In this guitar lesson, we will be looking at the All the Small Things TAB which is a classic pop punk track by Blink 182. This guitar lesson will guide you through how to play All the Small Things one step at a time. This song is suitable for beginners, and anyone past the beginner stage who simply wants to learn a cool power chord-based song. For the beginner guitarists out there, you will require the knowledge of what power chords are, and how to use them correctly to a basic standard. If you have that knowledge, this lesson will be nice and easy to follow.
About All the Small Things by Blink 182
All the Small Things was composed by Blink 182 guitarist and vocalist Tom DeLonge and was a single from the band’s third studio album, Enema of the State.
The song was an ode to Tom’s long-term girlfriend, Jennifer Jenkins, who he would go on to marry. The lyrics “she left me roses by the stairs surprises let me know she cares” refer to an incident where Jennifer left roses by the Stair’s for Tom after he returned home late one night from recording.
The intention of the song was for it to be catchy and basic. Most of the material for Enema of the State had already been written but DeLonge felt that the label would want a song for radio.
Delonge had wanted to write a song including “na na nas” in tribute to one of this favourite bands, the Ramones. He decided to include those “na na” lyrics in All the Small Things because he couldn’t think of any other words.
The single was released in January 2000 and it performed well in the charts. It hit the top spot on Billboard’s Modern Rock Tracks and it hit number 2 in the UK Singles Charts, and number 6 on the Billboard Hot 100. The track also performed well worldwide, hitting the top 20 in 10 other countries.
The music video for All the Small Things became popular too. It mocked and parodied the boy bands Backstreet Boys, 98 Degrees (I don’t know either), and ‘N Sync as well as pop singers Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera.
All the Small Things is Blink 182’s most well-known and most popular song by a mile and it was featured by Rolling Stone as one of the 100 Greatest Pop Songs.
All the Small Things TAB Guitar Lesson and Guide
Next, I’ll show you how I play All the Small Things on guitar one step at a time. We’ll break it down into small bite sized chunks by separating it into individual sections. There’s just over half a dozen things that we will need to look at but thankfully, all these parts are relatively easy to learn. All you’ll need to do is put the building blocks together at the end and play along with the record for practice.
All the Small Things TAB Intro Section
The intro guitar part is the first thing that we hear in the recording so naturally, this would be the place to begin the lesson. Here is the TAB for the full intro section. You’ll find further guidance below the image. You’ll notice that I’m using the three-string power chord shape here rather than the two. Please just take my word for it that this works better. Simply follow the TAB when deciding which power chord shape to use in each section for this song. I’ve chosen carefully for each section.
Okay, let’s break this down. As you can hear in the record, two chords open the song. These chords are a G power chord, and an F power chord. Get used to them. You’ll be using them a lot today.
The secret to getting this opening correct is knowing when to come in. If you’re playing alone, or along to the record, this isn’t a big deal. But, getting these chords placed at the right time will be important if you’re playing with other musicians.
I’ve written that first bar in the time signature of 2/4. All you need to do is count out your beats in eighth notes (1 and 2 and). The first chord falls on the first “and”, and the second chord falls directly on beat 2 and lasts the rest of the bar. A drummer can create a queue for you via the first beat of that bar.
The following bar is all C power chords performed via downward strums as eighth notes (1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and).
The bar after that is slightly more complex compared to standard power chords, but we don’t require much finger movement. Leave your first finger in place, drop your third finger down a string at the same fret, and drop your fourth finger down a string, moving it up one fret. It’s easier than it looks in writing. We play this for the full bar. This chord is kind of like an F power chord with a C in the bass. Use your first finger to mute the unfretted D string. This is done by touching the string but not pressing down. An easy task considering you’re already fretting the string above.
The following bar is all G power chords, performed in the same way as the C power chords from earlier and the final bar starts with a single G power chord and then is a mix of F power chords and percussive mute sounds that can be achieved via lifting the fingers up from the fretboard slightly and downward strumming as indicated. In this case, you can do that as you slide the shape into position from the G chord to the F chord. This produces that clunking sound heard in the record.
The tricky part of that is getting the rhythm correct and getting the percussive sounds in the correct places. Think of it like this if you’re having trouble. It’s one hit of the G chord, then four percussive chords, then three F power chords. 1, 4, 3.
All the Small Things TAB the Verses
Next, we’ll look at the verses. The only technical skill you’ll need for this section is the concept of palm muting. If you don’t have that knowledge, then that means you don’t have an understanding of the power chord basics. If that’s the case, acquire that knowledge, then come back. Here’s the TAB for the verses.
