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Spanish Ladies

“Spanish Ladies” is a traditional British naval song, dating back, by some estimates, to the 1620’s. The song is considered a sea shanty; work songs sung by merchant sailors.

I first heard this tune as a kid when Quint (played by actor Robert Shaw) sang Spanish Ladies in the film, JAWS. Shaw was a well known alcoholic, and was drunk during most, if not all of the filming of JAWS. The character of Quint was also a drunken sailor type — so this was some ‘more than convenient’ method acting on Shaw’s part. He’s the best character in the film, and in the Spanish Ladies scene — he’s clearly lit.

[The most popular modern incarnation of the song is from the game, Assassin’s Creed IV, Black Flag.]

My fingerstyle guitar version has more of a haunting, Celtic vibe to it. It’s available on all streaming services too.

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How to play Spanish Ladies | fingerstyle guitar 

The guitar tab for this piece is beautifully written across 2 pages. I would characterize this piece is as (relatively) easy to play as there’s no difficult chord shapes. If practiced patiently, this is a great song for beginner guitar players to work on trills, and agile (left hand) movements. Enjoy, the guitar tab us available below:

My song structure looks like this in accordance with the guitar tab:

Intro, Verse Chorus

Verse Chorus

**Spanish Ladies | fingerstyle guitar

This piece is played in a Drop D tuning. From  low to high: D A D G B E.