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21 Guns

by Green Day on Guitar
  • OVERVIEW

    The second single from Green Day’s 21st Century Breakdown, 21 Guns is not only a superbly written pop song, but an instrumentally diverse and culturally relevant piece that was the highlight of it’s album. Peaking at number 22 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart, the single has gone platinum multiple times and was nominated for a Grammy in 2010.

     

    21 Guns was the feature soundtrack song for Michael Bay’s Transformer’s: Revenge of the Fallen film. It appeared in two different releases of Harmonix’ Rock Band video game series: Rock Band – Green Day and as downloadable content for the general Rock Band series.

     
    In this video tutorial, we take a look at the 4 chords that make up the verse of the 21 Guns and the power chords that comprise the chorus. The intro and the verse are the same chord progression: a D minor followed by an A sharp major into an F major then finishing with a C major. The chorus starts out rhythmically choppy and progresses into a flowing eighth-note series of power chords reminiscent of older Green Day songs like Basket Case. The power chord progression starts with a C5 power chord on the 4th beat of the bar that precedes the chorus. It then moves into a series of chords that descend down the F major scale. The sequence begins with the F5 power chord followed by an E augmented 5th with no 3rd which goes into a D5 power chord then a C5 power chord followed by an A sharp 5 power chord then another F5 power chord then finally a C5 power chord.

  • TRANSCRIPT

    This is HowToPlayAnySong.com. My name is Joe Wiles with the Rock ‘N Roll Conservatory and in this video tutorial we’re going to talk about Green Day‘s 21 Guns.

     

    Now the cool thing about this whole album 21st Century Breakdown is most of the songs were written on piano and then adapted to guitar and interestingly Billy Joel kept a lot of his lyrics a secret throughout the recording process only revealing them at the end. Now in this video we’re going to take a look at the verse of 21 Guns, the chorus as well as the solo. Let’s get started.

     

     

    Verse

     

     

    Alright there’s four chords to the verse of 21 Guns. The first one is a D minor, it’s going to be an open D string, 2nd fret G, 3rd fret B and 1st fret high E. The next one is an A sharp major.

     

    Now this next one requires you to bar the entire 1st fret with your index finger. I usually use the side of my finger to bar, I’m to use the other three fingers take the 3rd frets of the D the G and the B.

     

    Now you can do it this way but I find it easier to use one finger to do the same job. So it sounds like this. The next chord is a C major, now we’re going to be using the same chord form for the C major. In fact we’re just going to move it up to the 3rd fret, bar the entire 3rd fret and then the 5th of the D, G and B.

     

    That’s a C major we will be playing between those two chords there’s a F major, bar the entire 1st fret and play an E chord form if you’re familiar, your middle finger will be on the 2nd fret of the G.

     

    Your ring finger will be on the 3rd fret of the A and hit the A and your pinky will be on the 3rd fret of the D, Everything else is bared with the 1st fret. Now the chord general order will sound like this, D minor to the A sharp major to the F major to the C major and we’ll just repeat those.

     

    There’s a little difference on the last line of all the verses. In fact we’ll cover it when we get there but on the 4th line of the first verse you’ll go back down to a A sharp back up to C. It’s just cycling those chords and then on the 8th line of the first verse we’ll just stay on A and just let it ring.

     

    This is what that part sounds like to speed all in order and I’ll call out the chords as I do them, one, two, three, four, D minor, A sharp major, F to C again D minor, A sharp major, F major to C, D minor, A sharp major to F major to C major back to A sharp major, to C major and then repeat, D minor, A sharp major to F major to C major and just repeat that cycle. One more time, go down to the A sharp major and just ring it once.

     

     

    Chorus

     

     

    Alright the chorus for 21 Guns starts on the 3rd fret of the A string, 5th fret of the D and 5th fret of the G. We’re just going to hit that real quick. It’s just a little bit before the chorus starts.

     

    When the chorus actually starts we’ll start on the 1st fret of the low E, 3rd fret of the A and 3rd fret of the D. We’ll hit it twice. Then we’ll hit the open low E string, 3rd fret of the A and 2nd fret of the D, we’ll hit it twice.

     

    Then we’ll come and play a 3-finger power chord up on the A string. That’s the 5th fret of the A, 7th fret of the G, 7th fret of the D, hit it twice. Then we’ll slide that down to the 3rd fret and hit it 4 times.

     

    Then we’ll slide this down to the 1st fret 1-2-3. Move it down a string to the 1st fret, the original chord. Then we’ll bring it up to the 3-5-5 of the A-D-G. Now I’m going to play that again and after we’re done playing it again I’m going to end it a little bit different but this is what it sounds like.

     

    Then we repeat the last three chords and the just let those last chords ring. This is what it sounds like to speed. Now keep in mind when I say four we’re going to hit that first C chord which is the 3-5-5 of the A-D-G. So it will sound like this one, two, three.

     

    Thanks for watching I hoped you learned something. Make sure you send us requests for the songs you want to learn. I’ll see you next time.

