Guitar lesson for

Learnin' To Fly

by Tom Petty

Video lesson

Video timestamps of note:

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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.

E ––––3––––––––3––––––––––––––3––––––––3–––––––––––––––
B ––––1––––––––1––––––––––––––1––0––1––0–––––1––0––––––
G ––––2––0––2––0––––––––––––––2––––––––0–––––––––––––––
D ––––3––––––––2––––––––––––––2––––––––0–––––––––––––––
A –––––––––––––3––––––––––––––0––––––––2–––––––––––––––
E –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––3–––––––––––––––
      1  +  2  +  3  +  4  +  1  +  2  +  3  +  4  +  
      F        C              Am       G

Lyrics w/ chords

  F-C-Am-G (repeat this for the whole song!)

            F       C    Am  G            F     C      Am  G
    Well, I started out........... down a dirty road
    F       C    Am  G       F     C   Am  G
    Started out............. all alone

                          (repeat F-C-Am-G for all verses)

    And the sun went down... as I crossed the hill
    And the town lit up... the world got still

            F           C    Am  G           F         C     Am  G
        I'm learning to fly........... but I ain't got wings
        F      C     Am  G                   F       C     Am  G
        Coming down.................. is the hardest thing

                          (repeat F-C-Am-G for all choruses)

    Well the good old days may not return
    And the rocks might melt and the sea may burn

        I'm learning to fly... but I ain't got wings
        Coming down... is the hardest thing

    Well some say life will beat you down
    Break your heart, steal your crown
    So I've started out, for God knows where
    I guess I'll know when I get there

        I'm learning to fly... around the clouds
        But what goes up... must come down

        I'm learning to fly... but I ain't got wings
        Coming down... is the hardest thing

Good luck!

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

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