Skinny Love by Birdy album coverHere's a guitar lesson on how to play Birdy's version of "Skinny Love." I have the chords written out below which are the correct chords for the song (there are many incorrect versions online), and I've done it with CAPO 4 so that you don't have to use any barre chords.

A really nice way to play Birdy's version but on guitar is to use a simple arpeggio pattern to create the kind of piano sound she has on her recording.

To do this, hold down each chord with your left hand while your right hand picks out the individual notes in the tab below. Let each string ring throughout each measure.

Skinny Love guitar arpeggio

Em slash B chord on the guitarIn the chorus Birdy plays an inversion of Em. Inversion means that you have a note that is not the root note as the lowest pitch of the chord. In this case, the Em/B is an Em chord but with B as the lowest pitch. This is easy to play on guitar like this: x22000.

Here's how to apply the arpeggio pattern to the chorus. The C chord gets two measures so just repeat the pattern twice. The Em/B is one measure and since the lowest pitch is now B you get to pluck the same fifth string to start your arpeggio pattern for that measure.

Skinny Love chorus for guitar

Skinny Love Guitar Chords

And finally here are the full chords and lyrics for the song, arranged for CAPO 4 so you don't need to use any barre chords.

SKINNY LOVE - BIRDY version

CAPO: 4

Intro: Am, F, C (2x)

Am              F                  C
Come on skinny love just last the year
Am              F                  C
Pour a little salt we were never here
      Am         F               C
My my my – my my my – my my my my – my my ...
                F       Dm                  Am 
Staring at the sink of blood and crushed veneer


Am          F               C
I tell my love to wreck it all
Am                F                C
Cut out all the ropes and let me fall
      Am         F                C
My my my – my my my – my my my my – my my ...
                F  Dm             Am
Right in the moment this order's tall
   

CHORUS: 
   C                        Em/B             Am
I told you to be patient I told you to be fine
    C                       Em/B             Am
I told you to be balanced I told you to be kind
          C                                  Em/B            Am
In the morning I'll be with you, but it will be a different kind
           C                                     Em/B          Am
I'll be holding all the tickets, and you'll be owning all the fines


VERSE:
Am            F                   C 
Come on skinny love what happened here
Am           F                C
Suckle on the hope in lite brassiere
      Am         F             C
My my my – my my my – my my my – my my ...
          F  Dm                    Am
Sullen load is full so slow on the split


CHORUS:
   C                       Em/B             Am
I told you to be patient I told you to be fine
   C                       Em/B             Am
I told you to be balanced I told you to be kind
    C                           Em/B               Am
Now all your love is wasted then who the hell was I?
              C
Cause now I'm breaking at the britches
          Em/B              Am
And at the end of all your lines                                          


BRIDGE: 
C                   Em           Am
  Who will love you?  who will fight?
C                   Em       Am
  And who will fall,  far behind?


Am              F       C
Come on skinny love ........

Am, F, C (1x)

      Am         F             C
My my my – my my my – my my my – my my ... (x2)

Outro: Am, F, C (2x)