Ace of Spades by Motorhead is a track that I wanted to get in early at Eat Sleep Guitar Repeat. In this lesson I’ll give you the Ace of Spades guitar TAB. This one for me is a little bit underappreciated in the guitar world. I don’t hear it played anywhere near as much as the Sweet Childs and so on and I have no idea why. Ace of Spades is one that every guitar player should know how to play and to be perfectly honest, it isn’t that difficult to learn and play anyway so there’s no reason not to give this one a go.
It’s instantly recognisable and is quite easy on the fingers despite feeling quite fast paced. Above all though, it sounds great so turn on the distortion, turn up the volume and go crazy.
Ace of spades guitar lesson TAB and guide
Before we dive into TAB, there’s 1 important thing that you’ll need to know. The original Ace of Spades is in Eb tuning rather than standard. All you need to do to play in this tuning is tune each string down 1 semitone. E becomes Eb, A becomes Ab and so on. It does still sound really good in standard so playing in standard isn’t a problem but if you want to sound as close to the original as possible, you’ll need to adjust the tuning.
The best way to learn Ace of Spades is riff by riff and part by part then glue it all together. Let’s start with the intro. Here’s the TAB.
Ace of Spades intro guitar TAB
Nice and simple. That tells the story for the whole song really. There isn’t much in terms of complexity but there’s small subtleties.
Next let’s take a look at main guitar riff of the song. This riff is used here in the intro and at different points throughout the song.
Ace of Spades main guitar riff TAB
I’ve added a 4x repeat to the TAB there. If there’s ever a situation where the riff isn’t repeated 4 times I’ll let you know.
Ace of Spades is pretty fast moving in terms of structure. As such, we are straight into the first verse following this riff.
Ace of Spades verse guitar TAB
These verses can be separated into 3 parts. The chords, the lick then the other chords. The first chords are all an open G shape (but actually a Gb due to the tuning). I know you may not play your open G chords the same as me so play them your way if you like, it doesn’t really matter. What does matter is the repeat marks. Pay attention and repeat the correct amount of times when required.
This is a fun verse section to play thanks to the simplicity and the mix of rhythm and lead.
Once the section is complete, you then go back into that main riff. The vocals of “the ace of spades” are performed over the top of the first 2 riff repeats. Once the riff section is complete, you play another verse in exactly the same way as the previous one.
After that verse, play the riff TWICE. After those 2 repeats of the main riff, we have an alteration to it which is seen below.
Ace of Spades guitar riff TAB version 2
We have another new section next which is kind of a bridge. It’s the “I don’t want to live FOR EVER” bit. Here’s the TAB.
Ace of Spades I don’t wanna live FOREVER guitar TAB
Immediately after this we have a short rhythm section that preludes the guitar solo. I’ve done the TAB for this in 2 different ways. The second one is easier for those who are wishing to jump straight from the chords to the solo like I do.
Ace of Spades pre solo guitar TAB (2 versions)
You play one or the other, not both.
What follows this is naturally the guitar solo. I’m providing you with the TAB for both the rhythm guitar and lead guitar. See both parts below.
Ace of Spades guitar solo TAB (rhythm)
Ace of Spades guitar solo TAB
The guitar solo can be a little fiddly at times but you can get this pretty quickly. The double stops in the middle provide a little bit of a breather and then after that, there’s only 4 bars left so just break it down and learn it bit by bit or bar by bar.
Following the guitar solo comes the main riff again and then another full verse which is the last verse of the song. After the verse you play the main riff again twice before moving on to another variation of it for 4 repeats. Here’s the TAB.
Ace of Spades riff final variation
The rhythm of this riff is identical to that of the original but instead of the last 3 chords, you stay on the first.
We’re in the final moments of the track now and next we have another little bit of lead. A nice simple little cool sounding lick.
The lick at the end
Simple but effective. This final lick is followed by the final part of the song which you can see below. Well done, you got there.
There you have it. That’s how I play Ace of Spades. There’s a couple more reasons why Ace of Spades is an ideal track to learn which I haven’t mentioned yet. Firstly, it guides guitar players into using a different tuning if they haven’t tried that already and secondly, I think there’s a really nice balance between rhythm and lead guitar playing here. It’s a good all-rounder and will get you switching between rhythm guitar and lead guitar frequently when playing the song alone or as the only guitar player.
Ace of Spades is a rough, in your face track that is extremely fun to play. Hope you have fun with it.
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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.