The instrumental song "Apache" was written by Jerry Lordan and first recorded by Bert Weedon. Hank Marvin and the Shadows apparently recorded it soon after Bert. Apache seems to have been released around the same time in 1960 by both players. This transcription is based on the Shadows Hank Marvin version. View the scrolling guitar tab and notation and use the Youtube settings (gear icon at bottom right of screen) playback speed functions to practice playing along pausing as you go to perfect your performance of Apache

Get the Apache PDF score here

Get the Guitar Pro 6 File here

Get the Apache PDF with Chord Symbols here

Get the apache Guitar Pro 7 File with Chord Symbols added here

Get the Apache Chord Diagrams PDF Chart here

Get the Rhythm Guitar transcription here

N.B. The download page looks a bit different now, showing two folders for  GP7 files but just just click the download button and it still delivers the GP7 file. Check your usual downloads destination)

Apache Player Levels

Levels- This transcription of Hank Marvin’s version of Apache (similar to Geronimo) is for:

• Ambitious upper level beginners who have accumulated some experience. Otherwise it is more for:

Intermediate players who are comfortable with devices and techniques such as; sixteenth note (semi quaver) rhythms and a performance tempo of 135 beats per minute, bends, double stops and partial barre, range of fretboard up to the fifth position, syncopations (off beats) Further to the above:

Advanced players can perfect the general musicianship elements such as; use of quarter note triplets, vibrato technique, dynamics and phrasing, personalised fingerings, guitar and amp tone etc… It is fair to say that many of the phrasing nuances of slides and grace notes are unavailable within open string approach for beginners. I’m hoping this resource will still be of value as a general guide or at least a time saver for more advanced players wanting to perform Apache.

Technical Considerations for Apache

-Technique I have made the fingerings as friendly and as playable as possible for the beginner level players. I have where possible mostly kept to the open position with open strings used when available. There are some instances of pitch equivalences with choice of open or fretted notes.

Melodically Apache is within the key of A natural minor/C major and A Dorian minor/G major. This means that is predominantly the natural notes or white keys of the piano being used aside from the use of F#. This is a pretty safe place to be in comparison with other keys that have a more complex footprint (key signature) for guitar like say B Major (five #’’s, or black piano keys) which leaves us with only the B and E strings as available open notes.

I suggest that the sixteenth note figures from the Theme 3 section (from bar 22) be played with down up alternate picking with the down pick always landing strictly on the down beat. -Form The form of this version of Apache follows through a series five leitmotifs which pretty much outline or imply the harmonic functions they are derived from. It can be useful to be aware of this relationship when memorising this piece for performance.

Apache'e Form and Theory Basis

The form of this version of Apache follows through a series five leitmotifs which pretty much outline or imply the harmonic functions they are derived from. It can be useful to be aware of this relationship when memorising this piece for performance.


•Theme 1 Amin Intro/outro

•Theme 2 Dorian Vamp (F#)

•Theme 3 16th notes F

•Theme 4 F

•Theme 3 16th notes F


•Theme 5 16th notes Dorian (F#)

•Theme 4 F variation

•Theme 3 16th notes F

•Theme 1 Amin Intro/outro


The chords are not difficult but they are a mouthful to explain. The chords you need to know are • Amin and D, Dmin and F C and G. Basically, this song works on using modal interchange between the A minor Aeolian mode (which has all natural notes) and the A minor Dorian mode (all natural notes except for the F#). The A root Aeolian minor scale is really just the related natural minor scale of C major. The A root Dorian scale is the related scale from the second degree of G major. Since they are both minor scales with the A root as a tonal centre there is no real key change or modulation sound defined when borrowing chords from each other. Happy Playing! 

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