This song might be from Bob Marley, but it’s not a reggae song as you might believe. It’s just a rock-type ballad.
It’s in the key of G and uses only simple open chords.
The intro is kind of like adding a little phrase that’s built around a G chord.
Watch The Fret Hand:
Watch The Picking Hand:
The verses of the song have a chord progression of G, Em, C, G/B, Am.
Not sure how to play a G/B?
Imagine playing the G chord without using the low E string. In effect, the B on the 2nd fret of the A string acts as our lowest note. This chord is used in many songs as a transition chord between the C and Am chords (and vice versa). For example, C, G/B, Am, or Am, G/B, C.
Chords And Lyrics
G Em Em7 Old Pirates, yes, they rob I. C G/B Am Sold I to the merchant ships G Em C G/B Am minutes after they took I from the bottomless pit. G Em Em7 But my hand was made strong C G/B Am By the hand of the Almighty. G Em C D We forward in this generation triumphantly.
G C D G Won't you help to sing these songs of freedom? C D Em C D G C Cause all I ever had, redemption songs, D G C D redemption songs.
G Em Em7 Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery, C G/B Am None but ourselves can free our minds. G Em Have no fear for atomic energy, C G/B D Cause none of them can stop the time. G Em Em7 How long shall they kill our prophets C G/B Am While we stand aside and look? G Em Ooh, some say it's just a part of it. C G/B D We've got to fulfill the book.
Putting It Together
Start out by just strumming the chord once for every measure when the chord changes. Stick with just the basic chords if you wish (avoid the chord variations). This will allow you to focus more on the vocals. Watch out for those keywords where the chords change. Most likely, you notice the change when you hear the song on the radio. Try not to stop if you come to a part you find tricky, even if you mess up. Just keep on going along with the beat. Speaking of the beat, don’t worry too much about the tempo that you are playing at this point. Just try to stay in time
Once you can make it through the song, as outlined in step one, try adding the full strumming pattern. Also, at this point, you may want to start adding the chord variations.
Perform the full song in front of somebody. Don’t be scared, just do it! Use your cheat sheet with the chords and lyrics if you need to. Better yet, do it my memory.
Complete Transcription To “Redemption Song” (PDF)