This song is beautiful, but it's also kind of repetitive to play and sing.
It's basically a 2-3 chord song depending on how you play it, usually.
I started off with the Jars of Clay version for general rhythm, and spent a
whole bunch of time after that making it much more interesting to both play
It gives a very gospel-y feel. For rhythm, I'd recommend starting out with
the Jars of Clay version (which only use G and C, sooooo repetitive on solo guitar) and
Since we're using very specific chord forms I'll tab them out here.
E A D G B E
G5 3 X 0 0 3 3
G7a 3 X 3 0 0 3
G7b 3 x 3 0 0 1
C/E 0 3 2 0 1 0
C7/E 0 3 2 3 1 0
G6 3 X 2 0 3 3
Em 0 2 2 0 0 X
G11 3 3 0 0 1 0
Gm11 3 3 0 3 1 0
G/B X 2 0 0 3 3
G/D X X 0 0 3 3
G5 G7a C/E C7/E G5 G6 G5
I'll fly away, oh glory, I 'll fly away
G5 Em G11 Gm11 G5
When I die, hallelujah by and by, oh I 'll fly away
The C7/E and Gm11 are very short, almost transitional chords. The G5/G6/G5
just comes in between to liven it up a little.
The verses are very similar to the first chorus line
G/D G7a C/E C7/E G5
Some bright morning when this life is o'er, I 'll fly away
G/B G5 G7a C7 C7/E G5
To a land on God's celestial shore, oh I'll fly away
We continue on pretty much like this, with some variations discussed at the
When the shadows of this life have gone, oh I'll fly away
Like a bird from these prison walls, I’ll fly, oh I'll fly away
Oh how glad and happy when we meet, oh I'll fly away
No more cold, iron shackles on my feet, oh I'll fly away
Just a few more weary days and then, oh I'll fly away
To a land where joy will never end, oh I'll fly away
If you were looking, we didn't use G7b at all. That's because sometimes it's
nice to transition halfway through a G7a to a G7b when you're really kicking
it later in the song, or just play a G7b. It adds to the gospel-y "falling"
sound some, and opens up the strings in another way. Other variations are
available, depending on the tonal quality of your guitar: you may wish to
interchange G5, G/B, G/D, and both full open forms of G. This is roughly how
it plays well on my guitar's tonality.
The reason the C/E and C7/E are so important is that I usually do a bass
note hit just before a chord. Sometimes its good in the middle instead
Anyway, I'll probably be uploading a video tutorial too so you can see how
awesome this version sounds. Taking a 2-chord song and arranging it to sound
nice is very rewarding.
This is marked 'novice' because one could technically play it, but really, the strumming
and especially later on when you let loose and the strings are singing, the fingers can
jammed around a little.