Have been searching for a good detailed youtube video for guiding Harmonica playing that Eagles song. I have found on harptabs the tab by a submitter which is a start but I am a youtube fanatic. So, hint, hint if anybody is reading who would like to oblige I would be most grateful.


Your request sounds a bit Desperate, but I understand :wink:

That was supposed to be a joke, but probably not a very good one :joy:.

While I’m not sure about a YouTuber with tabs, I can share some of my experiences about learning songs on the harmonica.

The short answer is that you already “know” the song. You don’t have to “learn” it.

The long answer is:

All you need to know is that even if you’ve been out riding fences for a long time now, all you have to do is hear the word DESPERADO and instantly the song should start playing the song on your internal jukebox of songs.

While it may take a bit more time, I’m a big fan of just trying to work it out before even looking at the tabs. Ask Alexa or Google for the key :old_key: of just about any song and they’ll tell you. I just did it and am told it is in G major, so that’s a BIG PLUS.

Not only should you already have C Major harp, which will play the song well in the middle register in the Key of C, but you can drop down into 2nd position and hit it with those nice draws to make it sound even more awesome…

Once you know the key and whether it’s Major or Minor, then just start hammering it out little by little. I’ve found that sometimes the chorus or the riff in the song I like to most is a better place to start from the beginning.

Once you start working on the song, your ears should tell you if you are headed in the right direction or not. If you hit a place where it doesn’t sound right, then go up or down a note (or several notes) until it does sound right. Rinse and Repeat…

Then, when you do feel like it kinda sounds right, go to the tabs and you can check and see how you’re doing.

As has been mentioned here in this forum, and elsewhere, the tabs we find on the net aren’t always right.

I’ve found the method if trial and error also teaches our mouth what to do and where to go on songs we already know in our own internal jukebox :notes: :sunglasses:

It also helps to be able to play the song on demand later without tabs :wink:

Hope this helps :pray:


Hey, I liked the intro joke.

Really appreciate the detail in the long answer and get it. Where I am I am going to have to train my ears to get the distinction in the “hearing” of the different keys and chords but I get your message, i.e. the only way of learning is persevering or that is what I think I “heard” you say. Thanks again, much appreciated.


I found a video but, it doesn’t have tabs and the notes are different the tabs on Harp Tabs. Only one with tabs is this one:

Desperado MM Tabs.
-3 3 3 -2 -3 3 -2 -3 -4 -3 5 -4
Desperado why don’t you come to your senses?
-4 -4 5 6 6 -6 6 5 -4 -3 -2 3
You been out ridin’ fences for so long now
-3 -3 3 3 -2
Oh you’re a hard one
-3 3 -2 -3 -4 -3 5 -4
I know that you got your reasons
-4 5 6 6 -6 6 6
These things that are pleasin’ you
5 -4 -3 -2 3
Can hurt you somehow

-4 -4 6 6 6 6 -5 -4 -4
Don’t you draw the queen of diamonds boy
-4 5 5 5 5 -4 -3
She’ll beat you if she’s able
-4 5 5 5 5 5
You know the queen of hearts
5 -4 -3 3 -2 3
Is always your best bet
-4 -4 6 6 6 6 -5 -4
Now it seems to me some fine things
-4 -4 5 5 5 5 -4 -3
Have been laid upon your table
-4 -4 5 5 5 5 5 -4
But you only want the ones
-3 3 -2 3
That you can’t get

-3 3 3 -2 -3 3 -2 -3 -4 -3 5 -4
Desperado oh you ain’t getting’ no younger
-4 5 6 6 -6 6
Your pain and your hunger
5 -4 -3 -2 3
They’re drivin’ you home
3 -3 -4 5 -4 -3
And freedom oh freedom
-4 5 5 5 5 5 -4 5
Well that’s just some people talkin’
5 6 6 6 -6 6 5
Your prison is walkin’ through
4 -4 -3 -2 3
This world all alone
-4 -4 6 6 6 6 6 -5 -5 -5
Don’t your feet get cold in the wintertime?
5 5 5 5 5 5 5 -4 -4
The sky won’t snow and the sun won’t shine
-4 5 5 5 5 -4 -3 3 -2 3
It’s hard to tell the nighttime from the day
-4 6 6 6 6 -5 -4 5
You’re losin’ all your highs and lows
5 5 5 5 5 -4 -3 3 -2 3
Ain’t it funny how the feelin’ goes away?
-3 3 3 -2-3 3 -2 -3 -4 -3 5 -4
Desperado why don’t you come to your senses
-4 5 6 6 -6 6 5 -4 -3 -2 3
Come down from your fences open the gate
-4 -4 -4 5 6 6 6 6 -6 6 -6 -7 -6
It may be rainin’ but there’s a rainbow above you
6 -7 -7 -7 -7 -7 -6 6
You better let somebody love you
-6 -7 -7 -7 -7 -7 -6 6
You better love somebody love you
-6 -7 -6 6 5 6
Before it’s too late


Fantastic Dai. Many thanks, this is really helpful.


