Leaving on a Jet Plane is a fantastic example why tabs and chord files you tend to find online, without notes written out, can be so problematic. The slightest change in how you sing a phrase can cause a different chord to be used. But without the notes, you just see a chord. Unless you happen to sing the phrase the same way in terms of notes, the listed chords might sound quite wrong to you. Or singing by ear, you might find trying to fit the phrase into the chording given is rather awkward.
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In my tabbed files below, I have two sets of chords for each file, though they are both in the same key. It’s just a matter of how you phrase the first line, and some subsequent lines like it within the verse. If a C is your high note, as John Denver sings it in the video above, then one set of chords works well for it. If B is your high note, just a semi-tone below that C, another set of chord works better. But if there were no notes written out, you’d be scrambling to try to figure it out. And you’d be wrong if you sang it with a B for the high note, if you were a purist to try to sing it “right”.
That said, though, on the ukulele, I would actually recommend singing the version with the B high note in that first line (page 2 of the ukulele tabs). The C chord is just too open for my liking in the middle of the phrase. But that’s just my take. You play what you want. Hopefully, having these two versions will give you one that’s reasonably close to how you would sing it. Any further deviations and well, you’re on your own, I’m afraid. 🙂
But this is a prime example of why I have notes written out with my tabs and chords, aside from helping you (and me) sing things correctly.
I also left out a few chords on the ukulele version which didn’t add as much colour as the chords in the guitar version did. Most noticeably, I left out a bunch of D7 chords in the ukulele version, or just used a D. They were arranged in the guitar as such to denote mid-verse and end verse points, leading to transitions or not. But on the ukulele, l;et’s just say I’m not the biggest fan of the D7 chord in the C6 tuning of GCEA. You get to avoid it if you use a ADF#B tuning like Chalmers Doane preferred his ukuleles. In this song, where the D7 is used, it follows a D. As such, then, instead of using the barred version of D7, I recommend just dropping your pinky (baby) finger on to the 3rd fret of the A string while hold the D previously with your other three fingers.
If the letter size tabs (8.5″ x 11″) are too small for your eyes, you can either enlarge to tabloid size (11″ x 17″) using an automatic enlarge feature on many photocopiers, or download the tabloid sized versions for printing. The tabloid size tabs can be inserted into a typical letter sized binder on the 11″ size, and folded almost in half to fit. You just open each tab to use it.
Flesch-Kincaid Grade Reading Level: 6.6