Learn how to play the classic Tom Petty tune Breakdown on guitar with Guitar Control instructor Darrin Goodman. Be sure to get the free tabs to go along with this killer guitar lesson.
Hey everybody how’s it going? This is Darrin with GuitarControl.com bringing you this video lesson. Today I want to teach you how to play Breakdown by Tom Petty. So if you’re familiar with this song, the main rhythm of the song is kind of driven by the keyboards. I used to do this song in a cover band back in the day and we didn’t have a keyboard player so we just did it completely on guitar so this is just kind of the rendition of the way that we played it that I wanted to show you. So be sure to click on the link in the description for the tabs and let’s get close up and take a look.
All right so first for the main rhythm of the song that’s like the verses and the intro, chorus is a little bit different and we’ll get to that in a minute. So we just have two chords, we have A minor and G major. So for this A minor the a string is open and I’m on the second fret of the D string with my second finger and I’m on the second fret of the G string with my third finger and I’m on the first fret of the B string with my first finger and the A and high E strings are open… Then for G major my second finger is on the third fret of the low E string, my first finger is on the second fret of the A string, the D and G strings are open, I’m on the third fret of the B string with my third finger and the third fret of the high E with my fourth finger.
Rhythm & Timing
All right so the rhythm for this we’ve got a strum of A minor and then we’re gonna do that percussive strum. So basically what I’m doing here is I’m just muting the strings and just strumming them so it makes that percussive sound and then we go to the G and that’s one measure and that’s basically it, you just repeat that over and over again for the intro and for the verse… just like that. I also wanted to show you because there’s really not a whole lot to that, but it has all these like kind of cool little melody lines that are being played that I wanted to show you how to do.
All right so for the intro on the first measure the second guitar rests and that little melody doesn’t come in until the & of three in the second measure. So we’re on the eighth fret of the high E string with my first finger and then we’re going to just move your first finger from the eighth fret of the E string down to the eighth fret of the B string and then put your third finger on the tenth fret and we’re going to pick that and do a pull-off to that eight to the ninth fret of the G string and use my second finger. So like I said this first note is on the & of three so; one two three & and then for beat four it’s a triplet… so that’s the second measure, but it’s the first measure of where the second guitar comes in. Then we go back to the eighth fret of the B string and back to the tenth fret with a little vibrato and then back to eight again, so it’s… so that’s the third measure and then on the fourth measure we rest. All right so guitar one is still continuing the… and then we’re going to come in with the main hooky melody line that’s being played over this. So we’re going to start here on the 10th fret of the of the B string; now typically I’d probably use my first finger to do this, but I sliced it open yesterday, so it’s not really working for me, so I’m going to be using my second finger, but generally I would use my first. So we’re going to start with the 10th fret of the B string and we’re going to pick that and slide down to the eighth fret and then slide back up to tenth fret and then to the ninth fret of the G string with a little vibrato… Now we’re gonna do the same idea, but we’re gonna start here on the ninth fret of the G string and slide down to the seventh and back up to nine and then to the 7th fret of the D string… Now we’re going to do that same thing on the D string 7 slide down to five back to seven ending on the seventh fret of the A string… so that whole thing… Now that is repeated like I said throughout this and then after you hit that seven you have a quarter note rest and then we’re going to come up here to the fifth fret you’re going to barre your first finger across the first three strings and we’re going to strum all three together and then we’re going to go to the eighth fret of the B string with a little vibrato and then to the fifth fret of the high E string… and then to the fifth fret of the B string, to the seventh fret of the G string and then it just starts over again and it’s on the second time it’s a little different. So after we do the little rake and then to the fifth fret of the B string to the third fret of the G string with a little vibrato and then we’re going to do a pull-off on the G string from the seventh to the fifth fret and then to the seventh fret of the D string and that’s a triplet just like the other thing and then that’s where it leads us into the verse…
All right so then for the verse we just have that same rhythm we were doing before and then that just repeats for a while and at the end of it we an F. So for this F I’m barring my first finger across the first fret of the high E and B strings and I’ve got my second finger on to the second fret of the G string and my third finger onto the third fret of the D string and we strum this as a whole note tied to another whole note; so like one two three four one two three four and then it goes into another verse kind of the same thing again and then uh once we get into the chorus it changes a little bit.
All right so for the chorus we’ve got that same A minor, G and F. So we’ve got A minor and then there’s a rest, so this is like a quarter note and then there’s a rest, eighth note rest to a G and then another rest and then to F, rest, to G and then another rest and then it just starts over again and it repeats that several times and then when it gets to the last part on the chorus we go back to the F again… and then just back back into that same rhythm again…
All right so there you have it. Like I said it’s kind of a different rendition of Breakdown by Tom Petty and it’s pretty easy and fun to play and people really dig this song. That little melody line is really nice, especially if you’re a beginner and you know haven’t really learned a lot of lead things, this is a really good one to kind of get your feet wet with. If you like this lesson be sure to give me a thumbs up and leave a comment down below if you have any questions or comments about this or other guitar related topics. If you’ve not already done so please subscribe to the channel and hit that notification bell so you don’t miss any of the content that we upload throughout the week. Well that is all i have for you today. Thanks for watching and have a great day.