Sin City

by Gram Parsons • Lesson #272 • Dec 16, 2019

Hi friends! Here’s a guitar lesson showing you how to play “Sin City” by Gram Parsons / The Flying Burrito Brothers (1969). I’ll explain the capo situation, teach you the chords, the progressions, the strumming, and even show a few ways to play the intro (tabs included).

Up until this week, I’d never heard this song. It came on via some playlist of suggested songs while driving, and immediately stuck its teeth into me. After listening to a few versions, I found that the Beck & Emmylou Harris version (from a Gram Parsons tribute) was actually the most helpful while learning the song – probably because it had the best audio quality, while also being relatively minimal with its solo acoustic guitar. Whether you want to play that version, a different Gram Parsons version, or the original Flying Burrito Brothers version, you should be set with my lesson here.

Lesson timestamps:

  • 0:00 Lesson overview
  • 1:37 Capo notes
  • 3:01 Chords used
  • 4:00 Rhythm & strumming
  • 8:40 Verse & chorus progressions
  • 12:51 Intro riff (3 versions)
  • 19:37 Farewell

Print-Friendly Song Sheet 2 pages

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Play-along cover (#273)

Here’s a play-through cover of the entire song, with chords and lyrics shown as I play it.

Capo notes

Using the chords in this lesson, you can play along with notable versions of this song by using a capo as follows:

  • Capo 1st fret = Flying Burrito Brothers album version
  • Capo 1st fret = Beck & Emmylou tribute album version
  • No capo = Gram & Emmylou “Complete Reprise Sessions”
  • No capo = Flying Burrito Brothers & Gene Clark “Live Radio” version

Recordings of this song

Flying Burrito Brothers original album version:

Beck & Emmylou Harris tribute version:

Gram & Emmylou “Complete Reprise Sessions” – nice stripped down duet, one acoustic guitar:

Cover of this song by “Young America” - best I’ve seen on YouTube!

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