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Guitar Chords study - Beatles

Updated on October 13, 2013

Guitar Chords - Beatles songs

If you play guitar in a band it's really important to know some Beatles songs - especially for wedding gigs. For songwriters too, learning as many as possible will help you develop your own writing and arranging abilities. Here we are looking at an early Beatles song that shall remain nameless! Let's just say, it's the one with French lyrics.

Music Theory section:

This song has many changes of key, although it's arranged here in D minor. Mostly, the song changes between D Minor and D Major, and there is also a brief change into Bb. This key changing keeps the chords sounding interesting and unpredictable. If you want to play along with the original recording, use a capo in fret 3 to change the key to Fm.

Make sure you follow the signs - x means don't play this string, O means open string. The 6 vertical lines are the strings.

Beatles chords

Intro Chords

The intro chords are two strums for each chord, as shown in the diagram. Keep the open D string going as a pedal bass note, and the only moving note is the one on string 3.

The verse starts with the D chord - you could use the common-or-garden D shape, but this one is nice and bright, and has the melody note at the top - useful, because this sounds great played as a chord -melody piece.

The Gm7 chord is played with a half barre, and the thumb covering string 6, the lowest sounding string. Again, you could use a standard barre chord.

Chord types

The B chord shown is B diminished. Diminished chords are usually found in jazz tunes, especially early 1920s and 1930s tunes by the greats, such as George Gershwin,Irving Berlin, Cole Porter.

So when The Beatles use these chords, they are referring back to the songs of The Great American songbook, and continuing in a noble tradition. In songs like Honey Pie and When I'm Sixty-Four, there is s strong element of pastiche, which is enhanced by the use of 1920s instrumentation, such as clarinet.

More chord types

The Beatles were very fond of the A7 sus4 to A7 change, used very widely in their songs. This chord progression usually resolves to D major, though it can also resolve to Dm.

The Bb chord is a Bb maj7. You could barre this chord, but it's a bit difficult to do that without getting unwanted buzzes. Here the chord progression is called a ii - V - 1, one of the most common in all music, but especially in jazz. The name comes from the intervals in the chord changes - in the key of Bb, the ii chord is Cm, the V chord is F7, the 1 chord or home chord is Bb.


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    • Jon Green profile image

      Jon Green 4 years ago from Frome, Somerset, UK

      Hi Johnny - you're welcome. Many of the Beatles songs are mini music lessons!

    • johnnycook profile image

      johnnycook 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      Thanks Jon. Really useful.