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Romeo and Juliet mini lesson

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mattguitar
(@mattguitar_1567859575)
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Joined: 19 years ago
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Topic starter  

Hello again people!

Well I thought the last mini lesson was a bit of a challenge….but this one really is, but then again, no pain – no gain.

I am going to try and tackle Mark Knoffler's beautiful ballad Romeo and Juliet. There are simply loads and loads of tabs of this on the net, some good, some just plain rubbish, and the main reason most people struggle with this is that he recorded it in open Bb tuning on the original recording, so recreating it in standard tuning is a bit of a headache to say the least. But we're going to have a look at that particular tuning, and learn a version of it that will be extremely recognisable, if not maybe an exact replica of Knoffler's version. So, first things first….

TuningHow's this for a string busting tuning? High E up to F, B up to D, G up to Bb, D up to F, A up to Bb and finally E up to F. That's what he used on the original. However…and you're probably guessed this, reach for your capo, lower everything to open G tuning, put your capo on fret 3 – and hey presto! ….you're back at Bb. So here's how to do it…and note you are only changing the pitch of three strings, so its not difficult and will not put any stress on your guitar neck, as all of these are tuned DOWN!

High E tune DOWN to D
B string stays at B.
G string stays at G
D string stays at D
A string tune down to G
Low E tune down to D.

So low to high you have D, G, D, G, B, D. If you strum all the strings your tuner should register, and you should hear, and nice full G chord. OK so now put your capo on fret three of your guitar and away we go! Incidentally this is the tuning that the Keith Richards has made famous with the Stones….to play You Can't Always Get What You Want slap a capo on fret 5 and play x00000 and x02010 for verses and 222222 during the chorus and you're away…anyway..back the job in hand…

Structure / Chords
Basically the song has the famous intro (which we are also going to use as an interlude between the verses) combined with a strummed verse that fully utilises the open tuning. If you look at the chords you will need you will be surprised to see that there is only one reasonably tricky one – and even that (the F) isn't hard at all once your fingers settle into the shape. Here they are with suggested fingerings -
F 0x4234 Pinky on what would be your high E string, ring on D string, middle on B string, first (pointer) on G string.
C x22222 barre with index (or use index with middle finger also for support)
Bb x00000 easy eh? Look mum, no hands!
Dm x44400 finger this as you normally do an A, but shifted one string up
Gm xx2002 middle on what would be high E, middle on D
F/A xx023x think of this as a Dsus2 but don't hit the high E string or the D string.
Cadd9 x22422 barre the second fret then use pinky to get 4th fret G string.

Now you can't tell me those chords are hard! My advice at this stage would be to practice getting to the F – particularly from the barred C chord. If you feel comfortable playing this F you are home and dry as far as this song is concerned. And if I can play it, trust me, anyone can! I am also not the best at forming those barre's – but it's a whole lot easier when you don't have to bother with the lowest string, you only have to grab the first 5 strings for the C chord.

Note on Timing.
Now, I am no musical genius…far from it. I am also not particularly good at explaining eighth note this and sixteenth note that. So for this song, I am laying it out for you in terms of what chords to play and when, in relation TO THE LYRICS. I am assuming here that you know the song….I will explain in full how to play the intro, but as far as the rest of this one goes, I am just giving you the chords….you will have to make the effort to get the timing right. Having said that, it really isn't difficult at all.

“Grace” chords
In places you will see a chord like this (F). When I have put this, you don't HAVE to play it. What it will mean is that on the original old supple fingers Knoppfler has bunged in a very quick chord change. You don't have to – however once you're up to speed with the song, feel free to try!!! The song doesn't suffer for not playing these chords, think of them as optional extra's.

Without further ado, let's have a look at the intro.

