Guitar lesson for

This is America

by Childish Gambino

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Overview

The tabs below show an easy, simplified, accessible version of the acoustic riff you hear in this song. I’m not pretending this is β€œexactly” how it’s played in the actual song - but it’s close enough, and I think quite beginner friendly compared to what is actually being played.

Simplified riff, variation 1 of 2

E |––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––|–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––|–
B |––––––––1–––––––––1–––––––3p1–––––|––––––––––––––––––––––––––1––––––––|–
G |––––––2–––––2–––––––2–––––––––2–––|––––––––3–––––––––3–––––––––––0––––|–
D |––3–––––––––––3–––––––3–––––––––––|––––––2–––––2–––––––2––––––––––––––|–
A |––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––|––3–––––––––––3–––––––3––––––––––––|–
E |––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––|–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––|–
     1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +    1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +
     F                                  C7

Simplified riff, variation 2 of 2

E |––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––|–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––|–
B |––––––––1–––––––––1–––––––3p1–––––|–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––|–
G |––––––2–––––2–––––––2–––––––––2–––|––––––––3–––––––––3–––––––5––––0–––|–
D |––3–––––––––––3–––––––3–––––––––––|––––––5–––––5–––––––5––––––––––––––|–
A |––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––|––3–––––––––––3–––––––3––––––––––––|–
E |––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––|–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––|–
     1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +    1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +
     F                                  C7

Understanding chord shapes

No matter which of the two variations you’re playing (above), understand that it’s ideal to position your left hand into the chord shapes below. I show both C7 variations here - use the first position for variation 1 (easier), and the second position for variation 2 (a bit tougher because you’re barring part of the 3rd string).

E –––––––––––––––––––––
B –––1–––––1–––––5–––––
G –––2–––––3–––––3–––––
D –––3–––––2–––––5–––––
A –––––––––3–––––3–––––
E –––––––––––––––––––––
     F     C7    C7   

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