DB Hall of Fame



DB Hall of Fame




The Guitar Riffs, Themes, Outros of  Charlie Christian


Transcriptions of passages such as heads and outros,
as played by Charlie Christian,
which are not included in the regular “Solos Transcriptions” section

– in standard notation with tablature including left-hand fingering denotation –


•   Charlie Christian’s most popular recording — “FLYING HOME” — 1939 rendering

•   Charlie Christian’s most quoted riffs — “SEVEN COME ELEVEN” — 1940 aircheck

•   Charlie Christian-Lionel Hampton composition — “SHIVERS” — 1939 composite

•   Charles composed this one just prior to the session — “A SMO-O-O-OTH ONE” — 1941 composite

•   Charlie Christian-Count Basie composition — “SHIVERS” — 1940 master take


(Click on the tune title)


< Tempo & Time listed on the introductory pages are averaged for the tunes encompassed in the composites >

Flying Home theme, chords & riffs, outro



Seven Come Eleven intro, theme, riffs, outro

May 28, 1940


Shivers intro, theme, riffs, outro



A Smo-o-o-oth One intro, theme, riffs, outro, coda

Mar 13, 1941


Wholly Cats intro, theme, riffs, outro

Nov 7, 1940

CO 29027-1


< Tempo & Time listed on the introductory pages are averaged for the tunes encompassed in the composites >

Unlike the solos transcriptions, there were some hypothetical assumptions made in the tabulation
of these head-riff-outro charts.  Nonetheless, all of the suppositional tabs are in agreement with the
audible fingering in the recordings and are very much in accordance with
Charlie Christian’s style and manner.


Charlie Christian transcriptions published by others can be referenced in the Clive Downs Bibliography.




Chord Notations and Fingering Symbols:

The chord names placed above the standard notation are the basic harmony of the tune.

The chord names above the tablature represent the chord changes in Charlie Christian’s solo.
Often there is an overlap of one or more notes between chords—the chord names are placed as close as possible to the chord change.

The symbols used to indicate the left-hand fingering employed on the fingerboard are explained in the following table:




i index forefinger
m medius middle
a annular ring
c corto little/pinky
p pollex thumb


ultimus nota bene:

The music scores are not intended as a tutorial – there are many publications available (see the solos bibliography) to instruct the novice guitarist.  The tablatures in particular are designed to document the fascinating manner in which Charlie Christian actually played with so much vibrancy and joie de vivre.


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