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Coming in on a Wing and a Prayer.

Guitar Lesson by Kirk Lorange

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For this lesson, I will now be charging a small fee of US $4.95 for the Printable PDF of the TAB/Notation. Click here to order it.

The Lesson explained


What a fun little tune this one is to play. Written in 1943 during WW2 as a morale booster for the allies, it was covered by all the popular singers of the era, including Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby and Sarah Vaughn. The lyrics are wonderful and the original versions included an intro that set the scene for the main content. Have a listen to this great swinging big band version. Ry Cooder also did a great version of it on one of his early albums.

Mine is in Dropped D tuning, so lower that bass string down a whole tone.

There is quite a bit of travelling up and down the fretboard for this one. It'll be good practice for you to lock in those big jumps. The fretboard markers are there for a very good reason so use them. If you're a PlaneTalker you'll have much less trouble with it as you know the trick to seeing it all down there. 

The only part that gave my stiff old hands a bit of strife is the Bm with the high D note at bar 23. Other than that, and the big jumps up and down the fretboard, it's pretty straight forward. 

Chord wise, it stays pretty much in key apart from the E7. If you know your related chords, you'll know that the E chord on the key of D is Em, but you'll also know that you can 'majorize' any of the key's minor chords. That's what has happened here. So, the I-IV and V chords are at the heart of the progression and there's that vi chord there too, the Bm. The Fdim toward the end was my idea. It acts as a substitution for the E7 that occupies that space in the first pass.

So ... enjoy this one. Like I say, it's a lot of fun to play once you get it in your fingers and brain.

I added a recording I did years ago at the end of the video lesson. It's the theme from the classic movie Cool Hand Luke*, a wonderful piece written by Lalo Shiffrin (also known as 'Down Here On The Ground). I was going to fade it out after a few seconds but decided to leave it play out. I'd found the backing track somewhere on the Internet and quickly recognized the progression, so I overdubbed a slide part just for the fun of it.

Not long after I came to Australia I was asked to record 6 tracks for our national broadcaster, The ABC. They told me I could use a full orchestra and that they wanted well known tunes which would be used for fillers when there was a gap in their programming. One of tunes I chose was the theme from 'Cool Hand Luke'. Here is that recording, if you're interested. Bill Motzing wrote the score for the orchestra. It brings back nice memories listening to it now. :-)

*I had learned this by ear just after the movie came out. It took me weeks to get the intricate counterpoint opening guitar part perfected. It was only years later that I realized it was actually two guitars playing that part. I had figured out how to play it all on one guitar!


For this lesson, I will now be charging a small fee of US $4.95 for the Printable PDF of the TAB/Notation. Click here to order it.