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Tom Petty - Free Falling, guide for newbies

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

Greetings all. Especially newbies !!!!

I have been looking at the various tabs on the net and also at the versions already existing on the ESD here at Guitarnoise - it struck me that this is a good song for beginners and would make a good choice for a basic tutorial which this post basically is. For those of you more experienced players, you might find some of this a bit basic - this is aimed specifically at newbies and is laid out as such. DO NOT BE PUT OFF BY THE FANCY CHORD NAMES - they are just as easy to play as any of the open chords (like C, Em etc) that you might be learning.

Its a good choice because 1. The chords are easy 2. The changes are nice and slow for the mostpart. 3. you can add more improvisation as you go along (see "mixing it up" at the end).

CapoFirst off you'll need a capo on the third fret. The song is in the key of F for those that are interested, we can reaplicate that key by sticking a capo on the third fret and playing in D.

Chords
Note - I will tell you what fingers to use later on.
D xx0232
Dsus2 xx0230
Dsus4 xx0233
Asus4 x02230

StructureThe song consists of a verse section and a chorus section. Both use the same chord progression. If you want you can play this all the way through the same way - but your audience probably won't thank you for it. I tend to play the verse with single strums for each chord and then strum "properly" for the chorus. More of this later.

Verse
The chord progression here is like this
D Dsus4..........Dsus4 D Asus4.
D Dsus4..........Dsus4 D Dsus2 Asus4.

this repeats throughout the verses.

So first off, let's look at the chords and how to form them, and most importantly how to move between them with the minimum of effort. This is the most important thing to realise when working out your chord progression, seeing if there is a way to move between the chords without moving too much. This song is just perfect to demonstrate that pronciple!

form a D chord. Put your middle finger on the high E string 2nd fret (from the capo! so its at the 5th fret of your guitar - all the rest of the explanations are from the capo, just for clarities sake). Put your first finger on the G string 2nd fret. Then put your ring finger on the B string 3rd fret. Got it? Try strumming the 4 strings nearest the floor, that is don't hit the low E and A strings. You should get a nice sounding D chord (your tuner won't say that - it should say F because of the capo).

Look at your fretting hand. Your pinky looks a bit redundant doesn't it? Stick it next to your middle finger on the high E string, but on the 3rd fret - now strum again.....nice eh? and that's your Dsus4 (xx0233) so that's another chord out of the way, couldn't be easier. Ok now take your pinky AND your middle finger OFF the high E string (leave other fingers in place) - strum again. That's your Dsus2 (xx0230). Wow.....three chords done already!

ok here's the clever bit. From your Dsus2 (so thats xx0230 with first finger on the G string 2nd fret and ring finger on the B string 3rd fret), keeping your fingers in place, fold your middle finger over and above the fretted strings and put it on the D string 2nd fret. Strum that chord - that's your Asus4 (x02230). If you can, try and catch the open A string as well when playing that chord, but not the low E string. In fact, you don't play the low E through the entire song.

So that's all the chords you will need. Hopefully you've got this far without too much bother. If you are struggling, just go back and slowly go through the chords again.

VERSE
A reminder of the progression
D Dsus4..........Dsus4 D Asus4
D Dsus4..........Dsus4 D Dsus2 Asus4.

So using a nice firm downstrum (all this bit is based on once strum per chord) play a D, then add your pinky on the E string to get your Dsus4 and strum once again. As for timing , think of Petty singing "she's a good girl...you want the D to start on "good" and the Dsus4 on "girl". Its not fast, don't worry!!! There is then a pause (keep your fingers in place so the chord continues to ring out) then its strum the Dsus4 again, take pinky off and strum D, fold finger over and strum Asus4.

Base it on the timing of the singing like this

D/Dsus4.............Dsus4/D/Asus
she's a good girl(pause) loves her mama

At this point you should be able to hear the song coming through - if you can give yourself a pat on the back. Obviously it will sound a bit bare - on the record there's another guitar strumming the F chords without a capo (more later on...) but you should get the flavour of it.

