Soundgarden – Black Hole Sun (Chords and Tab)

Soundgarden – Black Hole Sun (Chords)

Soundgarden were the most musically adventurous group to come out of the grunge scene. Their songs are peppered with unusual chords and strange time signatures. Both of which crop up in Black Hole Sun.

The progression starts with the sweat G6 and Bb6 chords then lazily descends the neck with trademark grunge melancholy.

I’ve kept that descending move in my arrangement with the chords starting high up the neck. So pay attention to the fret numbers at the side of the chord charts and remember that they’re relative to the capo on the first fret (e.g. the G6 chord is played 8th fret but notated at the 7th fret).

The strangest aspect of the progression comes at the end of the verse. The song is in G but the verse ends with an Ab chord. The chord doesn’t sit comfortably and they leave it hanging in the air. Building up the sinister, unnerving atmosphere and creating tension pushing the song forward into the chorus. Genius piece of songwriting.

Suggested Strumming

Intro and Verse: Here’s a strum you can use for most of the chords in the verse:

d u d u – u d u

Do that once for each chord except the short G – G7 move where you can use this once for each:

d – d u

Here’s how that sounds:


Verse strum

Chorus: I like to switch to this as the main strum:

d – d u d u d u

Again, once for each except the G-G7 where you use d-du.

Solo/Outro Riff

The riff in the solo and outro doesn’t transfer too well to ukulele. So I’d recommend skipping it if you’re performing it.

If you do want to tackle it, I strum down once on each chord except on the B-C move I strum down on the B then slide up to C. Finishing off with down on the F and up-down on the G.

This is where the weird time signature comes in. The riff is 9 beats long. I think of it as a bar of 5/4 followed by a bar of 4/4.

Here’s my best shot at it:


Solo Riff

Twiddly Bits

A post shared by @ukulelehunt on

Here’s a picking tab that combines elements of the backing and lead parts in the verse. Similar to Chris Cornell’s incredible acoustic version.

For the intro, just play this up to the open A-string in bar 3.

Links

Buy it on iTunes
Five Grunge Riffs

View Comments

2 Comments

  1. thenewFabian May 24th, 2017 6:56 am

    This is great!! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Woodshed May 24th, 2017 7:05 am

    thenewFabian: Thanks very much!

Got something to say?