Morphine transcriptions.

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"Cure for pain" by Mark Sandman, as recorded by his band Morphine
This is an academic, but not exact note for note transcription in tablature form, for 2 string slide bass guitar, by James Möbius. It is based on a live perfomance, not the studio version of this song.

As of publication date, you can view this video at this url: you can also see the video embedded further down this page.

This is posted for music education purposes and the promotion of Morphine music only, no copyright infringement is intended. If you like this song enough to read this transcription and don't already own a legally obtained copy, please purchase one, you can find it on iTunes, or in record stores if there are any of those left. Transcript 2012. Song Mark Sandman 2012

Tuning: D A (the "standard") Slide bass played with a pick, and a metal slide, for best effect. Note: this is not a "dropped D" tuning below the low E string on a standard bass, but the open D string. If you don't own a 2 string bass, you can play this on a 4 or 5 using the 2 highest strings, retune the G string up to an A, you will find the action too low to use a slide without fret buzz, to solve this problem some people dedicate an old 4 string bass for slide, moving the D and G strings to the center position and installing something to raise the nut 1/4". I made my own 2 string slide bass from scratch, you can see that project on this page: the Bat Bass
/ = slide up \ = slide down
LR= let ring (out)

About the song: Cure for pain is probably Morphine's best known song, garnering a lot of airplay and attention, justly so, sharing it's I, VI, V chord progression with another hit song, Randy Newman's "I love L.A.", I can't think off the top of my head of another hit song that used that progression and considering you can't copyright a chord progression, and this is such a nice one, that's surprising, and no doubt worked in the song's favour as it didn't sound like everything else out there, not that Morphine sounded like any other band anyway. Although the lyrics would appear to promote drug use, contrary to rumour Mark was not a heavy user and did not die from drug use, he'd been stabbed in the chest when he drove a taxi before the band started to become successful, and suffered a fatal heart attack on stage.

Tablature; main verse groove

variant 1:

variant 2:

(with a lot of hand tremolo

turn-around to verse from chorus



Where is the ritual?
And tell me where, where is the taste?
Where is the sacrifice?
And tell me where, where is the faith?

Someday there'll be a cure for pain
That's the day I throw my drugs away
When they find a cure for pain

Where is the cave where the wise woman went?
And tell me where, where's all that money that I spent?

I propose a toast
To my self control
You see it crawlin' helpless on the floor

Someday there'll be a cure for pain
That's the day I throw my drugs away
When they find a cure for pain
I'll throw my drugs away
When they find a cure for pain

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