Midnight Cowboy (Rhythm)

Animated Midnight Cowboy (Rhythm) tab by Faith No More on guitar. So easy you'll be playing in minutes.

This is Faith No More's version of the theme tune for Midnight Cowboy. Here we look at the basic chord progression played on rhythm guitar. Afterwards, we'll look at the melody for guitar (taken from the original harmonica melody).

Most of the song involves using the same strumming pattern for each chord:

D - D U D U (Repeat)

The other good news is that the chord shapes are largely the same, making this a great tune for beginners. It's an excellent song to practice building pace with strumming and chord changes.

Because the majority of chords only use the highest 3 strings you may want to curl your thumb over the top of the fretboard and mute the Lowest 3 strings. This Thumb-Muting technique is discussed in our Muting section. Otherwise, be careful with controlling your strumming hand to avoid over-strumming and hitting the lower strings.

Here are the song parts:

Intro: - Just keep alternating between the A major and G major chords. Notice this just involves moving the same chord shape up and down by 2 frets.

Just practice switching between these 2 chords until you get the hang of it. Aim to get the timing good and a reasonable speed. Then move on to the main chord progression.

Main Progression: - Starts by also switching between A major and G major, but don't repeat. Instead, change to F major - D minor - E major. Just keep repeating this progression (play 3 times altogether) until the next song part.

Easiest Part: - This is the easiest part in the song. Jim Martin hits the distortion and just plays 1 chord per bar. The progression is the same as before, except fuller chords are used. You don't need to use distortion, it sounds cool still using acoustic, or a clean channel on your electric guitar. Here's the chords:

A major - G major

Repeat these 2 chords a few times just like the intro, then back to the main progression:

A major - G major - F major - Bb5 - E major

The only difference to the main progression is the Bb5 chord, which is closely related to the D minor chord it replaces. They sound quite similar.

At the end of this section, just go back to switching between A and G major again (on either acoustic or distorted guitar - both play along here). At the end of that, Jim Martin plays this lick, starting on the G major chord. Listen for the use of the whammy bar - he either uses it for vibrato (waver the whammy bar up and down lightly), or bombing the note (depress the bar deeply, hold it and slowly release it back to the bar's resting state).

After that lick, just play out until the end with the good old A major - G major chords again.

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