Sufjan Stevens: Futile Devices | fingerstyle guitar
Photo by Karl Köhler on Unsplash

Futile Devices

Free audio download on SoundCloud.

Futile Devices is a song by American singer songwriter, Sufjan Stevens. This song is from the soundtrack of, Call Me By Your Name; a 2017 coming-of-age romantic drama film, directed by Luca Guadagnino.

Sufjan Stevens has such a peculiar musicality. He has the linear vocal delivery of Elliot Smith, with an ethereal accompaniment underneath his poetry. Check out the artistry of this live performance. I love how layers build, and the title is introduced in the last moment of song.

You might also like to play…
(My other arrangements from Call Me By Your Name.)

Mystery of Love | fingerstyle guitar + TAB

Visions of Gideon | fingerstyle guitar + TAB

Gear used

For this piece, I used my Cordoba C7 guitar. You can find a current list of my gear here.

How to play Futile Devices | fingerstyle guitar

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The guitar tab for this arrangement is beautifully written across 3 pages. I recommend Futile Devices for intermediate guitar players and up. Enjoy, the guitar tab is available below:

The guitar tab is played straight through from page one to page three:

Intro 2x, verse 4x, Chorus, Bridge

Verse 4x, Outro 2x, End

I’ve written the names of the chord shapes above the tab where applicable to hopefully make the arrangement more efficient to play:

Sufjan Stevens: Futile Devices | fingerstyle guitar

This is my tuning from low to high: B F# B E G# C#. I’m dropping the 6th string an extra whole step.

That’s a little low for most folk’s guitars so I recommend (low to high) C G C F A D. You’re one whole step down and dropping the 6th string an additional whole step.

If you’d rather not fuss with your tuning at all — you can just drop your low E string to D, or D A D G B E

Written by:

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