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Whether you're a serious rocker, or just a laid back guitar player, nothing can be more frustrating than getting stuck on a part when learning a new song. Sure, you could just forget about it and stick to playing the chorus over, and over, and over. Boring!!! You should take your playing seriously, and by that I mean you should take the time to challenge yourself by doing things that might seem hard to you. This is easier said than done, which is why this guide is here. I'm going to be walking you through the sick licks you once heard when you first listened to Say It Ain't So, but could never quite play on guitar. Be warned, learning is always a process that requires practice in order to master. You are going to have to dedicate some time in order to better your playing, but it will surely pay off when you can pick up any girl, just by plucking a few strings.

What you need:

  • Guitar
  • Amp (Optional)
  • Effect Pedals (Overdrive) (Optional)

Before we get started, you're going to need a guitar and some motivation. An amp is optional, but not necessary. You can also use effect pedals to try and replicate the sound from the original song. You can also drop down your guitar's tuning half a step to closer match the song. That's it. Keep in mind that to fully learn any song, you're going to need time and practice.

Step 1: The Sick Intro

It only makes sense to start a song at the beginning. The Intro for this song is not very difficult, but it does take some practice to play smoothly. Here is the tab for the intro.

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Intro Riff x2

E|-------4-----x----------------------0-----------------| |-------4----x-----------------------0-|

B|-4h5-5-----x-------0---4/5-5-5--0-----------------| |-4h5-5-4--x-------0--4/5-5-5--0-|

G|-4h6-6-5--x-----5-----5/6-6-6--1------------9---| |-4h6-6-5--x-----5-----5/6-6-6--1-|

D|-4h6-6-6--x----6------6/7-7-7--2------------9---| |-4h6-6-6--x----6------6/7-7-7--2-|

A|-4-----4-6--x--6-------6/7-7-7---2------9h11----| |-4----4-6--x---6-------6/7-7-7--2-|

E|----------4--x-4--------4/5-5-5---0----0-----------| |---------4--x-4--------4/5-5-5---0-|

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Intro Riff

It might look a little bit scary, but lets break it down. You're going to start off by barring the 4th fret from the A string down to the high E string. This might take some time to completely master, depending on your skill level. Barring entire frets can be very difficult to accomplish, but with practice, it can be done. This barring of the the 4th fret is shape 1.

*Tip- Instead using the flat side of your index finger, use the side of your index finger to bar the 4th fret.

Ok, now that we've barred the 4th fret, hammer on G6, D6, and B5. After the hammer on, strum all the strings without repositioning them. Instead of strumming from the low E string down, do it from the high E string up. It should look like shape 2.

Without moving or repositioning your fingers, move that entire chord shape up one string so that your index finger is now on the low E string instead of the A string. Strum this chord once. It should look like shape 3. After the strum, pluck each individual string once, starting from the low E string and moving down to the B string. Don't pluck the high E string.

Strum the low E and A string from shape 3, but slide immediately one fret up so that you are now like shape 4. You are still playing the exact same chord shape, but in different locations. After the slide, play the D and G strings in the chord, followed by a quick upstroke of the high E,B, and G. This is still shape 4.

After that last upstroke, bring it back to an open E chord, or shape 5. This only gets strummed once. Next, hit the low E string once and then jump up to, and pluck an A9 and hammer on A11. After that, fret a D9 and a G9 and play them together.

*Tip- You can pluck the A11 instead of hammering on and still sounds good. It might be a little difficult at first to play it quickly.

You will then play the exact same riff again, but end on the open E chord. Do not play the open E string followed by the hammer on, and so on. This entire opening riff is played twice.

Congratulations, you've learned how to play the intro. Keep in mind that a lot of these chord shapes are used throughout the song, so it's a good idea to have these down well because it will make learning the verses and chorus much easier.

Step 2: The Chill Verse

The verse is very similar to the intro. The chords are all the same, but they are played a little differently. There is also an additional riff that is played after verse. The riff is exactly like the intro, but ends differently. Here are the tabs.

-

Verse x4, x3

E|------------------0-0-0--|

B|-5---------------0-0-0---|

G|-6--5-5-5--6--1-1-1---|

D|-6--6-6-6--7--2-2-2---|

A|-4--6-6-6--7--2-2-2---|

E|-----4-4-4--5--0-0-0---|

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Intro Riff + Additional Riff 1 x1

E|-------4----x------------------------0-------------|

B|-4h5-5-----x--------0--4/5-5-5--0--------------|

G|-4h6-6-5--x------5----5/6-6-6--1-----------9-|

D|-4h6-6-6--x-----6----6/7-7-7---2-----------9-|

A|-4-------6--x---6------6/7-7-7---2-----9h11---|

E|----------4--x-4--------4/5-5-5---0--0----------|

|--------------------------------------------------|

|-------------------10/12-10--9h10-----9-----|

|-------------9----11/13-11---9h11-----9--9-|

|---9-9h11---11----------------------11-----9-|

|11------------------------------------------------|

|---------------------------------------------------|

*Start of the additional riff

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Verse

Were gonna start off with the chord shape from shape 1. You will play this chord once, but it will be a little different. When you strum this chord, do an upstroke and then immediately mute it with your palm. The chord shape from shape 1 is played once, followed shape 2, which is just a shift in position while still playing the same shape. shape 2 is played three times, and exactly the same way as shape 1, with upstrokes and palm muting. We then play shape 3 once, which is still the same shape as 2, but moved up one fret. We finish the progression on an open E chord, or shape 4, which is played three times. In review, you play shape 1 once, shape 2 three times, shape 3 once, and shape 4 three times. All of these are played with upstrokes and a palm mute in between every upstroke.