Intro / Interlude
First thing to say is that this is not note for note what Knoffler plays – but it is close! This is the Easy Songs Database after all. This is a perfectly acceptable version of it though. In fact, when I have played this for people, they don't even notice its any different at all. Here it is in tab:

F C
|-4--------4------4----2-|
|-------3--------3----2--|
|-----2---------2----2---|
|---4---4----------------|
|------------------------|
|-0----------------------|
Bb C
|-0--------0---0-0-2--2--|
|-0-----0------0---2—----|
|-----0--------0---2-----|
|---0----------0---2-----|
|------------------------|
|------------------------|

Repeat above three times then end with –

F C
|-4--------4------4----2-|
|-------3--------3----2--|
|-----2---------2----2---|
|---4---4----------------|
|------------------------|
|-0----------------------|

Bb C
|-4--------2--0---------|
|--------0-----------0--|
|------0----------------|
|-0--0------------------|
|-----------------------|
|----------------0------|

So starting at the top…form your F chord. Pluck the two outside strings together, (thumb and ring finger works for me) then play the D string, and then G string, then pinch the B and D strings together and follow that up with an upstroke with your ring finger on the high E string. Practice that bit before moving on. Now – that IS exactly how he starts, I promise you 100% and that bit is the most recognisable part. So take your time to get it right. Then all I do, holding the F chord shape, is a little arpeggio picking down from G string to B string to high E, then end that bar with your index finger barring the second fret on the three treble strings and repeat your picking of the G, B and E strings. Don't rush, you want this to ring out nice and cleanly. That gets you to the end of the first bar.

Now the second bar. First off, pinch the open high E and B strings, let it ring and then do another little arpeggio picking down from the open D string to the high E. Note you don't have to fret any strings at this point. Then do a nice raking downstrum on the open strings, and do a little upstroke on the open high E string. Immediately put your little barre on the second fret, do another sweeping downstroke, and another little upstroke to catch the high E.

So that's the main pattern we're going to use. You will find that as long as you get the first part of each bar right, you will find yourself playing around quite a bit at the end of the bars. That's fine – in fact you'll probably find something you like even more than what I have tabbed.

Now when you have got that pattern down cold, you just need to learn the very last bar that I have put – this one leads into the verses. Nice and easy but sounds great. Start off fretting only the high E at fret 4. Pinch the D string and the fretted high E together, then starting at the D string do another little arpeggio on the D, G, B and high E strings – but change your fretting hand to fret 2 from 4 before you get there, if you see what I mean – refer to the tab. Then take your finger off the second fret and play the high E open, then hit the low E once, the B string once (both unfretted) and launch into a single strum of the F chord to kick off the verse.

Verses
Given that I have gone into such detail on the intro, I am going to skimp a bit on the verses. All you have to do here is decide which chords you are going to do single strums of, and just let them ring, and which ones you're going to strum – as for a pattern he tends to use a rhythmic D dud dud dud u pattern for most of the strummed parts, but in all honesty you can use any pattern you like, just keep the song moving. Even a good old straight eights pattern dudududu will be fine as well. The real secret of this song from a verse point of view is breaking up the strummed parts with a quickly inserted chord, often just played for a quick dud before changing to another chord. A good example of this is in the line that goes –
C Bb (dud)
You shouldn't come around here
C Bb F
Singing up at people like that

Here you're merrily strumming on the C chord (barring the second fret) then just after you sing “here” just take your finger off the fretboard, do a quick dud strum, then immediately plonk your finger back down before you sing “singing”. Again when you get to the word “like” keep your strumming hand going on the open strings as you move to the F chord so you are, in effect, putting a Bb in there too. Practice these two lines and you'll see exactly what I mean, I am sure.

Right I am going to give you the full song and just let you get on with it from here but I am going to help you out a bit with notes as we go. Suggest you copy this into Word or something then you can delete my notes when they aren't needed any more.

Here you go

Romeo and Juliet. By Mark Knoppfler. Open G tuning, capo 3rd fret (open Bb)

Play intro as detailed, three times, fourth time use alternate ending, into..

VERSE ONE
F (one strum)
A lovestruck Romeo,
Dm (one strum) C (for one beat)
sings a streetsuss sere-nade
F C (Dudu)
Laying everybody low
(Strumming starts here)
Dm Bb
with a lovesong that he made
C Bb(udu)
Finds a streetlight…………………
C F
Steps out of the shade, says something like
Bb C
….you and me babe, how ab-out it?
F (Bb)
Juliet says “hey its romeo……….

