Paint It Black Tabs

The Rolling Stones band
The Rolling Stones

Paint It Black is a classic from one of the truly fertile periods in the Rolling Stones illustrious career. Many of their popular songs from this late 60's period featured a unique sound or instrument not often associated with rock or pop music, usually because Brian Jones had the ability to walk up to a flute, vibraphone, or in the case of Paint It Black a sitar and play it. The sitar is featured throughout this wonderfully dark and hard grooving classic.

Paint It Black Tablature

When using tablature, remember it is a great short-cut to learning fun, popular music quickly. Click here for help downloading and printing this tablature.



A quick refresher on tablature is that the lines depict the strings of the guitar, from bottom to top the tablature shows the sixth through first strings, and the numbers on the lines indicate which fret on which string is to be played. Fingering is often up to the player.Tips

  • The main thing to consider it the depiction of rhythm. In this particular tablature the rhythm is shown very straight and even.
  • Listen to recording and listen to how Brian Jones plays and Mick Jagger sings the main melodies.
  • Copy the way they accent, phrase and syncopate the music as the rhythm is the most important element of vibrant, soulful music such as this.

Other Sources For Paint It Black Tabs

There are many other sources for tabs for this song, as well.

  • Ultimate Guitar: Ultimate Guitar is one of the most popular tab sites in the Internet. Two transcriptions, posted by different users of the site, demonstrate two different ways to play the song. Try them both out and see which one works best for you. Or take the parts you like from each one and combine them to create the ultimate version.
  • Songsterr: Songsterr offers a few different and unique versions of Paint It Black, each with its own playable midi file. This is an interesting way for a beginning or intermediate guitarist to learn about arranging for solo guitar while using simple tablature.
  • AZ Chords: AZ Chords also has yet another excellent and quite different tab transcription for this classic Stones song. This version explains the use of a capo in the song, and how all the tabs are to be played in relation to the capo.

The Original Sheet Music

At Music Notes, you can find the standard sheet music notation of the official version of the song. Music notes offers a number of affordable versions of the song for many instruments that can be easily and instantly downloaded. In addition to this option, if you would like to learn a number of the Rolling Stones early classics try the following books to expand your repertoire:

  • The Rolling Stones-Aftermath: An essential tab book for all Stones fans, this book has many great songs from the early days of the Stones' career including Paint It Black, Lady Jane and I Am Waiting. It costs around $17.

The History of Paint It Black

Paint It Black, released as a single in 1966, harkens back to the psychedelic sound that the Rolling Stones and other iconic '60s bands like The Beatles and The Doors explored during the years following the Summer of Love. The use of the sitar on Paint It Black is relevant for a few reasons. When The Beatles visited Transcendental Meditation guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in India, George Harrison learned how to play the sitar. When he returned to England, he taught the basics of the instrument to the Stones lead guitarist Brian Jones. Also during this period, jazz saxophonist John Coltrane became enamored with the sound of the great sitar virtuoso Ravi Shankar and that manifested itself in many of Coltrane's famous pieces of the time and his use of the soprano saxophone on his version of My Favorite Things, which influenced so many of the great 60's rock groups. Enjoy playing this wonderful Stones classic and keep listening to great music.

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Paint It Black Tabs