Learnin' To Fly

by Tom Petty • Lesson #108 • Nov 25, 2017

Video lesson

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Editor’s notes

In this lesson, I’ll teach you how to play “Learnin’ to Fly” by Tom Petty – complete with chords, tabs, strumming pattern, and rhythm tips. This entire song only uses 4 chords, in the same order, the entire time – so it’s quite easy to get started with! And if you want to take it a step further, there’s good opportunity to add some flourish notes to spice things up. Here’s what’s in the video:

Video timestamps:

  • 0:00 Playthrough
  • 0:39 Greeting
  • 1:47 Chords needed
  • 3:43 Timing & strum pattern
  • 5:11 Adding flourish notes
  • 8:10 Farewell

Chords needed

The entire song uses these 4 chords, in this order, repeating. The pinky on the high E-string (for all chords) isn’t required for the C and Am, but it helps keep the sound consistent. Play whatever version of F you prefer – I like this one (or a 3-string version on the D/G/B strings) because they work well with the flourish-note riff I show below.

E –––3–––        ––––3–––           –––3–––              –––3–––
B –––1–––        ––––1–––           –––1–––              –––0–––
G –––2–––        ––––0–––           –––2–––              –––0–––
D –––3–––        ––––2–––           –––2–––              –––0–––
A –––––––        ––––3–––           –––0–––              –––2–––
E –––––––        ––––––––           –––––––              –––3–––
     F               C                 Am                   G   

Strumming and timing

An easy way to play this is using all down-strums. As such, divide up each chord as follows – and accent the first strum of each chord.

F        C              Am       G
•  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  
>        >              >        >

The same diagram but with counting instead of generic dots (for each eighth note), is as follows:

F        C              Am       G
1  +  2  +  3  +  4  +  1  +  2  +  3  +  4  +  
>        >              >        >

Adding flourish note to your strumming

While doing your regular strumming, try to add/remove the notes shown below. See my video for reference.

See my sheet music for the tabs.

Lyrics w/ chords

See my sheet music for the lyrics with chords.

Good luck!

Let me know if you have questions. I hope this was helpful.

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Hey there! My name is David Potsiadlo, and I'm the creator of the 400+ weekly lessons here at Song Notes, going back to 2013. Here’s my guitar story »

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