Acid Tongue

by Jenny Lewis • Lesson #175 • Sep 22, 2018

Video lesson

Song Sheet Temporarily Unavailable...

For copyright reasons, my printable song sheet is temporarily unavailable while I move it over to Musicnotes.com, a sheet music service that is providing licensing for my song arrangements.

Want me to priortize this song, so the song sheet is ready sooner? Click the button below and let me know – this helps me know which songs to work on next!

Click to Request

Learn more about my library of song sheets & instructional PDFs.

Editor’s notes

In this lesson I’ll teach you how to play “Acid Tongue” by Jenny Lewis. Chords, strumming pattern, intro tab, etc – it’s all here! This was a very dear song to me back when it came out in 2009 – and I 100% recommend the album of the same name. I hope you dig this lesson!

Chords w/ lyrics

(capo 2nd fret)

INTRO

E ––3–––––––3–3–3–3–3–––––––3–––3–3–––
B ––0–––––––0–0–1–1–0–––––––0–––0–0–––
G ––0–––––––0–0–0–0–0–––––––0–––0–0–––
D ––0–––––––0–0–2–2–0–––––––0–––0–0–––   ...play twice
A ––x–––––––x–x–x–x–x–––––––x–––x–x–––
E ––3–––––––3–3–3–3–3–––––––3–––3–3–––
    G           C   G        
    1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +
    D       D U D U D       D   D U   

VERSE

  G                          C
I went to a cobbler to fix a hole in my shoe
            D                         C                      G     C  G
He took one look at my face and said "I can fix that hole in you"
G                             C
...I beg your pardon, I'm not looking for a cure
           D                            C                      G      C  G
I've seen enough from my friends in the depths of the God-sick blues

CHORUS

    G                  Am        G    
    ...You know I am a... liar-------
    G                  Am        G
    ...You know I am a... liar-------
    G                  Am        C            G    C  G
    ...Nobody helps a.... liar------------

       G                                   C
'Cause I've been down to Dixie and dropped acid on my tongue
         D                  C            G     C  G
Tripped upon the land 'til enough was enough
        G                        C
I was a little bit lighter and adventure on my sleeve
        D                C                G    C  G
I was a little drunk and looking for company
     G                                  C
So I found myself a sweetheart with the softest of hands
          D                    C           G      C  G
We were unlucky in love but I'd do it all again

    G                       Am         G     
    ...We built ourselves a... fire-------
    G                       Am         G     
    ...We built ourselves a... fire-------
    G                  Am        C        G     C  G
    ...You know I am a... liar-------

        G          C          G/B       Am (let ring)    G   C  G
        ...And you don't know what I've done

    G                         C
And by the rollin' river is exactly where I was
             D                    C        G      C  G
There was no snake oil cure for unlucky in love
      G                           C    
To be lonely is a habit, like smoking or taking drugs
        D                   C                  G    C  G  
And I've quit them both but man, was it rough

    G                  Am         G
    ...And now I am...... tired-----
    G                  Am         G
    ...It just made me... tired-----
    G                          Am       G
    ...Let's build ourselves a... fire-----
    G                          Am       C       G    C  G
    ...Let's build ourselves a... fire--------

                    (repeat G-C-G as desired to end)

How to play the chords

Here’s the typical positions used for each of the chords needed in this song:

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

Suggested intro chords

In spite of the chord shapes above, I would absolutely recommend learning this 2-finger way of playing a G-major for the intro of this song – as it makes the switch from G-to-C so much easier. See my video lesson for context. Technically, the C below is a “C/G”, but I’ll refer to it as a C for simplicity.

E –––3–––  <= left pinky f.    ––3–––  <= left pinky f.
B –––0–––                      ––1–––  <= left index f.
G –––0–––                      ––0–––
D –––0–––                      ––2–––  <= left middle f.
A –––x–––                      ––x–––
E –––3–––  <= left ring f.     ––3–––  <= left ring f.
     G                           C  

Using the shapes above, you can play the intro G-C-G sequence in the intro as follows:

    G           C   G                
E ––3–––––––3–3–3–3–3–––––––3–––3–3–––
B ––0–––––––0–0–1–1–0–––––––0–––0–0–––
G ––0–––––––0–0–0–0–0–––––––0–––0–0–––
D ––0–––––––0–0–2–2–0–––––––0–––0–0–––
A ––x–––––––x–x–x–x–x–––––––x–––x–x–––
E ––3–––––––3–3–3–3–3–––––––3–––3–3–––
    1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +
    D       D U D U D       D   D U   

Strumming pattern

Here’s an easy strum to get started with. Establish your tempo (1-2-3-4), and then do downstrums on only the 1 and 3 counts.

1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +
D       D      

From there, you can mimic what Jenny Lewis plays through most of the song by doing this. Note, you’ll want to keep your accent on the 1 and 3 counts, but you’ll want to add a subtle “down up” on the “4 +” counts. See my video lesson for reference.

1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +
D       D   D U
>       >      

For strumming the G-C-G sequence (heard in the intro, etc) – refer to this mapping. Basically, you’ll want to maintain the 1 and 3 accented counts, but you also need an additional up-strum on the first “3 +” count, just before switching to the C. Again, see my video lesson for reference.

G           C   G
1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +
D       D U D U D       D   D U
>       >       >       >

Chord progressions

Intro:

G • • C G • • • G • • C G • • •

Verse:

“I went to a cobbler...”

