Elton John – Song For Guy – the Ultimate Piano transcription by

(click on image)

This is the first ever accurate note for note arrangement that meticulously and faithfully recreates Elton John’s original 1978 recording of Song For Guy.

It includes arranged sections for the more able pianist which incorporate some of the overdubbed parts as an effective solo. It also includes what Sir Elton was originally playing. Finally, you will be able to sound EXACTLY like Elton John! ENJOY!

This is the ultimate authentic piano version of Elton John’s original Song For Guy, preserved for posterity by

Transcribing Elton John’s original 1978 recording of Song For Guy

This was my first transcription of Elton John’s music. I soon discovered that Sir Elton overdubbed the piano part to thicken the texture and add left hand bass notes at various points. That may account for the some of the difficulty other arrangers have had making an accurate transcription. Not all the notes can be played at the same time, but most of them can.  In the official video Elton mimes to the recording and does not play exactly what he recorded. There are many consistencies though. I had to use the visual evidence but also trust my ear with what notes I can definitely hear, judging where notes were likely to be overdubbed. Overtones (sounds that are not actually being played) are always a distraction and there is always a danger of hearing more notes than are actually there. It was very difficult!

Why does it matter getting every note exactly as Elton John performed it?

It sheds light on Elton’s artistry and voice as an artist. If chord voicings are not correct it will not sound right. That’s why none of the published transcriptions truly sound like the original recording. Sharing the minds of great artists is always fulfilling and educational. It is also great fun to play and hear iconic music as it would have originally sounded!

The frustration of mediocre transcriptions.

From a young age, it frustrated me that transcriptions of jazz piano, pop songs or TV themes were simplified versions that did not recreate the sound of the original. In many cases these terrible arrangements could be justified by needed to produce a simple version for a majority of people to be able to play. But even in advanced piano publications, major publishers are guilty of employing there chosen people to do jobs which they are either mediocre or useless at. Some may be gifted performers, but at transcribing they are hacks.

Transcribing note for note is painstaking and laborious. It is only through decades of experience and with perfect pitch that I have been able to excel at this. Each transcription is a puzzle where the answers do not necessarily reveal themselves until later on in the song where an idea is repeated or varied. It needs cross referencing different parts of the recording. It is never easy and I am not beyond making mistakes. The challenge to catch those mistakes after repeated listening on different devices and not to assume anything! I understand why so many arrangements are terrible, but I have no sympathy with people who cannot really hear the notes and make money from it. Unfortunately there is a sea of mediocrity now on the internet with transcription service sites and poor arrangements. My task is to try and be heard above all of this.

Elton’s music.

From hearing the iconic sound of Song For Guy on the radio and TV as a boy to enjoying many of Elton’s classic songs I have certainly been influenced a little by Elton John’s music – certain gospel / blues chord changes and his ballade playing style. He has his own unique voice and it has always been the sensitive side of his music that speaks to me most.