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Learn to Play Marc Bolan T-Rex 20th Century Boy

Updated on October 7, 2014

Marc Bolan - the Ultimate 20th Century Boy

Learn to play Marc Bolan on guitar 20th Century Boy. Do you remember Marc Bolan and T-Rex? Where can you buy T Rex sheet music? Sing along with 20th Century Boy? This page will show you how to play Marc Bolan on guitar, the chords for 20th Century Boy and link to more cool Marc Bolan guitar resources.

Anyone of my generation would have been captivated by glam rock star Marc Bolan. His pixie-ish smile, wild good looks and very British brand of glam rock endeared him to millions of teenage girls. The raunchy guitar he played on his Gibson Flying-V guitar won over the boys too.

Marc Bolan's death was a shock to many of us. This lens is about Marc Bolan's ultimate song 20th Century Boy! I love this song and have taught students to play it. It remains a firm favourite even with very young 21st Century Boys and Girls. Here I will share some tips on how to play it, some links where you can hear or buy 20th Century Boy, and some videos of the great man himself.

Picture courtesy of Wikimedia - Creative Commons - thank you to the photographer for donating the right to use this picture.

Learn Guitar Songs - Chord Diagrams for Marc Bolan 20th Century Boy - Plus E minor pentatonic scale diagram

Chords you need for 20th Century Boy
Chords you need for 20th Century Boy

These chords will help you play Marc Bolan's 20th Century Boy.

Just follow the tips below and listen to the song as you do.

Which is your favourite Marc Bolan video? - Is it 20th Century Boy? See if you can find it here!

E major
E major

Learn Guitar Songs - Marc Bolan 20th Century Boy

How to play T Rex 20th Century Boy

Listen to the acoustic version of the video as you read this, then it will make more sense!

Play the E chord with a quick flourish - Down Up Down (Digga DUM)

On the third time, play the great riff on string 6 -


Keeping listening to Marc Bolan 20th Century Boy....

Play Marc Bolan 20th Century Boy

This is followed by a great syncopated rhythm break using the E5 chord in 7th position. It helps to palm mute!

The Rock and Roll Bit in 20th Century Boy

Playing the A chord

You then move into the A chord for four bars. You can do a rock and roll break over this.

Then back into the Digga DUM and the riff twice

Finishing the verse of Marc Bolan 20th Century Boy

A and B7 chords

Follow with a bar of A, a bar of B7 (or B with a barre chord if you can manage it)

Finish with a single E strum that hangs nearly 8 beats before we start the Digga DUMs again!

Now wasn't that easy?

Buy Marc Bolan Songs on Amazon - Marc Bolan Songs and Memorabilia For Sale

Learn Guitar Songs - The Solo in 20th Century Boy

Using the simple E minor pentatonic scale

The solo, like many Bolan solos, shadows the vocal line and is based on the E minor pentatonic shape given here and a higher position version I will give you later!

If you learn no other scale as a rock guitarist, learn Eminor pentatonic. You can play a whole bunch of great songs and solos with it!

Of course you can click out to TAB if you like, but it is so much more fun to get it with diagrams and a little listening.

This is simple raunchy rock and glam at its best!

Marc Bolan 20th Century Boy Acoustic Warrior version - Acoustic versions of T-Rex hits

Acoustic Warrior. The Camden Collection [IMPORT]
Acoustic Warrior. The Camden Collection [IMPORT]

Although the rock versions are exciting, the acoustic versions give you clearer listening when learning a song!


If you enjoyed this page, please let me know. Should I show you more T-Rex songs perhaps? You tell me!

Thank you for visiting.

Are you a T-Rex Fan - Could you learn to be a metal guru?

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    • dahlia369 profile image

      dahlia369 6 years ago

      I like listening to the music - and dancing - but playing instruments I'll gladly skip... lol

    • TapIn2U profile image

      TapIn2U 6 years ago

      I knew only a little about Marc Bolan. But I knew he was such a great man. He and his music will forever live. Sundae ;-)

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      I love Marc Bolan and his music! He was a wonderful man.

      I`d like to learn the song "Cosmic Dancer", i think, it was one of his favourite songs.

    • Richard-H profile image

      Richard 7 years ago from Surrey, United Kingdom

      As a Brit teenager in the 1970s, Marc Bolan was always a favourite, as were many of his contemporaries from the British glam rock movement. I still listen to him today. Thanks for the journey back :)

    • profile image

      ZazzleEnchante 7 years ago

      Yep I'm all for more T-Rex songs! Love this lens!