Get the sheet music(2 pages)
- A properly licensed, print-friendly arrangement is available for individual purchase at Musicnotes.com
- This sheet music was designed & hand-crafted by me (David Potsiadlo) with care, providing you with everything needed to both learn and play this song.
- On the fence? Here's a video guide I made showing the purchase & print process.
Patreon supporters: click here to get the 50% off discount code on this purchase
Hey, friends! I had the pleasure of going to the Austin City Limits fest a few weekends back – and without doubt, the band that left the biggest impression on me was the Black Pumas. I’ve had them on repeat most of the past week, and it’s their hit song COLORS (from their debut 2019 album) I’d like to share with you today. Straight up –– give this song a listen! It sounds both old and modern, packing some retro/soul/gospel flavors on top of grooving rock foundation.
- 0:00 Lesson Overview
- 2:32 Chords Used (no capo, Key of F#m)
- 3:56 Chords Used (capo 2, Key of Em)
- 7:10 Strumming Patterns (4 options)
- 11:15 Jangly Intro Riff (w/ tab)
Musically, this song uses an 8 measure chord progression that repeats the entire time. The fact that it never gets old (and they’re able to pull so much out of it) is a real testament to the musical brains behind the band. I’ll be using a capo 2nd fret to simplify to avoid barre chords and make it more strum-friendly.
It’s the diminished chord in particular that provides the real magic in this song. It creates a bass-line walkup between the final three chords of the progression (from D to D#dim7 to the Em) – which is incredibly effective at grabbing the listeners ear. As I note in my video, I very much recommend you check out Michael Palmisano’s Guitar Teacher REACTS video where he dives into this song, giving a solid breakdown of all the music theory concepts at play – especially around the diminished chord. Note, I’m adding the 7th tone to the D#dim chord just to make it easier to play.
Other songs that use this same diminished chord
When learning this song, I realized that this isn’t the first time I’ve encountered this diminish chord shape (D#dim7). Here’s the other lesson I’ve made that use the D#dim7 – and in all cases, it’s following the D-major chord – which creates that walk-up sound.
- Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground by Willie Nelson
- Please Come Home for Christmas by the Eagles
- I Won’t Give Up by Jason Mraz
I hope y’all enjoy! Remember to give Colors a listen, and check out Michael Palmisano’s reaction video if you want a intermediate/advanced breakdown of the theory. Thanks all, and enjoy!
Watch the Black Pumas perform this live in studio
Watch Michael Palmisano’s reaction video to this song
His music theory knowledge is amazing, especially seeing how quickly he can pick this song up and identify what’s going on.
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).
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 my sheet music arrangements. Patreon supporters get 50% off each purchase. Learn more here »
June 22, 2022
A beginner's guide to using GarageBand's Beat Sequencer tool to create custom drum beats! Even if you're a total novice when it comes to drumming (like me), I'll walk you through the basic steps to create rich-sounding drum tracks to play over while practicing or performing.
May 27, 2022
A few years after learning American Girl the way Tom Petty plays it, I returned to it — this time determined to work out a low-key, easy-going fingerstyle arrangement. Here's how it went!
May 22, 2022
As part of my Learning Lead Guitar series, I share a realization I recently had showing different ways to fill out melody lines using triads, double-stops, and harmonized sixths.
May 19, 2022
I answer an audience question about how to go about learning a song (with a tricky riff) for a peformance at a family wedding.
May 12, 2022
After many requests from y'all, I finally created this list of all my beginner-friendly song lessons! These are grouped by key, allowing you to take the chord shapes you already know and find other songs using those same shapes.
May 4, 2022
Two easier ways to play B-minor, using open chord voicings — super helpful to have these in your toolkit. Includes different practice riffs to accompany each chord voicing.
Browse my all lessons
By lesson type
- Full Song Lessons
- Beginner Songs
- Backing Tracks
- Play-Along Covers
- Warm-Up Exercises
- Tips & Techniques
By song decade
By musical genre
By guitar technique
By musical key
By popular artist
- Johnny Cash
- Tyler Childers
- Tom Petty
- Neil Young
- Lynyrd Skynyrd
- Willie Nelson
- John Denver
- Guns N' Roses