Cannonball Chords

Cannonball chords lesson

Learn how to play Cannonball on one acoustic guitar!

The original recording of ‘Cannonball’ by Damien Rice contains up to 6 guitars playing different lines.

When the song was recorded a technique of layering was used to create several melodies weaved into each other.

Spy Tunes one guitar arrangement is a combination of these parts.

A capo has been used to get in the same key as the original so what you hear is in the key of Bbm, however, you think in the key of Em.

Cannonball chord progression

The Verse progression is simple, mainly varying the extensions of the VI chord to add9min7 and sus4, making teh Verse clearly “in minor”.

For the Chorus ‘Cannonballs’ chords apply the simple I - IV - V movement which puts the Chorus in Major.

This switch between a minor Verse and a major Chorus is pretty common in song writing, ‘Roxanne‘ and ‘Dreadlock Holiday‘ are merely two other examples.

To get the complete TAB for what happens in the video, take the Advanced Guitar Course.

In the course we don’t just learn to play the guitar part note for note, we also play the vocal melody to see how this sits with all other melodies played on the guitar.

We do this because when arranging a song for just one guitar, only a full understanding of the song will do.

Playing around the chords

One of the main techniques the arrangement use is to play around the chords.

This is essential when backing a singer on your own and is best applied using an improvised approach.

To sound great you can’t just play your rehearsed part, you need to also communicate with the singer, hold back when they are active, add flourishes when not.

It is in this space between two musicians the magic of a performance appear.

The first chord, which we think of as an Em, use the chord extensions of 9th and b7th and stem from chord VI and the Aeolian mode.

When you know a chord and the scale the chord comes with it’s easy to add melodies. You just pick random notes from the scale, observe which ones sound best, remember and repeat them.

The more you learn about the song and the modes it contain, the better your parts will sound.

You get the full training of how to play any mode and arrange or one acoustic guitar when you take the Advanced Guitar Course.