Bon Iver – Skinny Love (Tab and Chords)


Bon Iver – Skinny Love (Chords)

UPDATE – Sophie’s Version: I’ve added the video for Sophie Madeleine’s version based on this tab. But her version is one step up (g#C#FG#). So you’ll have to tune up or put a capo on the first fret to play along.

Living in the UK makes it easier to pick an album of the year this year as Bon Iver’s For Emma, Forever Ago didn’t come out over here until 2008. And if you’re not familiar with its charms, get over to his website and download the album’s standout track Skinny Love.

I had a bit of trouble working out how to get this tune onto the uke. It’s obvious he’s using an usnusal tuning and a bit of research turned up that he was using CGEGCC. There are only three notes there (G, C and E) and, happily, they are open uke strings as well. So I tuned the A string down two frets so it’s exactly the same as the G string. From there, this arrangement is very similar to what he’s actually playing.

For the outro (and the intro) I play this:


MP3

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90 Comments

  1. Karen February 16th, 2012 5:49 am

    I just picked up the ukulele two weeks ago and haven’t learned how to read tabs could you explain that to me?

  2. Woodshed February 16th, 2012 2:05 pm

    Karen: There’s a guide to reading tab here.

  3. Anna March 22nd, 2012 9:01 am

    Hey! Thanks so much for this! So exciting!

    Sorry to keep jabbering on about this: the E7+5 chord is really sounding off.. it’s definitely tuned to GCEG and my ukulele is a really nice one.

    I know you may not be able to help.. but is there the possibility that there’s another chord I can sub in instead?

    Thanks again :)

  4. Woodshed March 22nd, 2012 9:20 am

    Anna: Does it improve matters if you take your index finger off the 7th fret and play the string open?

  5. Pablo May 22nd, 2012 1:07 am

    Hi! That’s a great job :-) ! I love this song !
    Just one question…
    In the Chorus [ I told you to be… ], the strum pattern changes ? What it is exactly :-/ ?

    Thanks a lot :-) !

  6. megan June 2nd, 2012 10:15 pm

    Thankyou so much for posting this I looove to play it and you are freakin fantastic :)

  7. Woodshed June 3rd, 2012 11:28 am

    megan: Thanks so much!

  8. Rohan June 4th, 2012 10:12 am

    not sure if you are still checking this page, but I am tuned the same as you (gceg) and whenever I play it on its own it sounds perfect, but whenever I try play with you or sophie the chords clash and it sounds pretty bad, any idea why?

  9. megan June 8th, 2012 1:31 am

    Hey I was wondering if you could tell me the tuning and chords you used on the ukulele for your cover of “You win again” it would make my mommma and grand dad’s day! We are all huge fans :) <3

  10. Abby June 17th, 2012 7:56 pm

    Will I need to tune my ukulele differently in order to play this, or can I just play it down two frets?

  11. Woodshed June 18th, 2012 11:04 am

    Abby: Yes, you need to tune the A-string down two frets.

  12. Karleia June 21st, 2012 3:19 am

    Why is it that in the chorus she looks like shes playing something different than the notes written? She looks like she keeps the finger placement and moves from the bottom of the neck to the top. I don’t think shes playing the notes given in the music. Any help??

  13. Karleia June 21st, 2012 3:31 am

    Just kidding, I figured it out :) Thanks so much for this!! It’s brilliant!! :)

  14. Shaun June 23rd, 2012 11:20 pm

    I also have a concert uke and just retuned it to what you suggested. It sounds way off. I’ll try experimenting with it a little bit more to see what might work for mine.

  15. Caitriona June 27th, 2012 2:04 pm

    I’m a bit of a noob here… And finding myself very confused. I’m tuned at GCEA, is it meant to be tuned differently? I can play G and C fine, and it sort of sounds like Skinny Love, but it still sounds off… Also, I’ve no idea how you are doing the solo-ish bit.. Am I getting ahead of myself by trying to learn something to difficult?

  16. Isabella June 27th, 2012 4:17 pm

    I love this song! I’m having some trouble with the intro though, particularly strumming the 8th and 12th measures. Any suggestions?

  17. Woodshed July 2nd, 2012 4:43 pm

    Caitriona: You have to retune the A string so that it’s the same as the g string. Yeah, this isn’t a beginner-friendly piece.

    Isabella: Both those are just dudududu.

