Time in a Bottle Guitar Lesson

Time In a Bottle by Jim Croce – Guitar Lesson and TABs

Time In a Bottle was written by singer-songwriter Jim Croce in 1970 after his wife announced to him that she was pregnant. The song appeared on his 1972 album 'You don't Mess Around with Jim'.

Tragically, Croce died in a plane crash in 1973. Following his unexpected death the song was released as a single and it quickly rose to the number one spot for two consecutive weeks. 

Time In a Bottle is a beautiful song that's great fun to play. There are two guitar parts working in perfect harmony throughout. If you're up for the challenge then you can learn both parts, or alternatively if you have someone to duo with, you can just learn the part you intend to play. 

Song Details:

  • Key - D minor
  • Tuning - standard 
  • Tempo - 135 bpm
  • Difficulty - intermediate-advanced

Time In a Bottle (Performance)

As you learn to play this fingerstyle arrangement of Time In a Bottle, be sure to frequently return to the performance as a good reference point and guide.   

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Intro/verse (1st Guitar)

The trickiest part to the intro of Time In a Bottle is probably the awkward fingering between the Dm/C# to the Dm/C chord. You don't have play it as I have, some people shift the pinky down from the C# to the C, instead of switching to the third finger. Play around and see what works best for you.

Chorus (1st Guitar)

For the chorus of Time In a Bottle the key changes from D minor to D major, this really gives a great lift to the song. You'll likely find this section easier to play than the verse as there's no stretching required.

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Outro (1st Guitar) 

The outro isn't particularly hard to play. Having said that, what I personally found difficult is how quickly it creeps up on you. Just make sure you know it's coming after the second chorus or you'll miss it. 

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Intro (2nd Guitar)

The first thing to do when you start working on the second guitar part is to place a capo on the 5th fret. 

Verse (2nd Guitar)

It's pretty hard having to stretch your pinky up to the 4th fret on the Am/G# in the verse. Other than that the chords aren't too hard to play, there's just a lot of them to remember.

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Chorus (2nd Guitar)

Again here you're constantly arpeggiating the chords throughout. 

Ending (2nd Guitar)

This is virtually the same as the other guitar part, just played higher up the neck.

Let me know what you thought of the lesson in the comments section below. Tell me what you found hard/easy and add any song suggestions that you may have.

Recent Song Lessons

  1. Trevor left a comment on 7th December 2019 at 9:36 am

    I can’t tell you how please I am to have found your site, Chris. I’m actually playing stuff I used to listen to in awe as a teenager! Speaking of which, have you ever heard a piece called ‘Room of Roots’ by Al Stewart? It’s on the album Zero She Flies, iirc. That would make a great lesson. Thanks again.

    • Six String Fingerpicking left a comment on 13th December 2019 at 10:45 am

      That’s great Trevor, really pleased you like my lessons. I don’t know that song, although I do know a few Al Stewart tunes. I’ll check it out.

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