Guitar Resources


Poor Tom (By LED ZEPPELIN)
 
Poor Tom by Led Zeppelin
     submitted by Craig Knowles <r6qu@unb.ca>     


Here's a bit for you about Poor Tom.  I don't have the tab
either written down or typed in, and I'm too lazy, but there's
not much to tell you.  The key is the tuning.  Low to high,
it's C-G-C-G-C-E.  So you end up tuning your fourth, fifth and
sixth strings down, and you tune your second string up.  Leave
the first and third string at concert pitch.  Once you do that,
you just strum the strings without any fingering, and you've
got an open-C chord (which is 95% of the song).  Now here's how
to play the rest:

For the parts during the verses such as "Worked for thirty
years, sharin' hopes and fears" you strum the open C-chord
while noodling that little ditty on the first and second
strings.  FYI, here are two variations of that "noodle."  I
only show the tab for the first and second strings b/c the
other four are strummed open.

1st:  2-0   0 3
2nd:      3   0

1st:  2-0   0 2
2nd:      3   0

The dash in between the 2 and the 0 on the first string
indicates a pull-off.  Does this make sense?  Last thing to
tell you about this part--you strum the third, fourth, fifth
and sixth strings open throughout this passage, but it's up to
your sense of which ones to strum and when (use your own
judgment).

Next figure:  this figure is played during the lines "People
think that you can hide from Tom," etc.  Basically, this figure
has two variations from my "open-string" rule on this song.
First, you have a periodic pull-off from the G to the E (from
the third fret to open) on the first string.  Second, you have
a descending "bass" type line from A to Ab to G.  Now here's
the deal.  Technically on record, I think the A-Ab-G descending
part is only played on the third string, _BUT_ I find you get a
much beefier sound (particularly if you're playing by yourself
(i.e. no drums, etc)) if you double that A-Ab-G "bass" figure
on the fifth string as well.  So you use your index and middle
fingers to fret the fifth and third strings, respectively, and
you move down from the 2nd fret to the 1st fret to open, all
the while doing periodic pull-offs (with your pinky) on the
first string.  Here's my best attempt to describe it on paper.

1st 0 0 0 3-0 0 0 0|0 0 0 3-0 0 0 0|0 0 0 3-0 0 0 0|
2nd 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0|0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0|0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0|Ôh)0*0*0*°°Ô3rd 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2|1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1|0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0|
4th 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0|0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0|0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0|
5th 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2|1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1|0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0|
6th 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0|0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0|0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0|


Lest I confuse you, I've only showed the first three (out of
four) measures b/c the fourth measure is all open strummed.
Again, I used a dash to indicate a pull-off.  Lastly, those are
all eighth note strumming patterns--each column has an equal
time value.

Finally, here's the third figure you have to learn.  This
figure has no vocals to it.  The only way to describe it is you
play it after you've played the last figure twice.  The lyric
"What about that grandson(?) on your knee" is the only lyric
ever sung over this figure.  Here's how it is played:

1st     0 0 0 0 0 0|0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0|0 . 0 0 ....
2nd     3 3 3 3 3 3|3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3|4 . 0 0 ....
3rd 2 . 2 2 2 2 2 2|2 2 2 2 2 2/4 4|5 . 0 0 ....
4th 0 . 0 0 0 0 0 0|0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0|0 . 0 0 ....
5th 2 . 2 2 2 2 2 2|2 2 2 2 2 2/4 4|5 . 0 0 ....
6th 0 . 0 0 0 0 0 0|0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0|0 . 0 0 ....

Again, I've given you only two and a half (out of four)
measures this time because the rest are strummed open.  As
before, each column is equal in time.  I have used periods to
indicate places where the string should be left to ring (except
for the four periods at the end of each line, which are meant
as ellipses, to indicate continuation of the open strumming).
The strumming is again eighth-note strumming, the regular ol'
down-up variety.  Lastly, here's the way to play this figure.
For the first 0-2-0-2-3-0 chord, finger the 2, 2 and 3 with
your middle, fourth and pinky fingers so that when it comes
time to make the quick slide to the 0-4-0-4-3-0 chord, your
middle and fourth fingers slide up, and your index finger is
used to fret the 3 on the second string.  Make sense?  I hope
so.  Oh, and of course, you also slide from the 0-4-0-4-3-0
chord to the 0-5-0-5-4-0 chord.  (If you haven't noticed by
now, the "/" signs are for upward slides).

As for the rhythm figure that goes on under the harp solo, I
seem to recall that it follows the open-chord rule.  The
problem with this is, if you don't have a harp, etc., it sounds
boring if you just play open the whole time.  Here's my
solution.  The sixth and fourth strings are tuned in octaves,
as are the fifth and third strings.  You can get nice easy bass
figures by doubling those strings with each other, and playing
blues rip-off lines such as:

1st 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0|0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0|0 ....
2nd 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0|0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0|0 ....
3rd 3 3 X 2 X 3 X X|0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0|0 ....Ôh)0*0*0*°°Ô4th 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0|3 3 X 2 X 3 X X|0 ....
5th 3 3 X 2 X 3 X X|0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0|0 ....
6th 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0|3 3 X 2 X 3 X X|0 ....




Here, the X's indicate muted strings, and the columns are again
of equal time value.  Of course I've given you only two-plus
(out of four measures); the rest should be open-strummed (you
can throw in some 12th, 7th and 5th fret harmonics on all of
the strings at once to help you punctuate the open strumming
parts during the harp solo.  Lastly: (Whew!)  Play the ending
chord so that you get octaves of C.  Play it (low to high):

0-5-0-5-0-0

Well, I hope this helps you out.  In fact, I'm so satisfied of
its completeness that maybe I'll post it someday.  Well, before
I go, I'll let you know that Bron-Yr-Aur (the instrumental from
Physical Graffiti) was recorded using the same C-G-C-G-C-E
tuning.  Pretty cool, eh?  I think Friends from III was also
recorded in this tuning.

Well, I gotta go.  Enjoy!
JCTK
--
--------------------------------------
|  J.C.T. Kelly  jck7u@virginia.edu  |
| "Eat a peach for peace" -D. Allman |
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