Everyday I Write the Book
by Elvis Costello
as played by Ron Sexsmith
transcribed by Tom Whelan
There are other tabs for this song, but they didn't look the same as
the version I learned how to play, which is Ron Sexsmith's cover. It's
a bit less problematic to wrap your hands around: there's no funny chords
or difficult fingerings in this version that would otherwise discourage
you from learning it, because I wouldn't have had the patience to transcribe it.
This tab is easy to play live without needing to look at your hands.
In this version the root chord is CC, and when Ron Sexsmith plays it live
he uses capo 2.
CC GG FF GG (repeating)
This main section is the only thing that strays from regular textbook fingerings,
and only because you keep your pinky (or any other finger, but I suggest the pinky)
locked on the 1st string on fret 3. Maybe it's normal to some people, but I had to
get used to it. However, it's simple enough that it only takes a minute to get
comfortable if you feel shaky. The other thing that Ron Sexsmith does with this section
is to do a hammer-on from open to 2nd fret on the 3rd beat of every measure with
whatever finger is on the 2nd fret on ANY string. I hope that made sense.
Just so you know, it takes three runs through this progression to get the lyrics sung
before diving into a verse.
Verse 1 & 4
This is the way the chords progess:
CC EmEm AmAm EmEm AmAm FF EmEm AA DmDm GG
After that it goes right back into the chorus. I didn't bother tabbing the actual
chords, but if you don't know how to play any of these chords than you shouldn't be
trying to play THIS song. But for the sake of those who only know FF as a barre chord
I included the way Ron Sexsmith plays the FF in this particular section of the song and
the DmDm as well.
Verse 2 & 3
Here it is:
AmAm CC FF CC AmAm DmDm GG
And again back into the chorus. Just remember that you hold the AmAm for eternity
in this part (or at least for longer than any other chord). Once again the FF and DmDm
are played as tabbed right above this.
Simply repeat the chords for the chorus ad nauseum.
Now all you have to do is memorize the lyrics extremely well to deliver this song. I don't
think trying to write out how the words match up to the chords would do anybody any good,
because after all this is an Elvis Costello song and he's never sung with the same rhythm
to the words twice in his life. So do it how you like it.
If you've never heard the Ron Sexsmith version of this song, which is what this tab was
made from, I recommend checking it out. It's 180 degrees away from the original and worth
listening to if you want to play this song without the typical Elvis Costello staccato
That's it. Have fun, but keep in mind that this song can be deceptively simple to learn but
can be rather difficult to play out anywhere if you don't get really familiar with it.