As you can see, we have simple eighth note power chords again (1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and). The chords in order are C, G, F, G. This set of four bars loops for the entire verse and this is the same for each of the verses.
You’ll want to palm mute the chords relatively aggressively throughout the verse sections so that the other sections sound bigger in comparison.
There is room for development (slightly) with the rhythm of the verses but do not move far away from the real rhythm. The odd sixteenth note thrown in there won’t hurt but use it wisely because this song sounds perfectly fine if you keep it simple like you see in the TAB, and like you can hear in the record. There’s also a small amount of room for lifting the mute here and there, but I’d keep that, and all other experimentation limited to the later verses, not the first one. Don’t worry if you don’t know what I’m talking about in this paragraph because it isn’t needed to play the song. Following the TAB will do just fine.
The pre chorus section is the four bars between the verse and the chorus. What you do on guitar is quite simple. Here’s the TAB.
As you can see, you only have to play one chord. You have a simple three finger C power chord that’s struck on beat one of the first bar. It then rings out for the whole bar, and the following three bars. Nice and easy.
All the Small Things Chorus TAB (na na na na na)
The chorus section, or the Ramones inspired nananana section is nice and simple once again. Here’s the TAB.
As you can see, we have all power chords here. There’s no need for muting here and we have a nice and simple progression of (power chords) C / C / G / F and that progression is repeated for the entire chorus section. We have those fatter three finger power chord shapes again but aside from that, no more guidance is required for this part. Once again, development of the strumming is a possibility, but not necessary. Next, we’ll look at the alteration of the intro riff which you can hear part way through the song.
Intro riff slight alteration
The first chorus of All the Small Things is followed by a guitar riff that’s similar to what we played in the intro. Here’s the TAB. Guidance will follow.
So, what’s different there? Well, the two chords that open the track are gone. Then, when we get to that chord in the second bar and we have a new note half way through the bar. For the second part of that bar, shift your fourth finger down to the fifth fret so that it’s below your third finger.
Then, for the following bar, play a full G major six string barre chord. The chord shape that you’re looking for is this.
The final bar is exactly the same as it was in the intro section.
The breakdown section has two guitar parts. You’ll hear this in the recording. We’re focusing on the guitar that’s in the forefront. Here’s the TAB. The second guitar simply repeats the power chord-based chord progression that opens the section.
The section opens with chords as mentioned before and the part that follows is nice and simple. We can use muscle memory to our advantage here. Finger a full C power chord like you’re going to play the whole thing but instead of hitting that full chord, you just pick those notes at the fifth fret. Use all down strokes for these notes and keep alternating (with palm muting) until the end of the section. The drums build up in the back, building anticipation for the final chorus and outro.
The All the Small Things TAB ends with the outro. This section uses a slight alteration to the chorus section which is played after two repeats of the standard chorus section. Here’s the TAB that you’ll need.
As you can tell, the F bar is the key to the alteration here. When we get to the F power chord the first time, we have some added percussive strums. It’s important to hit these correctly because the guitar is working closely with the drums. The second time around, we do the same, but we add an extra bar of F in there too.
The song then concludes with that big C power chord.
Congratulations. You now know how to play All the Small things by Blink 182. All you have to do now is practice it and learn the arrangement. The best way to do this is by playing along with the record. This is an ideal track for beginners who’re just starting to use power chords in a musical way. It will help you to fine tune those muted eighth notes power chords that are used in oceans of music and it will help you get used to moving that power chord shape around a little bit. Enjoy.
That concludes the guitar lesson for All the Small Things by Blink 182. Hope you enjoyed it and if you’re a Blink 182 fan then good news, this isn’t the only Blink 182 guitar lesson that I’ve written. Check out the What’s My Age Again TAB and Guitar Lesson. Or, if you want a similar vibe but from a different band, try the Basketcase TAB and Guitar Lesson. Brilliant Greenday track. Possibly even the best one.
Oh, one last thing. Thanks to those who’ve read notes for beginners that they didn’t necessarily need. Your patience is appreciated. If you are a beginner though, you may want another easy guitar song. If so, you may find some inspiration in my list of easy guitar songs.
Hello. My name is Ryan J Mellor and I play the guitar. I’m also the creator of Eat Sleep Guitar Repeat. I’ve ben a guitarist for many years and my guitar playing has been described as “above average”. My guitar and music knowledge is somewhat impressive but most importantly, I have a passion for creating great guitar and music related content.