Guitar lesson for

Paper Ships

by Dead Mans Bones  •  Lesson #2

Video lesson

No PDF chord sheet exists for this lesson

As of now, I haven't made a printable PDF to accompany this video lesson. If you'd like to request that I make one, shoot me an email. I can't guarantee I'll make a PDF for every older lesson, but it's helpful to know which lessons have the most interest.

Here's a list of the 200+ lessons I have made PDFs for.

Chords w/ lyrics

    G ... B7 ... C ... G ... (x4, with doo-bee-doo-wah)

    G                      B7
    ...Sailed on a ship of paper
          C                        G
    And I sank in the deep of your eyes
    G                     B7
    ...I got lost in your graveyard
          C                 G
    Now I dream on a bed of knives

    G                          B7
    ...I found the map to your maps
    C                        G
    ...I lost the shores for you
    G                         B7
    ...But now I'll never get back
                 C                 G
    'Cause I'm a ghost ship on the blue

          Bm                C
        .....Now, I hold my poems
          Bm              C
        .....For ladies unknown

              Cm              G
            Until my hands go weak
              Cm              G
            Oh.......... I'll be
              Cm              G               Em
            Oh............... la la la la la, la la la la la
              C          Cm     G
            A ghost ship on the blue

    (quieter, let chords ring)
    G                       B7
    ...The birds are in the sky
    C                           G
    ...The land's been gone for days
    G                       B7
    ...And all you left was time-----
       C            G
    To find a solid grave

    (louder, back to normal strumming)
    G                B7
    ...Pirates never loved
    C                 G
    ...The way that I do
    G                  B7
    ...You never said enough
       C               G
    To keep me next to you

    (instrumental break)

          Bm                C
        .....Now, I hold my poems
          Bm              C
        .....For ladies unknown

              Cm              G
            Until my hands go weak
              Cm              G
            Oh.......... I'll be
              Cm              G               Em
            Oh............... la la la la la, la la la la la
              C          Cm     G
            A ghost ship on the blue

Notes and tabs

Guitar chords used

Here is how to play the guitar chords used in this song. It is fairly standard using chords in the key of G, but you have some interesting chords being Cm and B7, which aren’t super common. Just the same, this is a great chord to learn those chords.

       G    B7   C    Bm   Cm   Em

Playing the pre-chorus

One quick trick here – when you switch from the Bm to the C chord, apply your pinky on the 3rd fret of the highest string. This will sound better with the melodic voicing of the song.

      Bm           C        Bm              C
     "So I hold my poems...    for ladies unknown..."

Playing the chorus

Similar to above, there is a little trick you can use here that makes the Cm to G transition easier. Instead of playing the G in open position, play it as a barre chord on the 3rd fret. Because you’ll already have the 3rd fret barred for the Cm, this makes the transition much easier.

        Cm              G        Cm           G
     "Until my hands go weak... ohh..... I'll be..."

Chord progressions

| G . . . | B7 . . . | C . . . | G . . . | x4

"Sailed on a ship of paper..."
| G . . . | B7 . . . | C . . . | G . . . | x4

"So I hold my poems..."
| Bm . . . | C . . . | Bm . . . | C . . . |

"Until my hands go weak, oh..."
| Cm . . . | G . . . | Cm . . . | G . . . |
| Cm . . . | G . . . | Em . . . | C . . . |
| Cm . . . | G . . . |

Good luck!

Thanks for reading! I hope this helped you.

Get my lessons in your inbox!

Every couple weeks I send out an email newsletter with links to whatever new lessons I've made. Sign up here and stay in the loop!

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).

You can also support me on Patreon. For only $3/month you'll get access to a print-friendly PDF of my notes for each new lesson (view free sample).


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 video lessons:

📝 My "song" PDFs are now individually purcasheable! I've arranged a licensing agreement with Musicnotes, a service that lets you buy sheet music. Patreon suppoters get 50% off each purchase. Get the latest info here »   (last updated July 1, 2021)

October 14, 2021

How to Tune Half-Step Down (E-Flat Tuning)

Tips & Techniques  •  Lesson #394

A quick guide to tuning all your strings down 1/2 step (E-flat tuning), which is a very common alternate tuning used in many songs.

Patreon PDF

October 2, 2021

F Chord Cheat Sheet! 7 Easier Ways to Play It

Tips & Techniques  •  Lesson #392

A quick inventory of 8 different ways to play the dreaded F chord, 7 of which are easier than the dreaded six-string barred version.

Patreon PDF

September 28, 2021

Beginner Riffs with Major 7th Arpeggios

Warm-Up Exercise  •  Lesson #390

A quick exercise where I share over 10 riffs based on a single arpeggio shape, using major 7th chord tones. Backing track included!

Patreon PDF

September 19, 2021

Key of C Major Cheat Sheet!

Tips & Techniques  •  Lesson #388

A deep dive into everything you need to know when playing in the Key of C: notes, chords, fretboard map, tips & tricks, easier ways to play the F chord, and plenty more.

Patreon PDF

September 12, 2021

Major Scale Positions & CAGED Chord Shapes

Tips & Techniques  •  Lesson #384

A deep-dive into the common positions of the major scale, and how they each relate to the CAGED chord shapes... which makes it all easier to understand!

Patreon PDF

August 29, 2021

First Electric! 8 Things I Didn't Expect

Tips & Techniques  •  Lesson #386

I recently got my 1st electric guitar, and was surprised how many things immediately confused me. Here's a quick inventory, in case it helps anyone else starting out!

Patreon PDF

Browse my all lessons

By lesson type

By song decade

By musical genre

By guitar technique

By musical key

By popular artist

← back to lesson list