You can play the whole verse like this and it will be fine. Totally. However I like to add a little bit more "colour" (stole this off David Hodge, apologies!) on the second line by adding a quick Dsus2 at the end of the line, before you go to your Asus4. Like this -
D/Dsus4 Dsus4/D/Dsus2 Asus
Loves Jesus..........and Am-er-ic-a too

So the start of the line is the same - all you are doing is adding in the chord where you take all your fingers off the high E string. So its one extra downstroke to fit in. Take your time. Get the changes nice and smooth, then concentrate on timing, get it flowing nicely. The last four downstrokes should be quite close together, but think about it - all you are doing is moving your pinky on then off the E string, then taking all fingers off.

Dsus4 - pinky ON goes to
D - pinky OFF goes to
Dsus2 - take middle finger OFF
Asus4 - add the middle finger to the D string 2nd fret.

When you look at it like that its sounds simple. Because it is!

And that, my freinds, is that - at least as far as the verses go. As I said before, you can also play the chorus like it and no one will bat an eyelid at you either. It just sounds a bit repetitive. So let's have a look at a strum for the chorus part.

CHORUS
The most important this here, and I can't stress this enough, is you MUST try and keep the chord changes in the same place, timing wise. I tried this at home last night. Play the verse as I have described above. Now strum it, trying to keep the changes in the right place. Not easy first time is it?

Here's the progression again.
D Dsus4.........Dsus4 D Asus

Here's how I strum it
Down / DownUpDown / Down / Down Down
D.................................Dsus4 (hold onto chord!)
Down / DownUpDown / Down / Down Down
Dsus4..........................D........ Asus4

Just try and keep it rhythmic and flowing. There are a million ways of strumming this, find one you like if you don't like mine.

Mixing It Up
If you have 2 guitarists. One of you play what I have tabbed, the other can strum along with these chords
Fxx3211
F2 xx3311 (probably Fsus - I am no expert!)
F3 xx3011 (ditto!!!)

The other thing you can do is to vary the way you play the verse a bit. I am now putting a little extra strum in here and there just to vary things a bit. You might also find a little solo that you can lob into the silent bit between verses when the intro repeats. The possibilities, my freinds, are endless...

And that's really it. I hope some beginners get hold of this and give it a go. One of the most common complaints is "I can't play a song all the way through......". Well here's your chance to do just that. Here's the lyrics and approximate chord placements. Enjoy!

Matt

Tom Petty – free fallin' (Capo 3rd fret to play to CD)
INTRO
D/Dsus4 Dsus4/D/Asus D/Dsus4 Dsus4/D/Dsus2 Asus
This repeats throughout entire song…

Verse one
D D4 D4 D A4
she's a good girl, loves her mama
D D4 D4 D D2 A4
loves Je-sus and America too
D D4 D4 D A4
she's a good girl, crazy 'bout Elvis
D D4 D4 D D2 A4
loves hors-es and her boy - friend too

repeat intro

verse two
D D4 D4 D A4
it's a long day livin' in Reseda
D D4 D4 D D2 A4
there's a free-way runnin' through the yard
D D4 D4 D A4
and i'm a bad boy, cause i don't even miss her
D D4 D4 D D2 A4
i'm a bad boy for breakin' her heart

CHORUS
D D4 D4 D A4 D D4 D4 D A4
now i'm free free fall-in'
D D4 D4 D A4 D D4 D4 D A4
yes I'm free free fall-in'

verse three
D D4 D4 D A4
all the vampires walkin' through the valley
D D4 D4 D D2 A4
move west down Ventura Boulevard
D D4 D4 D A4
all the bad boys are standing in the shadows
D D4 D4 D D2 A4
and the good girls are home with broken hearts

CHORUS
CHORUS
D D4 D4 D A4 D D4 D4 D A4
now i'm free free fall-in'
D D4 D4 D A4 D D4 D4 D A4
ya i'm free free fall-in'

repeat intro
D D4 D4 D A4
i wanna glide down over Mulholland
D D4 D4 D D2 A4
i wanna write her name in the sky
D D4 D4 D A4
gonna free fall out into nothin'
D D4 D4 D D2 A4
gonna leave this world for a while

CHORUS
D D4 D4 D A4 D D4 D4 D A4
now i'm free free fall-in'
D D4 D4 D A4 D D4 D4 D A4
ya i'm free free fall-in'
D D4 D4 D A4 D D4 D4 D A4
now i'm free free fall-in'
D D4 D4 D A4 D D4 D4 D A4
ya i'm free free fall-in'


   
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dogsbody
(@dogsbody)
Prominent Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 715
 

Well I'm gonna show some appreciation for this one, after all the effort you've put into it.

