Dr. Horrible Theme for Guitar (TAB)

When Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog came out, with that fiendish, cartoony theme tune, which so deliciously evoked ‘diabolical villain’, I found myself working out the score on guitar. Something about the rhythmically plodding 3/4-time phrases and finger-friendly intervals seemed to translate well from the orchestra to an overdriven, palm-muted electric guitar riff.

At the time, I posted a video on YouTube that I hoped would teach people how to play the theme and a couple of other standout, guitar-friendly sequences from the soundtrack:

Repeatedly I’ve been asked to post the guitar tab itself, by people who’ve said it’s difficult to see exactly what notes I’m hitting in the video. Fair enough. The original ballpoint-scribbled tab I’d made when working out the parts went into hiding for almost a year, but recently turned up during a house move, so here it is, digitally transcribed, ne’er to be lost again, until the zombies come, and the internet goes.

Performance Notes

The piece is in 3/4 and every note is the same length, so it helps, when learning it, to memorize it in little batches of three (or six, overachievers!) notes at a time, as that’s how it was composed. Strict alternate picking (down-up-down-up etc.) and a little palm muting will get you close to the pizzicato feel of the original.

(Note that when the riff moves up to the D and G strings in the 5th bar, it is not simply the same sequence as before played one octave higher. Though it sounds similar, there are a few differences.)

Dr. Horrible’s Theme

E-------------------------|-------------------------|
B-------------------------|-------------------------|
G-------------------------|-------------------------|
D-------------------------|-------------------------|
A-5-----6-----5-3-5---3-4-|-5-----6-----5-4-5-4---4-|
E---6-3---6-3-------6-----|---6-3---6-3---------6---|

E-------------------------|-------------------------|
B-------------------------|-------------------------|
G-------------------------|---------------------3-5-|
D-------------------------|-------------------4-----|
A-5-----6-----5-3-5---3-4-|-5-----6-----5-3-5-------|
E---6-3---6-3-------6-----|---6-3---6-3-------------|

E-------------------------|-------------------------|
B-------------------------|-------------------------|
G-7-----8-----7-5-7---5-6-|-7-----8-----7-6-7-5-----|
D---8-5---8-5-------8-----|---8-5---8-5---------5-7-|
A-------------------------|-------------------------|
E-------------------------|-------------------------|

E-------------------------|-------------------------|
B-------------------------|-------------------------|
G-7-----8-----7-5-7---5-6-|-7-----8-----7-5-7-5-----|
D---8-5---8-5-------8-----|---8-5---8-5---------5-8-|
A-------------------------|-------------------------|
E-------------------------|-------------------------|

E-------------------------|-------------------------|
B-------------------------|-------------------------|
G-------------------------|-------------------------|
D-5-----------------------|(5)----------------------|
A-------------------------|-------------------------|
E-------------------------|-------------------------|

Additional Parts

A couple more favorite instrumental moments from the Dr. Horrible soundtrack were covered in my video. Namely the nightclub scene and the transformation scene immediately following it, where Dr. Horrible crosses the line from amateur to pro villain, suiting up accordingly, before entering the Evil League of Evil’s boardroom at the end of Act 3.

Nightclub Scene

E-------------------------|-------------------------|
B-------------------------|-------------------------|
G-------------------------|-------------------------|
D-------------------------|-------------------------|
A-------------------------|-------------------------|
E-------------------------|-----------8-------------|

E-------------------------|-------------------------|
B-------------------------|-------------------------|
G-------------------------|-------------------------|
D-------------------------|-------------------------|
A-11-10-8-----11-10-10----|-11-10-8---------8-10----|
E-------------------------|-------------6-8---------|

E-------------------------|-------------------------|
B-------------------------|-------------------------|
G-------------------------|-------------------------|
D--------------11-10-8----|-11-10-8--11-10-8--------|
A-11-10-8-----------------|-------------------------|
E-------------------------|-------------------------|

E-------------------------|-------------------------|
B-------------------------|-------------------------|
G-9-10--------------------|-------------------------|
D------10-8---------------|-------------------------|
A-------------------------|-------------------------|
E-------------------------|-------------------------|

Transformation Scene

E-------------------------|-------------------------|
B-------------------------|-------------------------|
G---------10--------------|---------10--------------|
D-10---------9------------|-10---------11-----------|
A----11-------------------|----11-------------------|
E-------------------------|-------------------------|

E-------------------------|-------------------------|
B-------------------------|-------------------------|
G---------10--------------|-------------------------|
D-10---------9------------|-10----8-----------------|
A----11-------------------|----11---11-10-----------|
E-------------------------|-------------------------|

E-------------------------|-------------------------|
B-------------------------|-------------------------|
G---------10--------------|---------10--------------|
D-10---------9------------|-10---------11-----------|
A----11-------------------|----11-------------------|
E-------------------------|-------------------------|

E-------------------------|-------------------------|
B-------------------------|-------------------------|
G---------10--------------|-------------------------|
D-10---------9------------|-10----8-------10--------|
A----11-------------------|----11---11-10-8---------|
E-------------------------|-------------------------|

Episode Intro

Happily, shift that same Transformation piece up the neck from F Minor to A minor and you have the little six-second musical tag that abruptly begins each episode of Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog:

E-------------------------|-------------------------|
B-------------------------|-------------------------|
G---------14--------------|---------14--------------|
D-14---------13-----------|-14---------15-----------|
A----15-------------------|----15-------------------|
E-------------------------|-------------------------|

E-------------------------|-------------------------|
B-------------------------|-------------------------|
G---------14--------------|-------------------------|
D-14---------13-----------|-14----12----------------|
A----15-------------------|----15----15-14----------|
E-------------------------|-------------------------|

And with that rather backwards lesson, ending on the intro, I bid you hello.

4 Replies to “Dr. Horrible Theme for Guitar (TAB)”

  1. I saw the vid on youtube, and came to this link. You are amazing! Even I, who can’t play guitar for squat, could figure out how to play this XD

    Thank you!

  2. Nicely done!

  3. Where can i get tabs for the other songs?

  4. it’s awesome! thanks 😀

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