Since yesterday after reading your post, I’ve been out riding fences, for so long now… :smiling_face:

Here’s my take on a “C” harmonica:

5 -4 -4’ -4 4

Why don’t you come to your senses?
5 -4 4 3 4 3 -4 4

You’ve been out ridin’ fences for so long now
4 4 5 6 5 -6 6 5 5 -4 -4’ -4

  • Not sure why, but even if I give spaces to align the notes with the lyrics, the program seems to put a single space between each note after I post it, so they don’t coincide. Maybe someone has a better way to keep the tabs in line with the lyrics? :thinking:

In both cases above :point_up_2: on the bent notes (-4’), they can be done away with, without too much harm, but I like the expression they give to the song. I almost put another one at the end of the first line as well, since I sometimes go there as I play it, but then I came back to my senses. :wink: :laughing:

I tried to play the tabs @Dai posted, but they weren’t working for me. I’ll go back and watch the video and try again, since I think they are probably more correct and seem to be in the key of G.

But with that said, I wanted to post the tabs I hear them as I go through my “process”. Not sure what position my tabs are in, but I’m gonna guess at a first position in key of C, rather than the actually key of G, in which the song is written. I’m really not much of a tabs guy, and they often confuse me when I try to play, because I can’t visualize the rhythm of the song as I see them, and when the tabs are wrong, even more so :woozy_face:

Your comments @craiginker have led me to review some of the things I’ve learned about the difference between Relative Pitch and Absolute Pitch. I thought I read it here, but now see the main topic here which talks about this is on EAR TRAINING.

I did a quick search on You’re Tube, and there are loads of videos talking about the phenomenon, but here’s my quick take:

Absolute pitch helps us determine the pitch of particular notes
Relative pitch helps us to determine the intervals between notes

I’m not very good on the first, but getting better on the second.

Surely others here can add to this thought with much more exactitude, but it seems to me that as harmonica players that RELATIVE PITCH helps us to be able to reproduce songs more rapidly on our trusty harps, regardless of the key we happen to have at the time, while ABSOLUTE pitch helps us to pick up the right key harmonica.

As long as the song is in a Major scale, and we have a Major scale harp, it seems to me we can make the song sound pretty much how it should… With the right amount of skill, we can even do a flip flop, playing a Minor scale on a Major harp or vice versa, but I’m not quite there, yet.

@Slim, you care to weigh in on this subject?


I like this video and he hits some great notes in there, but my ear tells me a few of the notes are off…

Seems to me that playing music is a lot like talking. Each of us can say the very same words, in the very same sentence, and yet our versions will likely be just a tad different…

Harp on!


No, I think that you are doing just fine, Bobby @HarpinBobbyMcB ! :grin:

–Slim :sunglasses:


Thanks guys, this is really interesting, inciteful and helpful. Hoping I get to your knowledge levels one day. :rofl:


I found this link


I guess it wouldnt copy but Will Wildes Desperado version on youtube.

I was able to copy the link and hear it.

Love how he adds his own style to the song :sunglasses::+1:


You’re getting there!

We can all be legends in our own minds :joy: :notes:


I have the sheet music somewhere, but I like the reprise better, Why? I saw them in
Cedalia, Mo. in 1974 do it live, at the end 500,000 people were singing the outro. But alas no harp tabs.

[Doolin-Dalton reprise]
Well the stage was set the sun was sinkin’ low down
As they came to town to face another showdown
The lawmen cleared the people from the streets
"All you blood-thirsty bystanders, will you try to
Find your seats?
Watch ‘em duelin’ (duelin’)
Doolin-Dalton (Dalton)
High or low, (high, low), it’s all the same
Easy money and faithless women
You will never kill the pain
Go down, Bill Doolin, don’t you wonder why
Sooner or later we all have to die?
Sooner or later, that’s a stone-cold fact
Four men ride out and only three ride back

[Desperado reprise]
The queen of diamonds let you down
She was just an empty fable
The queen of hearts you say you never met
Your twisted fate has found you out
And it’s fin’lly turned the tables
Stole your dreams and paid you with regret
(Is there gonna be anything left, is there gonna be anything?)
You sealed your fate up a long time ago
(Ain’t it hard when you’re all alone in the center ring?)
Now there’s no time left to borrow
(Is there gonna be anything left?)
Only stardust
(Maybe tomorrow)
Maybe tomorrow
Maybe tomorrow


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