  18. R July 5th, 2012 8:01 am

    Thank you so much for posting! I’m fairly new to the uke, and am used to playing “newbie” songs with just some simple chords so this was a little tricky for me but I figured it out! Sounds really great, thanks.
    One question though- this works for the intro and outro for the song, what are you playing in the middle? I was kind of winging it but it’s not sounding great. Thanks!

  19. Anna July 10th, 2012 8:51 am

    I have a vintage banjo-uke, and am just starting to play. This is the first song that I’ve pieced together and it is sounding great! Thank you for taking the time to arrange this! I think I’ll be coming to your site often, haha.

  20. Woodshed July 10th, 2012 6:05 pm

    R: Glad you got the hang of it! Did you download the chords in the orange box?

    Anna: Very glad to hear it. Look forward to seeing you around!

  21. Mooseman July 28th, 2012 4:30 pm

    This is amazing! Kudo’s

  22. Woodshed July 29th, 2012 7:03 pm

    Mooseman: Thanks very much!

  23. Kayla July 31st, 2012 3:26 pm

    The D7add13 does not souund right.. My ukulele is tuned to GCEG. But it sounds terrible on that chord.

  24. Hagen August 10th, 2012 3:13 pm

    Thanks so much for this, I love it. Please please please can you try and trasnpose the song ‘Towers’ to uke aswell i’ve looked everywhere but it just doesn’t exist and i’ve tried my self, without any success haha. cheers.

  25. Woodshed August 12th, 2012 9:27 pm

    Hagen: Thanks for the suggestion. There’s every chance I’ll do some Bon Iver at some point.

  26. Amelia October 6th, 2012 9:51 pm

    This is great! Getting the intro down was soo exciting. Would you mind sharing the chords for the chorus? Like, “And I told you to be patient. . .kind.?” I can’t for the life of me figure out which chords you’re playing for the chorus but I want to be able to play it all and its causing me trouble. Thanks! (:

  27. Woodshed October 6th, 2012 9:59 pm

    Amelia: Thanks. The chords are in the orange box under the video.

  28. Amelia October 6th, 2012 10:00 pm

    Oh my goodness that’s so obvious, I just didn’t notice it. . .embarrassing, hah. Thank you!

  29. Woodshed October 6th, 2012 10:25 pm

    Amelia: You’re welcome. Don’t worry, you’re not the first to miss it.

  30. Mary November 19th, 2012 1:08 pm

    Thanks so much for the time you took to do this! One question. You mentioned to tune it to gCEG. So do you mean that the top string G is tuned one octave lower than the bottom string G? Is that how you’ve tuned it? I have a tenor uke with both G tuned exactly the same and the D7 chord and E7 chord don’t quite sound right. Thanks for your help.

  31. Woodshed November 20th, 2012 10:55 am

    Mary: Thanks! It’s the same tuning as the other G.

  32. Beth Clifford November 26th, 2012 3:28 am

    Woodshed, you’re so great! I always stop by your site for some fun material to play around. I would love if you threw down some original compositions or songs? Do you have any links to show off your stuff?

  33. Woodshed November 26th, 2012 7:09 am

    Beth: Thanks very much! There are a few originals on my YouTube channel. But this is the only one I still like.

  34. Elliott June 2nd, 2013 1:06 am

    After playing the video multiple times and noticing other comments about the sound difference when playing along I figured out the ukulele is tuned a half step higher. Would have been good to know in the beginning. Any reason why it’s tuned half a step higher?

  35. Elliott June 2nd, 2013 1:15 am

    To play along in tune with video tune strings this way. G#-C#-F-G#

  36. Woodshed June 2nd, 2013 6:21 am

    Elliott: Thanks. Sophie did her version based on these chords rather than the other way round. So the post came before the video. I guess because it was better for her to sing that way. I’ve added a note to the post.

  37. Talia December 16th, 2013 4:01 am

    what are the strumming patterns? im having trouble reading the tabs

  38. Woodshed December 16th, 2013 11:17 am

    Talia: Mostly d – d – – u d u. But there are a couple of bars that are d u d u d u d u.

  39. tbone April 21st, 2016 11:13 pm

    I just got around to this, Al. Thank you. I miss Sophie. She’s a real treasure…(as are you).

  40. Woodshed April 22nd, 2016 5:00 pm

    tbone: Thanks! You’re welcome.

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