Learn to play Elton John – Rocket Man on guitar note-for-note with this tutorial that features video lessons, tabs and songsheet.
Rocket Man, inspired by Ray Bradbury’s short story about an astronaut forced to abandon his family for his profession, remains timeless. Even its remix treatment with Kate Bush’s reggae version and William Shatner’s spoken-word rendition from 1978 has proved this point.
Key: C Major
Beginning your learning of C Major chords may seem unconventional at first, but this chord will serve you well for years to come. A chord’s key identifies which scale and all its notes comprise it.
C Major is a major scale with no flats or sharps, featuring C as its tonic note at its root.
Beginning chord progressions often start here, so familiarizing yourself with its finger positions and learning the chord thoroughly will prove extremely useful. Remember to mute the low E string with your fingertip so as to maintain good tone quality!
Scale: E Major
E major can be broken down to three notes, E, G# and B. The first two serve as root notes of the chord while its third note, known as its perfect fifth, completes it.
A chord’s quality can be determined by how many half-tones exist between its root note and the 3rd and 5th notes in any scale, known as its “triad quality.” This formula is known as “triad quality”.
Chords that are three hours away from your base key signature can add tension to a song and sound really cool, so experiment with these chords until you find one you like.
Verse: C Major
C is an often-used chord in popular music. G major often follows, while many songs use slash chords – which feature bass notes close to their root notes for an easier listening experience – which provide smoother harmonies than their more complex counterparts.
Alternately, another way of playing a C chord is to place your first finger over the 8th fret and barre it, creating what is known as a Cadd9 chord or C/G chord.
Fingering gives you more options for playing a C chord without buzzing, while simultaneously decreasing neck movement. Don’t worry; just remember the tones are still present!
Verse 3: C Major
John Lennon made famous the C Major chord in “Imagine”. Though this chord requires some finger dexterity to play properly, once learned it will quickly become second nature.
Musically, the C Major chord has an upbeat and joyous sound. Carly Rae Jepsen makes use of it in her song ‘Call Me Maybe’; also used by Cee Lo Green and The Bloodhound Gang.
Chords possess their own characteristics and personalities. This is especially evident with C major chords which can be described as V of V chords or dominant chords; you could substitute any major chord for C to achieve similar effects.
Verse 4: E Major
There are various techniques for adding melodies and chords without shifting keys, as demonstrated by The Beatles. George Harrison borrowed a chord two hours away for use as part of Something’s bridge while choruses and middle 8s remained in C major.
Utilizing chords two hours away from your I-chord can add new depth and interest to a song without altering its key. This tip is great for anyone wanting to spruce up their music without changing its key.
Verse 5: C Major
Substituting any major chord for C will achieve similar effects; however, be mindful that this chord doesn’t function as a dominant, in that it does not return back to C Major as its resolution point.
It’s the iii-v progression that gives this song its feel – also referred to as the “50s progression”, as it was popular during that era. Pop and rock songs often use this to prolong tonic; for instance, Paul Simon’s “Still Crazy After All These Years” contains an unusual bridge melody shift into higher register over an ii-v progression.