Nice job Matt! and thanks mate.

:D :D :D :D

Nice to see you back here.

Chris

The guitar is all right John but you'll never make a living out of it! (John Lennon's Aunt Mimi)


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

cheers Chris. Hope things are good with you mate.

I wasn't expecting too much of a response on this one - its already been done on this database, just not in as much detail.

I just love this song and after quite a few goes of trying to play it reasonably well, but struggling with most of the tabs out there, I thought it would be a good idea to make a full blown lesson out of it for newbies.

I hope a few people have a go at this great song!

All the best

Matt


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

I really love this song and lesson, so thanks from me as well mattguitar. I for one really appreciate the lessons that break down a song and then build it back up.

Teenage Fanclub & De La Soul kinda covered this song on the Judgement Night Soundtrack a few years back (I think their version was just called "Fallin'"), well worth digging out for a different take on this classic. Plus any excuse to listen to Teenage Fanclub is a bonus.


   
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mr_clean001
(@mr_clean001)
Estimable Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 88
 

Thanks man for the hard work! This is going to officially be the song I try next. I really love Tom Petty and since I am rally familiar with the song, I figure why not.

Thanks again!

"Practice until you get a guitar welt on your chest...if it makes you
feel good, don't stop until you see the blood from your fingers.
Then you'll know you're on to something!"
- Ted Nugent


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

To anyone who's going to have a go at this as a beginner, the trickiest bit, and yet the biggest bonus to playing it well, is definitely the folding over of the middle finger to fret the D string 2nd fret to go from your D chord to the Asus.

I suggest concentrating on this more than anything, once you get this down the rest really is a piece of cake

thanks for the positive feedback guys.

Happy strumming

Matt


   
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rparker
(@rparker)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 5480
 

The D/Dsus2/Dsus4 combination is on a bunch of songs, as someone pointed out in a different thread a week ago. It's good to have that one in your bag, so lessons learned with this can be applied everywhere.

Roy
"I wonder if a composer ever intentionally composed a piece that was physically impossible to play and stuck it away to be found years later after his death, knowing it would forever drive perfectionist musicians crazy." - George Carlin


   
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Dan T.
(@dan-t)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 5044
 

Really nice job Matt. Thanks!

"The only way I know that guarantees no mistakes is not to play and that's simply not an option". David Hodge


   
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mmdm
 mmdm
(@mmdm)
Estimable Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 130
 

Thanks so much for the extra effort of explaining it all. It really does help. Great song, and I think I'll be able to play it now. :)


   
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cmtsdad
(@cmtsdad)
New Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 1
 

Great help, thanks! :D


   
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Petandro
(@petandro)
Eminent Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 15
 

cheers bro this one is super easy (the verses at least)

great effort


   
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oktay
(@oktay)
Reputable Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 345
 

Great instructions. Thanks a lot.!


   
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medarrah
(@medarrah)
Estimable Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 103
 

Thanks. Im gonna start working on it now. :D


   
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Dave T
(@dave-t)
Reputable Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 239
 

Well done Sir! Very good explanations too.

A patient stepwise approach following your text works real well.

A bit daunting at first, but when it kicks in it sound terriffic!


   
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Clau20
(@clau20)
Reputable Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 351
 

I'm a Tom Petty fan! :D

I've already learned Running Down a Dream and Mary Jane Last Dance!

Nice to have the tab and some tricks with it for Free Falling!

Thanks!

" First time I heard the music
I thought it was my own
I could feel it in my heartbeat
I could feel it in my bones
... Blame it on the love of Rock'n'Roll! "


   
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