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How to Play Black by Pearl Jam on Guitar

Black is one of the most popular songs by the American rock band Pearl Jam. It was released in 1991 as part of their debut album Ten. The song is a powerful ballad that expresses the pain of losing a loved one. It features a haunting vocal performance by Eddie Vedder, and a memorable guitar solo by Mike McCready.

If you want to learn how to play Black by Pearl Jam on guitar, you will need to know some basic chords, strumming patterns, and techniques. Here are some tips and resources to help you master this song.

Chords

The song is played in the key of E minor, and uses mostly open chords. The main chords are E, A, Asus4, Em, C, and D. You can also add some variations and embellishments to make the chords sound more interesting. For example, you can play Eadd9 instead of E, or Cmaj7 instead of C.

Here are the chord diagrams for the main chords:

[Verse 1]
E               Asus2             E              Asus2
Sheets of empty canvas, untouched sheets of clay
     E                 A              E
Were laid spread out before me as her body once did
 
E           Asus2          E               Asus2
All five horizons revolved around her soul as the earth to the sun
E             A                       E
Now the air I tasted and breathed has taken a turn
 
[Pre-chorus 1]
C                                    Em
Oh, and all I taught her was everything
C                                   Em
Oh, I know she gave me all that she wore
 
[Chorus]
           D
And now my bitter hands,
        C
Chafe beneath the clouds
            Em
Of what was everything
        D
All the pictures have
          C
All been washed in black
               Em
Tattooed everything
 
[Verse 2]
E        Asus2                E               Asus2
I take a walk outside, I'm surrounded by some kids at play
E                A            E
I can feel their laughter, so why do I sear
 
[Pre-chorus 2]
C                                           Em
Oh, and twisted thoughts that spin 'round my head, I'm spinning, oh
    C                                     Em
I'm spinning, how quick the sun can drop away
 
[Chorus]
           D
And now my bitter hands
       C
Cradle broken glass
                Em
Of what was everything
        D
All the pictures have
          C
All been washed in black
             Em
Tattooed everything
        D
All the love gone bad
          C
Turned my world to black
                 D
And tattooed all I see,
         C
All that I am,
              Em
All that I'll be
 
[Bridge]
D C     Em      D       C
  Yeah  Uh huh  Uh huh  Uh
  Em
I know someday you'll have a beautiful life,
  D                          C
I know you'll be a star in somebody else's sky
    Em        D            C
But why, why, why can't it be,
C                Em  D  C
Oh can't it be mine
Em      D        C
ooh, ah yeah, aah ooh
C                        Em
(Doodoo-doo-doo-doodoodoo)
Em                       D
(Doodoo-doo-doo-doodoodoo)
 
[Outro] (x7)
D                       C
Doodoo-doo-doo-doodoodoo
C                       Em
Doodoo-doo-doo-doodoodoo
Em                      D
Doodoo-doo-doo-doodoodoo

Strumming

The strumming pattern for the song is not very complicated, but it requires some practice and timing. The basic pattern is down-down-up-up-down-up, or D-D-U-U-D-U for short. You can also add some accents and dynamics to make the strumming more expressive.

Here is an example of how to strum the first verse:

E A Asus4 A D-D-U-U-D-U D-D-U-U-D-U D-D-U-U-D-U D-D-U-U-D-U Sheets of empty canvas

E A Asus4 A D-D-U-U-D-U D-D-U-U-D-U D-D-U-U-D-U D-D-U-U-D-U Untouched sheets of clay

E A D-D-U-U-D-U D-D-U-U-D-U Were laid spread out before me

E D-D-U As her body once did

You can find more strumming examples and tips on websites like [Guitar Lessons] or [Guitar Tricks].

Techniques

The song also involves some techniques that can enhance your playing and sound. Some of these techniques are:

  • Hammer-ons and pull-offs: These are ways of playing notes without picking them. You can use them to create smooth transitions between chords or notes. For example, you can play Asus4 by hammering on the third fret of the B string with your pinky finger, or play Em by pulling off the second fret of the D string with your middle finger.
  • Slides: These are ways of moving from one note or chord to another by sliding your finger along the string. You can use them to create gliding effects or modulations. For example, you can slide from E to Em by sliding your index finger from the first fret to the open position on the G string.
  • Bends: These are ways of changing the pitch of a note by bending the string with your finger. You can use them to create vibrato or expression. For example, you can bend the third fret of the B string up a half step to create a bluesy sound.

You can find more techniques and tutorials on websites like [Guitar World] or [Guitar Noise].

Conclusion

Black by Pearl Jam is a beautiful song that can be played on guitar with some basic chords, strumming patterns, and techniques. It is a great song to practice your skills and express your emotions. You can find many resources online to help you learn this song, such as tabs, chords, videos, and articles. You can also try to improvise or create your own version of the song. Have fun playing Black by Pearl Jam on guitar!

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