gustavo santaolalla
Photo: Mauro Bruno | Otra Cancion

[Updated: August 2017]


Lima is one of my favorite tracks from Gustavo Santaolalla’s The Motorcycle Diaries soundtrack. Rather than (his usual) simple playing approach, Lima really displays Santaolalla’s guitar prowess.

I had an opportunity to see Gustavo Santaolalla play live in Pittsburgh with his band Bajofondo. Rather than a conventional guitar soloist, his virtuosity is in playing complex chord patterns, often at lightning speed.

I suppose that what impressed me the most — he deep innate understand chord structures. Amazing for someone who doesn’t read music, or have a background in music theory.

Gear Used

For Lima, I used my little Cordoba Dolce guitar. It’s an  affordable 3/4 size guitar, with a bright sound. Cordoba has superior bracing, even in their cheaper instruments, so a $280 Cordoba is going to be far superior to just about anything else in that price point.

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How to play Lima, by Gustavo Santaolalla

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Lima is a challenge to play. None of the chord shapes are difficult, but you will have to be very agile — as everything needs to move quickly and gracefully. I recommend Lima for intermediate guitar players and up.

The guitar tab for Lima is 3 pages long, and beautifully written. My order of play (in accordance with the guitar tab) looks like this: Page one, Page two — Page one [refrain] — Page three [End].

Enjoy, the guitar tab is available below:

Lima is played in standard tuning.

Gustavo Santaolalla: Lima (The Motorcycle Diaries)