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How to Play Badfish by Sublime Chord on Guitar

Badfish is a song by the American ska punk band Sublime, released in 1992 as part of their 40 Oz. to Freedom album. The song is a tribute to the reggae legend Bob Marley, who died of cancer in 1981. The title refers to a term used by surfers to describe someone who is addicted to heroin, as Marley was rumored to be.

Badfish is a popular song among guitarists, as it has a simple and catchy chord progression that can be played with or without a capo. In this article, we will show you how to play badfish chords on guitar, using different versions and techniques.

Chord

[Intro]
A Bm G A
A Bm G A
 
 
[Verse 1]
 A                  Bm
When you grab a hold of me
G                            A
Tell me that I'll never be set free
A                  Bm
Well, I'm a parasite
G                              A
Creep and crawl, I step into the night
A            D
Two pints of booze
G                         A
Tell me are you a bad fish too (are you a bad fish too)
 
 
[Chorus]
D                      A
Ain't got no money to spend
D                   A
I hope the night will never end
D              A
Lord knows I'm weak
            D                   E
Won't somebody get me off of this reef
 
 
[Verse 2]
A                       Bm
Baby, you're a big blue whale
G                               A
Grab the reef when all duck diving fails
A                           Bm
I'd swim but I wish I never learned
G                      A
Water's too polluted with germs
A                                  D
I dive deep when it's ten feet overhead
G                       A
Grab the reef underneath my bed (underneath my bed)
 
 
[Bridge]
D                 A
Ain't got no quarrels with God
D                       A
Ain't got no time to grow old
D              A
Lord knows I'm weak
               D                E
Won't somebody get me off of this reef 
 
 
[Solo]
A Bm G A
A Bm G A
 
 
[Chorus]
D                A
Ain't got no quarrels with God
D                       A
Ain't got no time to get old
D              A
Lord knows I'm weak
                 D                E
Won't somebody get me off of this reef

No Capo

The first version of badfish chords we will look at is the one that does not require a capo. This version uses the standard tuning of E A D G B E, and the following chords: A, Bm, G, D, and E. The chord diagrams are shown below:

A Bm G D E
x02220 x24432 320003 xx0232 022100

The strumming pattern for this version is down-down-up-up-down-up, repeated for each chord. The song has a moderate tempo of 92 beats per minute (bpm), so you can practice with a metronome or a backing track to keep the rhythm.

The song structure for this version is as follows:

  • Intro: A Bm G A (x2)
  • Verse 1: A Bm G A (x4)
  • Chorus: D A D A D A D E
  • Verse 2: A Bm G A (x4)
  • Bridge: D A D A D A D E
  • Solo: A Bm G A (x4)
  • Chorus: D A D A D A D E
  • Outro: A Bm G A (fade out)

Capo on 2nd Fret

The second version of badfish chords we will look at is the one that uses a capo on the 2nd fret. This version transposes the song up by two semitones, making it easier to sing along for some vocal ranges. The capo also allows us to use simpler chord shapes, such as open chords and barre chords.

The tuning for this version is still E A D G B E, but with the capo on the 2nd fret, the effective tuning becomes F# B E A C# F#. The chords we will use are: G, Am, F, C, and D. The chord diagrams are shown below:

G Am F C D
320033 x02210 133211 x32010 xx0232

The strumming pattern for this version is the same as the previous one: down-down-up-up-down-up. The tempo is also the same: 92 bpm.

The song structure for this version is as follows:

  • Intro: G Am F G (x2)
  • Verse 1: G Am F G (x4)
  • Chorus: C G C G C G C D
  • Verse 2: G Am F G (x4)
  • Bridge: C G C G C G C D
  • Solo: G Am F G (x4)
  • Chorus: C G C G C G C D
  • Outro: G Am F G (fade out)

Fingerstyle

The third version of badfish chords we will look at is the one that uses fingerstyle technique. This version adds more complexity and richness to the sound, by playing individual notes instead of strumming chords. Fingerstyle also allows us to add some embellishments and variations to the melody and harmony.

The tuning for this version is the same as the first one: E A D G B E. The chords we will use are also the same: A, Bm, G, D, and E. However, we will not play all the strings of each chord, but only the ones that are relevant for the fingerstyle arrangement.

The fingerstyle pattern for this version is based on Travis picking, which involves alternating between the bass notes (played with the thumb) and the treble notes (played with the index, middle, and ring fingers). The basic pattern is thumb-index-thumb-middle-thumb-ring-thumb-middle, repeated for each chord.

The song structure for this version is similar to the previous ones, but with some variations in the intro, solo, and outro. You can find the detailed tabs and notation for this version on Ultimate Guitar.

Conclusion

Badfish is a great song to learn and play on guitar, as it has a simple and catchy chord progression that can be adapted to different levels and styles. Whether you prefer to play with or without a capo, strumming or fingerstyle, you can find a version that suits your taste and skill.

We hope this article helped you learn how to play badfish chords on guitar. If you have any questions or feedback, feel free to leave a comment below. Happy playing!

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