*Tip- You can immediately palm mute after every upstroke by bringing your hand down over the strings to mute them. I like to use the side of my palm to mute, so that my hand can return to the strings in a position where it can play the next upstroke without needing readjustment.

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Intro Riff + Additional Riff

After you play the progression four times, you're going to go back to the intro and play the first riff once, but with an additional riff at the end. This riff is played pretty quickly, so make sure to practice it so that you can play it to the right tempo.

  1. Starting at the double 9's at G9 and D9, immediately following the hammer on at the end of the riff, you're going to go back to the 11 at A11.
  2. Play an A11 once.
  3. Play a D9 and then a D9 again, followed by a hammer on, on D11.
  4. Play a G9 and then a D11.
  5. After the D11, play a B10 and a G11 at the same time, but quickly go into a slide, moving up two frets, so that you are now at B12 and G13. When sliding up, you do not need to reshape your chord.
  6. Slide back down to, or play a B10 and G11.
  7. Play a B9 and G9, hammer on another B10 and G11, but then pull off back to a B9 and G9.
  8. Follow that with a pluck to D11 and then back to the double 9's at B9 and G9.
  9. Finally, move the 9's down to G9 and D9 and play that.

After that long and tedious riff, play the verse three more times and then you're ready for the chorus.

*Tip- To really make it sound like the song, try to play along so that your timing matches the actual timing. Be sure to pay attention to how long certain notes are held and what notes are only played for a short second.

Step 3: The Roaring Chorus1

Finally, we made it to the chorus. If you've stuck around this far, I congratualate you. The chorus is perhaps the most distinguishing feature of this song, and probably the reason you are here. The chorus is the exact same chords as the verse, minus a few notes, and played differently. Again, there is an additional riff that is similar to the intro and played after the chorus is played four times.

-

Chorus 1 x4

E|---------------------------------|

B|---------------------------------|

G|-6-6--------------1--1-1------|

D|-6-6--6-6--7-7--2--2-2------|

A|-4-4--6-6--7-7--2--2-2------|

E|-4-4--4-4--5-5--0--0-0------|

-

Intro Riff + Additional Riff 2 x1

E|-------4----x-------------------------|

B|-4h5-5----x--------0--4/5-5-5--9|

G|-4h6-6-5-x-------5----5/6-6-6--9|

D|-4h6-6-6--x-----6-----6/7-7-7--9|

A|-4----4-6--x---6-------6/7-7-7---7|

E|----------4--x-4--------4/5-5-5-----|

|-----------11----9----------------------------------------------------------|

|-----9-12---12---9-12----9----------------------------------------------|

|---9---------------------11---9-11-9b11--8h10p8----6h8p6----6----|

|-9------------------------------------------------------11----------9----6-|

|------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

|------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

*Start of additional riff

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Chorus 1

The chorus starts off with chord shape 1, but instead of barring the entire 4th fret, you are only barring an E4 and A4, while the other notes remain the same. Play this shape twice and then move on to shape 2. You move everything down one string so that you are now playing shape 2, which is also played twice. Move the chord shape up one fret so that it looks like shape 3. Play shape 3 twice and then return to the open E chord, or shape 4, which is played three times. The chorus is played four times.

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Intro Riff + Additional Riff

After the chorus is played, return to playing the intro riff, but note that it is different. This riff is played very quickly, so try to play it as fast as you can, leaving little to no gaps in between the notes. Again, listen closely to the original song in order to really perfect the timing of each note.

  1. Play the intro riff only up to the end of the very first time you slide up a fret. Play the notes that you slid up to twice, but instead of going back to the open E chord, go to an E chord at A7, D9, G9, B9, and play that.
  2. Play a D9, then G9, B9, B12, E11, B12, E9, B9, B12, G11, B9, G9, and G11.
  3. After the G11, return to the G9, but give it a full bend and slide down to G8 as you bring the string back from the bend.
  4. From the G8, hammer on and pull off a G9. Play a D11 following the pull off.
  5. Like the previous hammer on, move to G6 and hammer on and pull off a G8, followed by a D9.
  6. Finish off with a pluck to G6 and then D6.

At the end of this riff, you will return to playing the Verse four more times.

Step 4: The Screaming Chorus 2

After playing the Verse four more time following the Chorus 1, you go back to playing the chorus again, but with a slight twist. The additional bends need to be played fairly quickly and a bent a half step.

