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Big Wheels In Moonlight chords by Dan Seals

Dan Seals Chords

Here's the lyrics and basic chord progression for the song.  The guitar
arpeggio you hear on the recording is very similar to a banjo technique
known as a "forward roll".  I've included a tabbed lesson at the bottom
which will help you use the forward roll on this and other songs.  - Darragh

         BIG WHEELS IN THE MOONLIGHT  by Dan Seals

INTRO:  G  G  G  G

  G                         G
I came from a town that was so small
    G                            D  -   G
You look both ways and you could see it all
G                G
All I wanted was some way out
      G                G
Every evening I'd slip into town
           C                    G
And stand around by the caution light
          D                  G
Watch the big trucks rolling by
    C                     G
For me it was a beautiful sight
D                     G             G
Big Wheels In The Moonlight

I had a case of wanderlust
I'd lie awake with the windows up
Out on Highway Fifty Nine
I could hear some big ol' diesel whine
She was going through all the gears
Headed out to who know's where
I fell asleep most every night
Dreaming about big wheels in the moonlight

      C              G                  D           D
And I want to put my life on the center line
      C               G              D           D
And I want to see the world before I die
      Bm                  G                C            C
And I know that there's a peace I'll never find
            G                   D                  G      G  [D]C   C  [F]G
Cause those big ol' wheels keep rolling through my mind

How I got here it's hard to say
So many things got in my way
Can't complain about all I've got
Kids and a wife and a regular job
But at night when I'm setting here
All alone in a living room chair
Sometimes I close my eyes
And see big wheels in the moonlight.

[CHORUS - repeat last line before ending]

Written by Bob McDill and Dan Seals  (ASCAP/BMI)
Polygram International Publishing/Ranger Bob Music/Pink Pig Music
Transcribed by Darragh Egan 
>From the album, "Dan Seals Greatest Hits" - 1991, Liberty Records

I like to play "Big Wheels In The Moonlight" with a basic banjo technique
known as the Forward Roll.  For this song, I play the pattern on the three
treble strings alone.  This actually makes it easier for a novice, because
your thumb is not bouncing around trying to find the bass notes.  Here is
how the pattern looks.  As an example, I've tabbed out two bars each for G,
C, and, D.  To play Big Wheels In The Moonlight, treat each chord letter in
the above transcription as one full bar of this forward roll pattern.
(There are a couple of spots where transitionary chords are used for only
one or two beats - ie. the "D" chord in the second line of each verse and
the "D" and "F" chords after the chorus.  You'll have to feel your way
through these chords in whatever way you feel comfortable without throwing
off your timing for the next bar of music).

 G                     C                     D
|--3--3--|--3--3--||  |--0--0--|--0--0--||  |--2--2--|--2--2--||
|-0--0--0|-0--0--0||  |-1--1--1|-1--1--1||  |-3--3--3|-3--3--3||
|0--0--0-|0--0--0-||  |0--0--0-|0--0--0-||  |2--2--2-|2--2--2-||
|--------|--------||  |--------|--------||  |--------|--------||
|--------|--------||  |--------|--------||  |--------|--------||
|--------|--------||  |--------|--------||  |--------|--------||

The key is to play this in a very regular, even pattern - don't give any
note  particular emphasis over the others.  The tricky part is playing only
8 notes per bar instead of nine.  Once your fingers get rolling through the
sequence of three notes, they trip a little when only playing just two notes
and then restarting the sequence.  Don't allow yourself to fall into the
pattern of playing like this:


Although this is closer to what's actually being played on this recording,
it will mess up your timing, and you'll never know when one bar ends and
another starts.  Initially, I found it helpful to count out the pattern as I
played: 12312312 12312312 - not 123123123 123123123.  Of course, if you're
playing a song written in 3/4 time (also called waltz time), then the
pattern would be 123123 123123.

How you choose to play the strings is up to you.  Standard banjo technique
is to use your thumb and two fingers.  For this song, the thumb would play
the 3rd string, your index finger the 2nd string, and your middle finger the
1st string.  Since I'm not playing any bass notes here, I prefer to play it
with three fingers - index finger on the 3rd string, middle finger on the
2nd, and ring finger on the 1st string.  Either way, leave your right hand
floating over the strings, and the appropriate finger hovering just above
the string waiting to pick it - that way you'll never lose your place and be
searching for the correct string.

Here's how each method looks.  Remember, this is a depiction of which
fingers on your RIGHT HAND are PLAYING the strings, not which fingers of
your left hand is fretting the strings.  You use the same right hand pattern
regardless of the chord being held by the left hand.

 thumb + 2 fingers        three fingers
|--m--m--|--m--m--||    |--r--r--|--r--r--||
|-i--i--i|-i--i--i||    |-m--m--m|-m--m--m||
|t--t--t-|t--t--t-||    |i--i--i-|i--i--i-||
|--------|--------||    |--------|--------||
|--------|--------||    |--------|--------||
|--------|--------||    |--------|--------||

You can also play with a pick if you prefer, but it will slow you down and
you're more likely to get tripped up finding a string.  Now that you know
the pattern, you can use it on any song you like.  Bear in mind that the
thumb would normally be used to play the bass note of the chord while your
index finger and middle finger play the two treble strings.  Often the thumb
would be playing an alternating bass pattern.  Here's how it might look for
a sample chord progression of G-C-D-G.  If you're a novice guitar player, or
even an intermediate one whose not used to playing fingerstyle, it will take
some practice to play this pattern quickly and evenly - especially through
the chord changes when your thumb must find its new positions.  Try playing
a number of bars of each chord until you get used to the pattern, then work
on making smooth chord changes.  You can play only the root bass note with
your thumb and avoid the alternate bass note to make it easier.

 G                 C                 D        G

If you have any questions or comments, or if you don't understand what the
hell I'm talking about, just send me an e-mail.  If I made any errors,
corrections would also be appreciated.

- Darragh Egan 
  Toronto, Canada

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