Jeff Buckley, Sin-é (1993)

“Last Goodbye” (Jeff Buckley) Guitar tab - in an alternate key/tuning

by Tim Darling (email) - November, 2014

Music articles

Overview / Summary

“Last Goodbye” is a song from Jeff Buckley’s 1994 album, Grace. It was also performed live before that, such as in the Expanded version of Sin-é from 1993. Most of the guitars are from one guitar tuned to open G (D-G-D-G-B-D). I’ve been a fan of Grace since about 1995 when the singer in my high school band discovered it - at that time it was a rare jewel, not well known, but no one wanted to keep it a secret - and he kept it permanently in his CD player.

When working on performing the Sinatra tracks on a single guitar, I had created a few open tunings that are new to guitars as far as I know which have the strings each tuned 2-3 half steps apart (as opposed to 4-5 which they are typically tuned to). When playing with one of these tunings one day, I played the “Kiss me ...” guitar part of this song on it and just loved the sound of it. So I asked myself: What would it sound like to play a version of this song entirely in that tuning?

This version of the song is shifted up 6 half steps (to key of C#) in general (e.g. the bass line, vocal line, and the main guitar melodies). But the chords and harmonies played on the guitar are very different from Jeff’s because I kept very close to his fingering but of course using a very different tuning. For example, in the main verse riff, he plays the fingering on the left while here I’m playing the one on the right. The root and the sus4->3rd is 6 half steps higher but the harmonies that define the chords are different: he has a root in the bass note, here the 3rd/4th is on the low string. The open A# chord adds a 9th that his chord doesn’t have, etc.:
Download the full mp3 on iTunes or Amazon. (I’d be happy to post it for free, but I have to cover the royalties.)

Guitar, bass guitar, tabs/arrangement: Tim

Vocals: Shelby Lindley Mixed and mastered: Ziv Music
D--0---0-----     					F --0---0-----
B--0---0-----  e.g. D,G,B,D (D6sus4) -> D,F#,B,D (D6)	C#-12--11----- e.g. C#,G#,A#,F (G#6 add9 sus4) -> C,G#,A#,F (G#6 add9)
G-12--11-----						A#--0---0-----
D------------						G#--0---0-----
G-12--11-----						F ------------
D--0---0-----						C#-12--11-----

For the most part, I followed Jeff’s fingering in open G as close as I could in this tuning to get unique sounds (with minor adjustments such as playing what he plays on the G strings on the C# strings, as above). In some cases, I invented new fingerings to create chords similar to the ones he played, when such a direct transposition wouldn’t work.

My point in posting this recording and these tabs is a proof point for myself that these tunings can be used to create unique sounds on the guitar, in a way that is approachable to players familiar with other open tunings, such as open G.

The bass in the original recording (by Mick Grondahl) has many great moments. I had to transcribe it to record this alternate version, which required transposing it up 6 half steps. If it’s useful, here’s a full tab of the original recording. [I used AndreDirk’s youtube video to help tab some of this.]

The song structure is: Intro / Verse 1 / Verse 2 / Break (4 bars) / Chorus (“Kiss me..”) / ad lib (14 bars) / Middle 12 (“Did you say..”) / Verse 3 (“Well the bells...”) / Outro. 87 bpm.

Jeff’s intro   
Play clip   

  (Click for larger image)

Break and chorus (“Kiss me...”)
Play clip   

Chorus chords and how they compare to Jeff’s are covered in the Intro tab above.

Middle 12 (“Did you say...”)
Play clip   

The top line is a guitar version of the strings from the original recording; I couldn’t get it to sound right played on a guitar so I didn’t include it in this version. The last 4 notes of the 67th bar are the most important and they are doubled by the bass, which comes in strong in this version.

Play clip   

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All text copyright © 2014 Tim Darling.