I Shot The Sheriff Chords

I Shot The Sheriff chords lesson

Learn how to play I Shot The Sheriff on one acoustic guitar!

Spy Tunes one guitar arrangement of ‘I Shot The Sheriff’ is inspired by the original Bob Marley recording but also by Eric Clapton‘s version.

The verse chord progression is simple and very Aeolian using the IVmaj7 and the IIIm7 to point back to VI.

As there is a capo on, what you hear is in Gm, but you think in Em as you play the Verse: Cmaj7, Bm7 and Em.

The Chorus is even more simple moving just between Em and Am, or VI and II.

The world famous riff at 0:53 following “…and I say” use the minor pentatonic scale.

Playing with a Capo

In the key of Em we get the advantage that every open string is part of the scale.

By using a capo we can capitalise on this phenomenon and put ‘I Shot The Sheriff’ in the key of Em, rather than the more awkward key of Gm.

As the chords are so simple in this key there is plenty of room to play a bass line and even add some licks to the chord changes.

Building a one guitar arrangement

When you build a one guitar arrangement you have to first work out what the most important parts are. To build ‘I Shot The Sheriff’ I focused on:

  1. The bass line
  2. The back beat
  3. The riff

Make sure the bass lines are solid rhythmically and dynamically well pronounced, you can vary it in an improvised way, but it need to be the right notes from he scale.

Decide if double or single back beat work best for you in general, still, keep varying them in relation to vocal.

The riff was at first difficult to get sounding big, therefore the use of open strings has been applied to fatten the sound.

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