-

Chorus 2 x3

E|--------------------------------------------------------|

B|--------------------------------------------------------|

G|-6-6--7brb -brb--------7brb -brb--------1--1-1-|

D|-6-6-----------------6-6---------------7-7--2--2-2-|

A|-4-4-----------------6-6----------------7-7--2--2-2-|

E|-4-4-----------------4-4----------------5-5--0--0-0-|

-

Chorus 2w/o bends x1

E|-----------------------------------|

B|-----------------------------------|

G|-6-6-6-6----------------------1-|

D|-6-6-6-6--6-6-6-6--7-7-7--2-|

A|-4-4-4-4--6-6-6-6--7-7-7--2-|

E|-4-4-4-4--4-4-4-4--5-5-5--0-|

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Chorus 2

The second chorus is very much like the first chorus, but with a few added bends. The bends are pulled a half step, as well as played twice. You only need to pluck the G7 once, and then bend up, release, and then bend up again and release. These bends have to be done quickly in order to sound good and fit the timing of the song. The order of the chords are shape 1, G7 brb, shape 2, G7 brb, shape 3, and then shape 4.The second chorus is played three times before the song plays the regular chorus without the bends, and plays on every beat. This chorus is only played once.

Step 5: The Flaming Bridge

The bridge comes in after the chorus 2, the one without the bends. The bridge itself isn't difficult at all, and is fairly straight forward. Here are the tabs.

-

Bridge x4

E|------------------------------------|
B|------------------------------------|

G|------------------1-1--1----------|

D|------------------2-2--2--5-5--5-|

A|-9-9--9-9-9--9-2-2--2--5-5--5-|

E|-7-7--7-6-6--6-0-0--0--3-3--3-|

-

Pre Solo x1

E|---------------------------|

B|---------------------------|

G|-6----------------1-1-1-|

D|-6---6-6-6--7---2-2-2-|

A|-4---6-6-6--7---2-2-2-|

E|-4---4-4-4--5---0-0-0-|

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Bridge

The bridge is exactly what it looks like. The progression goes from Shape 1, Shape 2, Shape 3, and Shape 4, but there are a few palm mutes in between some of the chords. After hitting a chord twice, palm mute before hitting it for the third time and then switching to the next chord. This goes for all the chords. So play Shape 1 twice, palm mute, play Shape 1 once, play Shape 2 twice, palm mute, play Shape 2 once, play Shape 3 twice, palm mute, play Shape 3 once, etc. On the fourth time through the Bridge, you're going to play Shape 4 eight times before moving on to the Pre solo.

-

Pre Solo

The Pre solo is only played once by the lead guitar before being handed over to the rhythm guitar. Notice that is the same chords as the chorus 1, but it is played similar to the verse. The first chord is played once, the second is played three times, the third is played once, and the fourth is played three times. However, there are no palm mutes between chords in the pre solo.

Step 6: The Mellow Solo

The solo riff can get a little bit technical and is played relatively fast, so work on your speed, but dont sacrifice your accuracy for it. Since the solo is only played on the G, B and high E strings, I will leave out the other strings in order to save some room.

*Note- The solo is actually played by two guitars that go back and forth between this melody, so it might not sound exactly like parts are missing when compared to the actual song.

-

Solo x1

E|-14b15-12-11------11---------------------

B|--------------------14---14-14b15-12----

G|------------------------------------------13-

-

E|-14b15-12-11-----11--------------------------

B|------------------14---14-14b15-12--14b15-

G|----------------------------------------------------

-

E|---------12-16-14h16p14-12------------------

B|-12-14---------------------------16--------------

G|-----------------------------------------------------

-

E|---------12-16-14-12-------------16b17-14h16p12-|

B|-12-14-----------------16-12-14------------------------|

G|-------------------------------------------------------------|

-

Solo

Since the solo is played between two guitars, it wont sound exaclty like the song, but you can still hear each individual part within the solo.

  1. Play an E14 and bend it up to an E15 and return to the E14.
  2. Play an E12 then an E11 followed by a short pause.
  3. Play a B14 then an E12, back to E14, then an E14 again, but with a bend up to a 15 and a release.
  4. Plan a B12 followed by a G13.
  5. Play steps 1 - 3 again, followed by a B12, but then return to a B14 and do another bend. This bend is held for a few counts, so make sure to listen to the song in order to get the correct timing.
  6. Play a B12, then a B14, E12, and E16.
  7. Pluck an E14 and hammer on an E16 and pull off back to an E14.
  8. Play an E12 followed by a B16.
  9. Play step 6, followed by an E14, E12, B16, B12, and B14.
  10. Play step 9 up to the B16 and then play a bend from E16 to E17 and release.
  11. Play an E14 followed by a hammer on, on E16, and then pull off to an E12.

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Post Solo

After the solo, play all of the chorus 2, and then one progression of the Intro Riff instead of two.

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The End

That's it. Congratulations on finishing the song. Learning an entire song is never an easy task, but if you're reading this, then at least you stuck through it till the end. I hope the tips I provided were helpful in your quest of mastering Say it Ain't So by Weezer. Get out there and start raking in the well deserved ladies that come with mastering this song.

<p>Nicely documented!</p>

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