knows I'm weak. Won't somebody get me off of this reef?
 
[Verse]
A                    Bm    G                                  A
Baby your a big blue whale grab the reef when all duck divin' fails
                          Bm            G                         A
I swim, but I wish I never learned, the water's too pulluted with germs
                                    D
I dive deep when it's ten feet over head.
G                           A
grab the reef underneath my bed (underneath my bed)
D                          A    D                        A
Ain't got no quarrels with God, ain't got no time to get old.
D              A               D                       E
Lord knows I'm weak, won't somebody get me off of this reef?
 
Play Intro
 
A  Bm  G  A
 
E|------------------------------------------------------|
B|------------------------------------------------------|
G|-2~~~~2-2/4--------2-4--1h2p1-------------------------|
D|--------------2h4-------------2-2/4-------------------|
A|-------------------------------------2p0-2h4~~~~------|
E|------------------------------------------------------|
 
E|---------------------------5----------------|
B|-----------------------------7--------------|
G|--------------2p1--------------6-4-2h4-2~~~-|
D|-----2h4-4-2------2-2h4---------------------|
A|-2h4----------------------------------------|
E|--------------------------------------------|
 
 
[Verse]
D                          A    D                        A
Ain't got no quarrels with God, ain't got no time to get old
D              A               D                       E
Lord knows I'm weak, won't somebody get me off of this reef?
 
 
 
************************************
 
| h  Hammer-on
| p  Pull-off
| /  Slide up
| ~  Vibrato
 
************************************

The intro of the song is played with the chords A, Bm, G, and A. The verse follows the same pattern, but adds the chords D and D7 at the end of each line. The chorus changes the order of the chords to D, A, D, A, D, A, D, E. The bridge is similar to the chorus, but replaces the E chord with a Bm chord. The solo is played over the same chords as the intro and verse.

Here are the lyrics and chords for Badfish by Sublime:

[Intro] A Bm G A A Bm G A

[Verse 1] A Bm When you grab a hold of me G A Tell me that I’ll never be set free A Bm Well, I’m a parasite G A Creep and crawl, I step into the night A D Two pints of booze G A Tell me are you a bad fish too (are you a bad fish too)

[Chorus] D A Ain’t got no money to spend D A I hope the night will never end D A Lord knows I’m weak D E Won’t somebody get me off of this reef

[Verse 2] A Bm Baby, you’re a big blue whale G A Grab the reef when all duck diving fails A Bm I’d swim but I wish I never learned G A Water’s too polluted with germs A D I dive deep when it’s ten feet overhead G A Grab the reef underneath my bed (underneath my bed)

[Bridge] D A Ain’t got no quarrels with God D A Ain’t got no time to grow old D A Lord knows I’m weak D Bm Won’t somebody get me off of this reef

[Solo] A Bm G A A Bm G A

[Chorus] D A Ain’t got no quarrels with God D A Ain’t got no time to get old D A Lord knows I’m weak D E Won’t somebody get me off of this reef

[Outro] A Bm G A A Bm G A

Tabs

If you want to play Badfish by Sublime more accurately, you can use tabs to follow the guitar parts of Bradley Nowell, the lead singer and guitarist of Sublime. Tabs are a way of writing music for guitar using numbers and symbols to indicate which frets and strings to play. Here are some basic symbols used in tabs:

  • / : slide up
  • \ : slide down
  • h : hammer-on
  • p : pull-off
  • b : bend
  • r : release bend
  • ~ : vibrato
  • x : mute

The intro of Badfish by Sublime is played with a simple riff that uses slides and hammer-ons. The riff is repeated four times before the verse starts. Here is the tab for the intro riff:

e|————————–| B|————————–| G|————————–| D|————————–| A|—-0h2/4–0h2/4–0h2/4—| E|–0———————–|

The verse of Badfish by Sublime is played with a combination of chords and single notes. The chords are played with a ska rhythm, while the single notes are played with a reggae feel. The verse is repeated twice before the chorus starts. Here is the tab for the verse:

e|———————————| B|———————————| G|———————————| D|———————————| A|–0–0–0–0–2–2–2–2–5–5—| E|–0–0–0–0–2–2–2–2–3–3—|

e|———————————| B|———————————| G|———————————| D|–7–7–7–7———————| A|–5–5–5–5———————| E|————–3p0-3p0-3p0-3p0—-|

The chorus of Badfish by Sublime is played with power chords and single notes. The power chords are played with a rock rhythm, while the single notes are played with a slide and a bend. The chorus is repeated twice before the bridge starts. Here is the tab for the chorus:

e|———————————| B|———————————| G|———————————| D|–7—–7—–7

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