La lettre de Ben

I love this guitar theme from Gustavo Santaolalla. His music for the French crime thriller, Tout nous sépare (All That Divides Us), recently won ‘best score’ at the La Baule Film Festival.

Gustavo Santaolalla’s creativity on a single guitar is off the charts. Santaolalla begins with a concept then slowly builds (and diverges) to a crescendo. All of this, while still playing with restraint and minimalism.

If you like La lettre de Ben, I’ve played nearly all of Gustavo Santaolalla’s film works on guitar. A few of my favorites are:

Brokeback Mountain 1

Amores Perros 

and Pajaros.

Gear Used

My guitar is a modded Eric Clapton Strat, with MojoTone 58 Quiet Coil pickups. I’m running into a Vox AC10 with a Walrus Mayflower overdrive pedal.

The gain on the pedal is set at 9 o’clock — barely on. For La lettre de Ben, I just used the Mayflower to color my clean tone with compression.

You can find all of my current gear here.

How to play La lettre de Ben, by Gustavo Santaolalla

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La Lettre de Ben is the closing theme of Tout nous separe. This gorgeous guitar piece is beautifully written across three pages.

I recommend this song for intermediate guitar players and up. There’s a fairly precarious chord a 0:44 that will give most folks some trouble. [You’ll want to do as I do in the video and get your left arm low and underneath the guitar. My thumb is also on the base of the neck.]

The guitar tab is played straight through without repeats. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did. The guitar tab is available below:

La lettre de Ben is played/tuned one half step down — then played with a capo on the 2nd fret. Santaolalla does this for two reasons: capoing high on the board makes it easier to play tough chord positions — and it’s easier to read the fret board when capoed on an even fret number.

Your tuning will look like this: D# G# C# F# A# D# — or depending on your tuner: Eb Ab Db Gb Bb Eb. Then you’ll place a capo on the 2nd fret.

Gustavo Santaolalla: La lettre de Ben

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