Gustavo Santaolalla

21 Grams is a 2003 drama directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu (Birdman, The Revenant).  This was the second collaboration between Santaolalla and Iñárritu. The first was Amores Perros, and the 3rd was Babel for which Gustavo Santaolalla won his second Academy award.

This is the only movie I haven’t seen by Iñárritu — and with a 16 month old at home, it’s unlikely to be fit in anytime soon. My television has been taken over by Mickey Mouse and Doc McStuffins. Nevertheless, I’ve been a fan of the score by Gustavo Santaolalla for a long time.

Gustavo Santaolalla and Alejandro González Iñárritu are perfect for one another. Both the filmmaker and musician imbue a massive flux of emotion in their craft: absolute sorrow to a tender redemption in one act, or song.

This blog has a long history with the music of Gustavo Santaolalla, and the films of Alejandro González Iñárritu. My first ever post was Santaolalla’s Epilogue from Iñárritu’s, Biutiful. You can click here to see that post — and what Intellimusica was like 2011. Believe me, I’m cringing with you.

Since then, my unabashed Gustavo Santaolalla fandom has delivered 55 posts (guitar tabs) and counting. Everything from 21 Grams, to Brokeback Mountain, to The Last of Us has been covered in depth.

(Note: If you find this guitar tab useful, please subscribe to my YouTube channel. You’d be doing me a huge favor. Thank you!)

How to play, Do We Lose 21 Grams?, by Gustavo Santaolalla

You could play this on an acoustic guitar without effects, but for authenticity, I’ll explain how I get this sound:

Gustavo Santaolalla uses a vintage Fender Telecaster for recording. I’m using a 2016 Fender American Special Stratocaster. Do We Lose 21 Grams? has a warm bass tone to it, so I ran my Strat in the neck pickup position. However, the guitar doesn’t matter as much as your amp and effects set up.

I don’t use effects pedals because of the my situation’s dynamic. When I played live in a rock band, I had a great sounding amplifier and a loaded pedal board. I’m simply playing on YouTube now, so I don’t need a live oriented rig. I do need a great sounding practice amp with onboard effects.

Gustavo Santaolalla traditionally plays through a vintage VOX AC30 amplifier. I use the 2016 VOX VT40X. This amplifier has a multi-stage tube in preamp with onboard digital effects. I can actually manipulate the tube expression as well. When I’m playing Do Lose 21 Grams?, I set my amp to the AC30 selection, then add the effects as I need them.

[A few of my clients are well-to-do gear collectors. I’m lucky that I get to play through the best tube amps and vintage guitars at their homes on a weekly basis. I have to say, I’m a minimalist when it comes to gear and these new modeling amps with tube circuitry sound incredible. You’d have to be an expert to tell the difference. Plus you have hundreds of tone and effects combinations on one single amp.]

Once the VT40X is set to AC30, I add two effects: a light hall reverb, and a tremolo effect. The VT40X allows you tap a button for the tempo of the tremolo (wave) effect. I played Do We Lose 21 Grams? on my iPhone and tapped the exact tempo into the amplifier.

You can find a complete list of all of my gear here.

The guitar tab for Do We Lose 21 Grams? is a single page long. This song is very easy to play, and it’s a perfect entry to my Easiest of Easy to Play guitar tab archive. In there, you’ll find legitimate note-for-note guitar tabs that happen to be incredible easy to play. Perfect for beginner guitarists.

The order of play for Do We Lose 21 Grams? looks like this: Verse, Interlude, Verse, Interlude, Outro. The tuning is a Drop-D tuning. Your guitar will be tuned as follows from low to high: D A D G B E

Enjoy, the guitar tab is available below:

Do We Lose 21 Grams?

Please comment to let me know what you think, or if you have any questions.  If you find this guitar tab useful, please subscribe to my YouTube channel. You’d be doing me a huge favor. Thank you!


Written by:

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