Brad's Paul Simon Guitar Tablature Page

A word about Paul's guitar tuning

Paul Simon's guitar is very often tuned down between 1/4 and 1/2 tones both in concert and on the studio albums.   Tuning your guitar to the exact pitch can be accomplished by listening to the recordings and playing along while you tune until your guitar sounds like the recording.

If you're tuning with the aid of an electronic tuner, the exact pitch is very often just flat of 1/4 tone down.   So you would tune your guitar 1/2 step down (to Eb Ab Db Gb Bb Eb) on the tuner and then sharpen each string slightly.   On the Korg CA-20 chromatic tuner, you sharpen each string by about +40 Hertz on the scale, almost to the point where the tuner begins to read the Eb string as a flat E, the Ab string as a flat A, and so on.   Again, the right amount can be found by listening to the recordings.

There are some exceptions, though.   For instance, to match the recording for "At the Zoo" at Miami University, you want to tune your guitar to standard pitch (EADGBE) and then capo up 3 frets, just as written on the tab (or, of course, you can tune to a full 1/2 step down and capo up 4 frets).   The same is true for:

Song: Standard tuning with:
    "America" from Paris 1970         capo 3rd fret
    "The Boxer" from Amsterdam 1970         no capo
    "Bleecker Street" (Demo version)         capo 9th fret
    "Cloudy" from Johns Hopkins 1966         capo 4th fret
    "The Dangling Conversation" from 8/23/68         capo 5th fret
    "Duncan" from the 1984 solo tour         no capo
    "Feuilles-O" from Old Friends set         capo 4th fret
    "Homeward Bound" from Miami Univ.         capo 3rd fret
    "Kodachrome" from 1984 solo tour         no capo
    "Old Friends" in Central Park         capo 4th fret
    "A Poem on the Underground Wall" from Miami Univ.         capo 8th fret
    "Something So Right" 1984 solo tour         no capo
    "Song for the Asking" from Paris         no capo
    "St. Judy's Comet" 1984 solo tour         no capo
    "Surfer Girl" from 3/29/2001         no capo
    "Train in the Distance" 1984 solo tour         no capo

For the version of "Fakin' It" on this website from Amsterdam 1970, to match the recording you'll need to tune down just flat of standard pitch (standard pitch -30 Hertz on the Korg CA-20 scale), and then capo the 4th fret instead of the 3rd fret as noted on the tab.   For the versions of "Bridge Over Troubled Water" and "Slip Sliding Away" from the 12 City Solo Acoustic Tour, tune down a full 1/2 step to Eb Ab Db Gb Bb Eb and play with no capo.

To avoid confusion, the capo positions noted in the tabs on this website are for guitars tuned to standard pitch.   To match the recordings accurately, though, for many of the songs (except as noted above), you're going to need to tune all strings down by the 1/4 step mentioned above and capo up one fret higher than is noted on each tab.