Dm C dud
you nearly gimme a heart attack”

F C dud
He's underneath the window, she's singing
Dm Bb
“hey la, my boyfriends back..
C Bb dud
You shouldn't come around here,
C (Bb) F
singing up at people like that”
Bb C
…….Anyway, what you gonna do about it? Juli-

chorus (strummed)
F C Dm ( C) Bb ( C)
-et, the dice was loaded from the start, and I
F C Dm ( C) Bb ( C)
bet, and you expl-oded in my heart and I for-
F Bb Dm Bb
-get, I forget…………..the movie song
Gm (F/a)
When you gonna realise …… It was
Bb Dm C
just that the time was wrong, (Juli-)

PLAY INTRO (-ette)

F (one strum)
Come up on different streets
Dm C (1 beat)
– they were both streets of shame
F C (Dudu)
both dirty, both mean
Dm Bb
yes and the dream was just the same
C Bb(udu)
And I dreamed your dream for you……
C F
and now your dream is real
Bb
How can you look at me as if I was
C
just another one of your deals?
F Dm
Well you can fall for chains of silver
Dm C dd
you can fall for chains of gold
F C dud
You can fall for pretty strangers
Dm Bb
and the promises they hold
C Bb dud
You promised me everything
C (Bb)F
you promised me thick and thin
Bb
Now you just say “oh romeo” I
C
used to have a thing with him…Juli-

chorus (strummed)
F C Dm
-et, when we made love,
Bb C
you used to cry I said
F C
I love you like the stars above,
Dm Bb (C)
I love you til I die
F C Bb Dm Bb
There's a place, for us, you know the movie song
Gm F/A
When you gonna realise, it was
Bb C Dm C
just that the time was wrong, Juli-

Play intro - et

F (one strum)
I can't do the talks,
Dm C dud
like they talk on the TV
F C (Dudu)
And I can't do a love song
Dm Bb
… like the way its meant to be
C Bb(udu)
I can't do anything………, but I'd
C F
do anything for you
Bb C
I can't be anything except be in love with you

F Dm
And all I do is miss you,
Dm C dd
and the way we used to be
F C dud
All I do is keep the beat………
Dm Bb
and bad company,
C Bb dud
All I do is kiss you…………
C (Bb) F
through the bars of a rhyme,
Bb
Julie I'ld do the stars with you,
C
any time Juli-

chorus

F C Dm
-et, when we made love,
Bb C
you used to cry I said
F C
I love you like the stars above,
Dm Bb (C)
I love you til I die
F C Bb Dm Bb
There's a place, for us, you know the movie song
Gm F/A
When you gonna realise, it was
Bb C Dm C
just that the time was wrong, Juli-

Play intro four times!

OUTRO
F (one strum)
A lovestruck Romeo,
Dm C
sings a streetsuss serenade

F C (Dudu)
Laying everybody low
Dm Bb
with a lovesong that he made
C Bb(udu) C
Finds a streetlight………………….
C F
Steps out of the shade, says something like

Bb Cadd
…………….you and me babe, how ab-out it?
Bb Cadd
…………….you and me babe, how ab-out it?
Bb Cadd
…………….you and me babe, how ab-out it?

Anyway, I hope a few of you will make the enormous effort required to retune three of your strings :lol: and give this great ballad a try. It really is worth the effort. Should have posted this for Valentine's Day, but missed it.

This one's for my beautiful wife Kathryn who puts up with my playing duff chords so beautifully!

All the best

Matt


   
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Misanthrope
(@misanthrope)
Noble Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 2261
 

Anyway, I hope a few of you will make the enormous effort required to retune three of your strings :lol: and give this great ballad a try. It really is worth the effort. How could we not? :)

I'll be ggiving this one a go over the weekend, thanks!

ChordsAndScales.co.uk - Guitar Chord/Scale Finder/Viewer


   
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nolongerme
(@nolongerme)
Honorable Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 475
 

I've never heard this song before, but i'm going to give it a try. Thanks for the lsesson.


