How To Play Zombie | The Cranberries


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How To Play Zombie | The Cranberries

Picture of by Darius Chrobak

by Darius Chrobak

Guitar Couch Lessons

Picture of by Darius Chrobak

by Darius Chrobak

Guitar Couch Lessons

If you are a beginner guitarist and want to learn something really easy, then “Zombie” by the Irish alternative rock band The Cranberries is the perfect song for you. This is one of the songs that absolutely anyone can play in no time!

I have to write a little disclaimer – I chose this song based on how easy it is for a beginner guitarist to master rather than on the message that the song carries. You may not know about it, but “Zombie” by The Cranberries is a kind of protest/political song, you can read a little bit more about it here: https://www.bbc.co..

Song Structure:

Em / Cmaj7 / G6 / Em11/F#

What makes “Zombie” a perfect song for beginners is the simple chord structure and an even simpler strumming pattern. You will need to learn four guitar shapes that are not only very easy to learn but also simple to interlink and memorise together.

Even if you find it difficult to memorise the chords at the beginning, it will become second nature with a little bit of practise – since the verse and the chorus feature the same chords you will repeat the same combination over and over again.

A Few Tips On How To Practice "Zombie"

At first, try to memorise the E minor chord. Practice finding this chord on the guitar – don’t rush, pay attention to the fingering. Once you remember the E minor shape, try to memorise the second chord – Cmaj7.

Now try to work on the transition between these two shapes. For a minute, keep switching between E minor and Cmaj7 over and over again. Take a break for a few seconds and repeat it again.

Once you are familiar with these two, try to add another chord – G6, repeat the process and so on … You want to break the “Zombie” song down into little pieces and slowly build it up until you are familiar with the whole chord progression.

At this stage, we are only focussing on the chords of the song, leave the strumming pattern for later until you are familiar with the chord structure.

Once you are familiar with the chords you are ready to implement the strumming. The great news is that the strumming pattern consists of simple downstrokes, no fancy movements, just hit everything down – it is that easy. 🙂

Start with the E minor chord by strumming it eight times down, then move to the next chord – Cmaj7 and again – strum it eight times, then the next one and so on. At the beginning, aim to play the chord progression only once and then stop without looping it. The reason is that you may be slightly overloaded with trying to synchronise both hands, paying attention to the chords, and so on. The simple break will make a smaller ‘mental’ reset, will refresh your memory and you will be ready to repeat it again!

After a while, you may try to loop it and play it twice, then three times, until you build it up so you can play these chords over and over again. Again, don’t rush, make sure you are relaxed and most importantly – enjoy practising “Zombie”.

If you want to spice it up, then you can play the verse and chorus slightly differently by varying the intensity of your strums or by adding some simple arpeggios.

You will get the best results by strumming the chords with a guitar pick – if you are not used to using a guitar pick, it will be a great way to start practising using one, but of course, you will also get great results by strumming with your thumb or one of your fingers.

Enough of this introduction, let’s watch the video and let me know below how you got on with the song?

Darius | Guitar Couch Lessons


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  1. very simplistic but highly detailed I know that sounds contradictory but that’s the best way for teaching I think you explained it very nicely thank you


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