Atacama. Photo by Diego Jimenez on Unsplash


Apertura is the opening song of Walter Salles’ The Motorcycle Diaries —  a 2004 biopic about a then 23-year-old Ernesto Guevara, who would years later become internationally known as Che Guevara. The film recounts the 1952 expedition by Guevara and his friend Alberto Granado across South America. Their formative odyssey is initially on the back of a single, sputtering 1939 Norton 500cc motorcycle dubbed, La Poderosa (The Mighty One). The Motorcycle Diaries is based on the memoir (of the same name) by Ernesto Guevara.

The film is a coming-of-age road journey — akin to Easy Rider and On the Road. It’s not as political as you’d think, given the author. Into the Wild is another comparable adventure.

The Motorcycle Diaries has stunning cinematography and images of South America. The soundtrack is by far Gustavo Santaolalla’s best. It’s the greatest road-trip music you could ever listen to.

You might also like to play…

(a few other arrangements from The Motorcycle Diaries soundtrack by Gustavo Santaolalla.)

How to play Apertura by Gustavo Santaolalla

While I open Apertura playing with my fingers. It’s definitely not a fingerstyle arrangement — as I use a pick for the heavy part. I’m not limited to only fingerstyle arrangements on this blog, and I created an archive called, Not Fingerstyle Guitar for the stuff that’s better off with a guitar pick.

The guitar tab for this piece is beautifully written across two pages. I recommend Apertura for intermediate guitar players — although the chord shapes are really easy to play.

Enjoy, the guitar tab is available below:

My order of play looks like this, in accordance with the guitar tab:

Intro #1
(while I’m holding a pick in my hand, I’m using my middle finger to simply swipe at the 1st and 2nd strings.

Intro #2
(same as before, just introducing bass notes. Again, a guitar pick is hidden behind my hand.)

Intro #3 2x
(I begin strumming the chord shapes with my thumb)

Verse A
(on the guitar tab, you’ll notice a D DUD D DUD below the chord shapes, that’s the basic strum pattern. D=Down, U=Up.)

Verse B 2x

Intro #1, Verse A 2x

Verse B 2x, Intro #1

The Motorcycle Diaries: Apertura (Gustavo Santaolalla)

This song is played in a double drop-D tuning. Your tuning is as follows, from low to high: D A D G B D.