   
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mattguitar
(@mattguitar_1567859575)
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Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 879
Topic starter  

thanks for the feedback - I thought eveyone had ignored this one!

Matt


   
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Vic Lewis VL
(@vic-lewis-vl)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 10264
 

I wouldn't ignore anything you posted Matt - just took a while to get round to it.....

I sort of half-learned this in standard tuning way back in the 80's, played it that way ever since - I always did it in D though, suited my "voice" better.....hmmm, wonder what it'd sound like in open D?

Matt? Matt? Where'd he go?

Seriously though Matt, nice piece of work.....great song, excellent addition.....

:D :D :D

Vic

"Sometimes the beauty of music can help us all find strength to deal with all the curves life can throw us." (D. Hodge.)


   
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mattguitar
(@mattguitar_1567859575)
Noble Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 879
Topic starter  

cheers Vic
Its a nice register to sing in. It must be - i can sing it ha ha!

Matt


   
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Slydog
(@slydog)
Reputable Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 243
 

Matt,

You deserve some kind of award for the outstanding work you do. GuitarNoise needs to start adding your stuff to the lesson pages. Btw, my wife's got the Indigo Girls version of this and I never knew this was a Mark Knopfler song.

Once again, great job!

Paul

Blame it on the lies that killed us, blame it on the truth that ran us down.


   
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Bennett
(@bennett)
Reputable Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 297
 

Just started on this last night. Sounding great so far. And gets me playing with an open tuning.

Good work Matt! 8)

From little things big things grow - Paul Kelly


   
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lars
 lars
(@lars)
Noble Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 1120
 

Great work Matt! will look into it.

- hmmm Making Movies - haven't put that one on for a while - Tunnel of Love, Solid Rock, Les Boys... ah memories... :)

Lars

...only thing I know how to do is to keep on keepin' on...

LARS kolberg http://www.facebook.com/sangerersomfolk


   
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Vic Lewis VL
(@vic-lewis-vl)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 10264
 

You've piqued my curiosity - been messing about the last couple of days with an Acoustic in open E - wonder how this would sound?

HMMMMMMM........

:D :D :D

Vic

"Sometimes the beauty of music can help us all find strength to deal with all the curves life can throw us." (D. Hodge.)


   
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Steelstring
(@steelstring)
Eminent Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 18
 

Hi Matt ... Thanks for this great Work!

I began to learn it today (besides 4 or 5 other song from GN, I'm working on the same time :lol: ) .. and i feel comfortable now with the intro .. and the chords, a really great job you did here. But there's some thing .. that did not let me off almost the whole afternoon .. it's the intro's second part in the first bar - beginning with the Cmaj Chord. I tried to play it along the Song .. but however i emphasised it .. it did not sound the same - whatever i did. Probably it's up to me .. and my lack of skill, but like i said .. it didn't let me off .. so i tried to figure out another possibilty - and now i play it like this:

|-4--------4------4----0---0------2-------|
|-------3--------3--------0------2--h3p2-|
|-----2---------2---------------2----------|
|---4---4---------------------------------- |
|--------------------------------------------|
|-0------------------------------------------|

As for the C .. i Arpeggiopick it .. and then .. after picking the last note (high e string) .. i stay baree .. and hammer on/pull of the g string at the 4th fret. Will continue practicing tomorrow .. it's really a great song.

cheers,

Steelstring

And were an epitaph be my story,
I'd have a short one ready for my own,
I would have written on me on my stone:
I had a Lover's Quarrel with the world.

(Robert Lee Frost)


   
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art&lutherie
(@artlutherie)
Noble Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 1157
 

Great work Matt! will look into it.

- hmmm Making Movies - haven't put that one on for a while - Tunnel of Love, Solid Rock, Les Boys... ah memories... :)

Lars

And let's not forget the classic Skateaway
" When you point your finger 'cause your plan fell through, You got three more fingers pointin' back at you" I always loved that line from the song Solid Rock 8)

Chuck Norris invented Kentucky Fried Chicken's famous secret recipe, with eleven herbs and spices. But nobody ever mentions the twelfth ingredient: Fear!
ChuckNorrisFactsdotCom


   
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