G • • • G • • • C • • • C • • •
D • • • C • • • G • • C G • • •

Chorus:

“We built ourselves a fire...”

Am • • • Am • • • G • • • G • • •
Am • • • Am • • • G • • • G • • •
Am • • • Am • • • C • • • C • • •

Leaving all strings open during chord transitions

It sounds like, on the album recording of this song, the guitarist is using a technique whereby they’re releasing all of their left-hand chord fingers from each chord on the final “down up” strums before each new chord. Specifically, see the sample tab below where the * denotes that I’m picking up all my left hand fingers from the chord - just for the two strums before the next chord comes in. See my video lesson for additional reference.

    G                           *        C                           *
E ––3–––––––3–––3–3–3–––––––3–––0–0–––|––0–––––––0–––0–0–0–––––––0–––0–0––|–
B ––0–––––––0–––0–0–0–––––––0–––0–0–––|––1–––––––1–––1–1–1–––––––1–––0–0––|–
G ––0–––––––0–––0–0–0–––––––0–––0–0–––|––0–––––––0–––0–0–0–––––––0–––0–0––|–
D ––0–––––––0–––0–0–0–––––––0–––0–0–––|––2–––––––2–––2–2–2–––––––2–––0–0––|–
A ––x–––––––x–––x–x–x–––––––x–––0–0–––|––3–––––––3–––3–3–3–––––––3–––0–0––|–
E ––3–––––––3–––3–3–3–––––––3–––0–0–––|–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––|–
    1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +   |  1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +   
    D       D   D U D       D   D U      D       D   D U D       D   D U   

Bridge walk-down

Here’s how to play the bridge walk-down that happens midway through the song:

"And you don't know what I've done...""

E ––3––    –––0––––3––––0––––
B ––0––    –––1––––0––––1––––
G ––0––    –––0––––0––––2––––
D ––0–– => –––2––––0––––2–––– ...let the A-minor ring,
A ––2––    –––3––––2––––0––––    then return to the G
E ––3––    ––––––––––––––––––
    G         C   G/B   Am

Good luck!

Thanks for reading! I hope this helped you.

Unlock My Secret Stash!

Gain instant access to my library of 208 print-friendly cheat sheets! Also includes my extended video lessons, jam tracks, courses, and more.

Join Song Notes Premium

Have questions? Watch video tour »

Browse Related Lessons

Click any tag below to view other lessons I've made in that category:

Enjoy my lessons? Buy me a beer!

If this and my other lessons have proven helpful to you, please consider making a one-time donation to my tip jar. Contributions of any amount help make this project possible (including the many, many hours I put into it).

Fun & Helpful Tools I've Made

Fret Monster

Interactive fretboard map! See the patterns behind every scale in any key.

View

Capo Captain

An easy way to calculate key & chord combinations, for any capo location!

View

Subscribe to my YouTube channel

Be sure to never miss a lesson by subscribing on YouTube. I put out 2-3 new videos every week. These include full song lessons, as well as covers, practice tips, behind-the-scenes updates. Thanks!


Recent Lessons

  • February 16, 2023

    Soulful Lead Guitar with "America the Beautiful"

    Here's a few ways to approach playing melodic lead guitar over America is Beautiful - shown both on an acoustic and electric guitar. Lots of fun!

  • February 8, 2023

    Country Honk by The Rolling Stones

    Let's learn how to play The Stones' acoustic & countrified version of Honky Tonk Women — with all the riffs included!

  • January 31, 2023

    Beginner Blues - New Course Sneak Peek!

    Watch the first three videos of my upcoming course, Beginner Blues Guitar — where I'll teach youthe 12 bar blues, dominant 7th chords, and the shuffle (swing) rhythm.

  • January 23, 2023

    Strumming with Accented Notes

    A deep-dive into this must-know intermediate strumming technique, with step-by-step exercises to get up to speed! Featuring the Green Day song Time of Your Life.

  • January 13, 2023

    Lead Guitar Finger Placement – ft. La Sitiera (The Mavericks)

    Ever find yourself learning a riff, and not being sure which fingers to use? I'll give you a few tips in this video that'll help, no matter what you're playing!

  • January 9, 2024

    Hybrid Fingerstyle - First Steps!

    Let's look at combining percussive strumming with Travis-style fingerpicking melodies. I'll show 4-5 exercises & song examples to get you started.

  • January 6, 2024

    Streets of London by Ralph McTell

    Learn how to fingerpick Ralph McTell's 1969 folk classic! I also show you how to strum it, should you want something a bit easier.

  • December 23, 2023

    Silent Night

    Learn to fingerpick & strum this holiday classic! I'll teach you how to combine the chords with the melody, as well as play it with straightforward strumming in case you want to sing it loud.

  • December 22, 2023

    Joy to the World

    Here's a few ways to combine the melody with chord shapes! Whether played fingerstyle or with a pick, this one is easy to learn and makes for great fun. Sing & normal strumming version included.

  • December 21, 2023

    Blue Christmas (Key of C version)

    An easy-going strum & sing version of the Elvis Presley classic! With plenty of licks, fills, and runs to spice things up along the way.

Browse All Recent Lessons →

Browse All My Lessons

By lesson type

By technique

By musical genre

By decade

By musical key

By popular artist


← back to homepage