Gustavo Santaolalla: Allowed to be Happy (The Last of Us Part II)
Photo by Andrew Neel | Unsplash

Allowed to be Happy

Free download on SoundCloud.

This is definitely my favorite piece from The Last of Us Part II soundtrack. The chorus section has a slight pop sensibility to it. I love how Santaolalla creates long passages. Each song feels like a journey. This piece was also played at the end of Episode 2 of HBO’s The Last of Us.

As is often the case, Gustavo Santaolalla is playing atypical stringed instruments: the Fender Bass 6, and Ronroco. Allowed to be Happy employs the Bass 6 for the low octave — and the Ronroco for the high octave. Much of Santaolalla’s work on The Last of Part II has a (both a low and high) octave variation of a particular motif. Sometimes they’re in the same song. Other times they’re split into two theme variations. [This makes it tricky when creating a single arrangement for guitar.]

Often, what works in a soundtrack (as a multi-instrumental) won’t work as a lone guitar piece. I sped up the tempo slightly because it felt better for a solo guitar performance.

You might also like to play…

The Last of Us Part II: Grieving + TAB

Gustavo Santaolalla: Longing + TAB

The Last of Us Part II: Unbroken + TAB

Gear used

For this piece, I used my Cordoba C7 Cedar. It’s dark and warm guitar which still retains the high end. It’s perfect for these split octave songs. You can find a current list of my gear here.

How to play Allowed to be Happy | fingerstyle guitar

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The guitar tab for this piece is beautifully written across 2 pages. The order of play is relatively simple:

Verse 2x
Verse #2 (2x)
Chorus #2

You’ll play through the entire two-page passage twice. I recommend this song for intermediate guitar players and up. Enjoy, the guitar tab is available below:

Gustavo Santaolalla: Allowed to be Happy (The Last of Us Part II)

Because Santaolalla is using a Bass-6, the piece must be tuned WAY down to achieve his exact tonality. I think this is unrealistic. So I’ve given you some tuning options:

Option 1 -my guitar is tuned like this from low to high: B E B E G# C#.

Option 2 – a whole step higher: C F C F A D (I really love the way this sounds, and I kinda wished I had played in this tuning.)

Option 3 – just off of standard tuning: D G D G B E (This is easy to achieve, and sounds really great too.)


Written by:

Matthew's dad, Jennifer's husband, bass player - New Invisible Joy, YouTuber, short-film composer, creator of modern content for guitar.