  • TABS
    21 Guns by Green Day
     
    TABS
     
     
    Verse
     
       1 e & a 2 e & a 3 e & a 4 e & a  1 e & a 2 e & a 3 e & a 4 e & a
       Dm           Bb            F            C
    e||1-------1---0-------------------|1-------1---1-0-0---0---0-------|
    B||3-------3---0---3-------3---0---|1-------1---1-0-1---1---1---0---|
    G||2-------2---0---3-------3---0---|2-------2---2-0-0---0---0---0---| (x3)
    D||0-------0-------3-------3---0---|3-------3---3---2---2---2---0---|
    A||----------------1-------1-------|----------------3---3---3-------|
    E||--------------------------------|--------------------------------|
     
       1 e & a 2 e & a 3 e & a 4 e & a  1 e & a 2 e & a 3 e & a 4 e & a
       Bb                       F
    e||--------------------------------|0-------0-----0-0---0---0-------|
    B||3-------3-----3-3---3---3---0---|1-------1-----1-1---1---1---0---|
    G||3-------3-----3-3---3---3---0---|0-------0-----0-0---0---0---0---|  
    D||3-------3-----3-3---3---3---0---|2-------2-----2-2---2---2---0---|
    A||1-------1-----1-1---1---1-------|3-------3-----3-3---3---3-------|
    E||--------------------------------|--------------------------------|
     
     
    Chorus
     
       1 e & a 2 e & a 3 e & a 4 e & a  1 e & a 2 e & a 3 e & a 4 e & a
       
    e||--------------------------------|--------------------------------|
    B||--------------------------------|--------------------------------|
    G||--------------------------------|------------------------5-------|
    D||--------------------------------|------------------------5-------|
    A||--------------------------------|------------------------3-------|
    E||--------------------------------|--------------------------------|
     
       1 e & a 2 e & a 3 e & a 4 e & a  1 e & a 2 e & a 3 e & a 4 e & a
       
    e||--------------------------------|--------------------------------|
    B||--------------------------------|--------------------------------|
    G||--------------------------------|7---7-----------5---5---5---5---|
    D||3---3-----------2---2-----------|7---7-----------5---5---5---5---|
    A||3---3-----------3---3-----------|5---5-----------3---3---3---3---|
    E||1---1-----------0---0-----------|--------------------------------|
      
    1 e & a 2 e & a 3 e & a 4 e & a  1 e & a 2 e & a 3 e & a 4 e & a
       
    e||--------------------------------|--------------------------------|
    B||--------------------------------|----------------5---6---8-------|
    G||3---3---3---3-------------------|5---5---5---5-------------------|
    D||3---3---3---3---3---3---3---3---|5---5---5---5-------------------|
    A||1---1---1---1---3---3---3---3---|3---3---3---3-------------------|
    E||----------------1---1---1---1---|--------------------------------|
  • LYRICS AND CHORDS
    21 Guns by Green Day
    LYRICS & CHORDS
     
    INTRO
    Dm  Bb  F  C  (x2)
     
    VERSE
     
    Dm     Bb                F        C
    Do you know what's worth fighting for,
    Dm        Bb        F      C
    When it's not worth dying for?
    Dm      Bb        F      C
    Does it take your breath away
    Bb                         C
    And you feel yourself suffocating?
    Dm       Bb         F       C
    Does the pain weigh out the pride?
    Dm        Bb       F        C
    And you look for a place to hide?
    Dm      Bb             F      C
    Did someone break your heart inside?
    Bb                        C5
    You're in ruins
     
    CHORUS
     
    F5   C/E D5
    One, 21 guns
    C5            Bb5
    Lay down your arms
    F5          C5
    Give up the fight
    F5   C/E D5
    One, 21 guns
    C5            Bb5  F5       C5
    Throw up your arms into the sky,
    Bb5   F5    C5
    You and I
     
    VERSE
     
    Dm          Bb     F          C
    When you're at the end of the road
    Dm      Bb       F        C
    And you lost all sense of control
    Dm        Bb           F           C
    And your thoughts have taken their toll
    Bb                                       C
    When your mind breaks the spirit of your soul
    Dm   Bb             F      C
    Your faith walks on broken glass
    Dm      Bb       F       C
    And the hangover doesn't pass
    Dm        Bb   F        C
    Nothing's ever built to last
    Bb                 C5
    You're in ruins.
     
    CHORUS
     
    F5   C/E   D5
    One, 21 guns
    C5            Bb5
    Lay down your arms
    F5          C5
    Give up the fight
    F5   C/E  D5
    One, 21 guns
    C5            Bb5  F5       C5
    Throw up your arms into the sky,
    Bb5   F5    C5
    You and I
     
    BRIDGE
     
    Dm      Bb     F            C
    Did you try to live on your own
    Dm       Bb               F        A
    When you burned down the house and home?
    Dm      Bb         F           A
    Did you stand too close to the fire?
    Bbm                          C
    Like a liar looking for forgiveness from a stone
    SOLO
    F5  C/E  D5  C5  Bb5  F5  C5  (x2)
    Bb5  F5  E5
     
    PRECHORUS
    Dm  Bb  F  C  (x2)
     
    VERSE
     
    Dm        Bb       F           C
    When it's time to live and let die
    Dm      Bb        F       C
    And you can't get another try
    Dm         Bb         F         C
    Something inside this heart has died
    Bb                 C5
    You're in ruins.
     
    CHORUS
     
    F5   C/E  D5
    One, 21 guns
    C5            Bb5
    Lay down your arms
    F5          C5
    Give up the fight
    F5   C/E  D5
    One, 21 guns
    C5            Bb5  F5       C5
    Throw up your arms into the sky
    F5   C/E  D5
    One, 21 guns
    C5            Bb5
    Lay down your arms
    F5          C5
    Give up the fight
    F5   C/E  D5
    One, 21 guns
    C5            Bb5  F5       C5
    Throw up your arms into the sky,
    Bb5   F5    C5
    You and I
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