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Big River Tab

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ver1

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BIG RIVER by JOHNNY CASH
Tabbed by Matthew Eldon Verge
2006

Luther Perkins, Johnny Cash'selectric-guitarist, played this with a capo on the
first fret . . . seeing as how this only makes a half step difference, I'm not
clear why, but here it is anyway.  You can play it with ot without the capo,
but it won't sound exactly like the song without it.  The first bit is picked
open, the second bit is palm-muted.

Intro:

E
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
-2-2-2-2------5--5--5--------2-2-2-2-----5--5--5-------------------------------|
---------2-0--3--3--3-0-------------2-0--3--3--3-0-----------------------------|
Open          PM.............Open        PM........


Okay, now, remember that last part because it plays it many times through
the song while he sings.  I'm going to give what the rythm guitar plays here first,
just open chords strummed (listen to the song to get the rythm, it's pointless
trying to write it down here).  This is what Cash plays, although there seems
to also be a mandolin or another guitar capoed very high playing open chords
as well.  I'll put Luther's electric guitar part underneath.  If you're playing
this song by yourself, and not in a band, all you need is this.  If you want
your band to sound even remotely like the original, you want one acoustic guitar
playing the open chords and an electric guitar playing Luther's part. Don't let
the B chord scare you, I've shown you an easy way to play it at the bottom.


      E
Now I taught the weeping willow how to cry,
                                          B7
And I showed the clouds how to cover up a clear blue sky.
E                                                   A
And the tears that I cried for that woman are gonna flood you Big River.
     E                   B7            E
Then I'm gonna sit right here until I die.


Solo (Played by Luther, rythm by Cash):

E
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------|
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------|
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------|
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------|
-2-2-2-2------5--5--5--------2-2-2-2-----5--5--5-----------------------------|
---------2-0--3--3--3-0-------------2-0--3--3--3-0---------------------------|
Open          PM.............Open        PM.......


           A                    E                       B7                  E
------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
-2-2-2-2-----2---2----------------------------------------4---4---------------|
---------2-0---0---0--2-2-2-2-----5--5--5----2-2-2-2-2--2---2---2--2-2-2-2----|
------------------------------2-0-3--3--3--0------------------------------2-0-|
Open       PM.......  Open        PM........ Open    PM..........  Open

Now for Luther's parts during the song . . . they're very, very simple, in fact
they're mostly power chords and variations on the intro.  He does pretty much the
same thing throughout the whole song.  There's not really much of a bass line to
this song, more of a thumping, and his guitar mimics a catchy bass line.  What he
does is almost like strumming open chords, only he just plays the two strings at
a time.  He has a clean sound with a tube amp, which still sound a bit rough.

Now I taught the weeping willow how to cry,
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
---2---2---2---[continue until end of verse]5--5--5-------[revert to prior part]---|
-0-0-0-0-0-0-0------------------------------3--3--3--0-----------------------------|
 PM..............................................................................

...cover up a clear blue sky.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
----------------4---4---4---4----------------------------------------------------|
--------------2-2-2-2-2---2------2---2---2---[continue until chord change]-------|
-------------------------------0-0-0-0-0-0-0-------------------------------------|
PM...............................................................................

...gonna flood you Big River, then I'm gonna sit right here until I die.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
-----------2---2---2-------------------------------------4---4-------------------|
---------0-0-0-0-0-0-0-[continue]----2---2-------------2-2-2-2------2--5-5-5-----|
-----------------------------------0-0-0-0--------------------------0--3-3-3-0---|
PM...............................................................................


And here's the ending, played by Luther and Cash together.
-------------------------------------------------------3-3-3-0--3-3-3-0-----------|
-------------------------------------------------------3-3-3-0--3-3-3-0-----------|
-[Luther Plays:]----------------------[Cash Plays:]----4-4-4-1--4-4-4-1-----------|
-------------------------------------------------------5-5-5-2--5-5-5-2-----------|
------------------5-5-5----5-5-5-----------------------5-5-5-2--5-5-5-2-----------|
------------------3-3-3-0--3-3-3-0---------------------3-3-3-0--3-3-3-0-----------|
                  PM..............

The chords for the rythm acoustic are as follows:
E   B7   A
-0----2---0-------|
-0----0---3-------|
-1----2---3-------|
-2----1---3-------|
-2----2---0-------|
-0----X---X-------|
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Antlives wrote on June 8 2008, 10:15 am

I don't know if this will work or be any help, but I play the little bit at the start like this.

-2-2-2-0----
---------2-0

0 reply
ps22161 wrote on June 11 2008, 03:37 pm

Very good played this along with the record and it sounds perfect

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