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#----------------------------------PLEASE NOTE---------------------------------#

#This file is the author's own work and represents their interpretation of the #

#song. You may only use this file for private study, scholarship, or research. #

#------------------------------------------------------------------------------##

 

Poor Tom by Led Zeppelin

submitted by Craig Knowles

 

 

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|Ô h) 0*0*0*° ° ÔŒ3rd 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 ....Ô h) 0*0*0*° ° ÔŒ4th 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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