Rivers of Babylon

by Sublime • Lesson #10 • Nov 17, 2013

Editor’s Notes

Here’s a guitar lesson teaching you how to play Rivers of Babylon from Sublime’s 1998 acoustic album. This is one of the very first songs I ever learned back on my acoustic guitar back in 1999 – such a fun one to learn. I’ll teach you the chord shapes and also show tabs for the distinctive intro riff. Best of luck with it!

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Chords w/ lyrics

INTRO
    G ... G ... G ... G ...    (see below for tab)
    D ... D ... G ... G ...

VERSE
                     G
    By the rivers of Babylon
                 G
    Where he sat down
                 D
    And there he wept
                       G
    When he remembered Zion

CHORUS
                           G
        Oh for the wicked, carry us away captivity
          C                 G
        Requireth from us a song
        G
        How can we sing King Alpha's song
             D       G
        In a strange land

REFRAIN    
                       G            D
            So let the words of our mouth
                        G             D
            And the meditation of our heart
                 G               D
            Be acceptable in thy sight
                 G
            Over I

    (intro chords)

    By the rivers of Babylon
    Where he sat down
    And there he wept
    When he remembered Zion

        Oh for the wicked, carry us away captivity
        Requireth from us a song
        How can we sing King Alpha's song
        In a strange land

        How can we sing King Alpha's song
        In a strange land

Notes and tabs

Chords Used

Here are the chords used to play this song. Nice and straightforward.

e-|----3----0----2----
B-|----0----1----3----
G-|----0----0----2----
D-|----0----2----0----
A-|----2----3---------
E-|----3--------------
       G    C    D

Intro & Verse Riff

Here is how you play the main riff heard in the intro. You can also play this during the verse sections of the song. Don’t forget to add strumming for each chord – this mainly focuses on the notes you play that lead to each chord. As always, listen along to the song for reference.

e-|---------------------3---|---------------------3---|-
B-|---------------------0---|---------------------0---|-
G-|---------------------0---|---------------------0---|-
D-|---------------------0---|---------------------0---|-
A-|---------2--2--3-----2---|---------2--2--3-----2---|-
E-|---3--3-----------3--3---|---3--3-----------3--3---|-
                        G                         G

 -|---------------------2---|---------------------3---||
 -|---------------------3---|---------------------0---||
 -|---------------------2---|---------------------0---||
 -|---------------------0---|---0--0--2--0--------0---||
 -|---2--2--3--3--2--0------|---------------2--0--2---||
 -|-------------------------|---------------------3---||
                        D                         G

Chord progressions

INTRO
Played with the riff shown above
| G . . . | G . . . | G . . . | G . . . |
| D . . . | D . . . | G . . . | G . . . |

VERSE
"By the rivers of Babylon..."
| G . . . | G . . . | G . . . | G . . . |
| D . . . | D . . . | G . . . | G . . . |

CHORUS
"Oh for the wicked, carry us away..."
| G . . . | G . . . | C . . . | G . . . |
| D . . . | D . . . | D . . . | G . . . |

REFRAIN
"So let the words of our mouth..."
| G . . . | D . . . | G . . . | D . . . |
| D . . . | D . . . | D . . . | G . . . |

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