Learn the chords and play along with 10 Beatles guitar tutorials for hit songs like "Here Comes the Sun,” She Loves You” & "While My Guitar Gently Weeps.”
By Ben Nemeroff
If there’s one thing most music lovers and musicians can agree on, it’s that The Beatles are timeless and their songs still sound as fresh as ever. Fender Play’s Beatles collection compiles some of the band’s #1 hits and beloved tracks for guitarists of all levels to learn to play, making it easy to break down these tracks and play them on your own. In this article, we’ll explore ten songs from this collection, some of the chords you’ll need to play songs by The Beatles, as well as the band’s lasting legacy.
As a band, The Beatles were only together for less than a decade, yet the impact they made on the musical landscape is undeniable, having been dubbed the most influential band in history. John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr lead the “British Invasion” of rock and roll, leaving a trail of 20 #1 Billboard hits and legions of fans in their wake, even decades after the group disbanded.
In 1964, the “Lads from Liverpool” made their mark on American music fans with an appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show, sparking a wave of “Beatlemania” with their distinctive mop-top hairstyles and matching suits. Their harmony-heavy, pop-tinted brand of rock evolved with the times, with the band branching into more experimental territory over the years, dipping a toe into the waters of heavier, more psychedelic rock.
Since then, The Beatles’ influence on countless artists has been almost immeasurable. Noteworthy bands and artists who have cited The Fab Four as inspiration include The Beach Boys, KISS, and Dave Grohl of Nirvana and Foo Fighters.
One of the driving forces of The Beatles’ sound was George Harrison’s guitar playing. Harrison’s rockabilly influence can be heard on some of The Beatles’ earlier hits, such as “She Loves You” and “From Me to You.” During the band’s later years, The Beatles’ sound evolution allowed Harrison to show off his more experimental side and unleash beautiful arpeggio work on songs such as “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” (a tune where he also provided lead vocals).
A free trial of Fender Play gives you unlimited access to bite-sized video lessons that show you the chords and techniques used to play some of The Fab Four’s best-known songs.
In this article, we’ll show you how to play ten Beatles songs on guitar, exploring some of the tunes in this collection, including:
• Here Comes the Sun
• She Loves You
• While My Guitar Gently Weeps
• I Saw Her Standing There
• From Me to You
• I Wanna Be Your Man
• There's a Place
• I Me Mine
Learning to play songs by The Beatles can open up a whole new level of appreciation for the timeless sound of this iconic group. These songs are great for guitarists at all levels -- from beginners to more seasoned players. And while some of The Beatles’ songs require a more advanced knowledge of chords and techniques, Fender Play makes it easy to break down these songs into shorter sections and lessons. This approach allows even beginner guitarists to build their knowledge of chords and various techniques required to play Beatles songs at a pace that’s comfortable for them.
Before you start playing some of your favorite Beatles songs, make sure you learn the most common chords used in The Fab Four’s tunes. Start practicing some of the following chords to easily transition from one chord to the next:
Written by George Harrison, “Here Comes the Sun” is one of the most recognized Beatles songs of all time. Written and released shortly before The Beatles broke up, “Here Comes the Sun” appeared on 1969’s Abbey Road. The song uses a capo on the seventh fret -- a hallmark of Harrison’s playing style -- and layers melody over open chords.
Arpeggio picking -- breaking down a chord into single notes -- creates the song’s lilting melody. Other techniques, such as chord anticipation, hammer-ons and pull-offs, and single note down picking, makes this song a challenging one to learn, while still appropriate for guitarists at all levels. Beginners can start with learning the simple chord progression, while intermediate and advanced guitar players can try their hand at the rich arpeggios and picking patterns.
Listen to Justus West play a unique version of “Here Comes the Sun” by The Beatles on the Must-Know Guitar Riffs episode of Fender Play Live.
“She Loves You,” The Beatles’ breakthrough hit that brought them to the attention of the music fans in 1963, is instantly recognizable by its jangly rhythm guitar. It was one of three songs the band played on their iconic American television debut on The Ed Sullivan Show.
“She Loves You” uses several basic chords, but introduces alternate strumming, syncopated strumming, and muting strings to create that bouncy, toe-tapping rhythm feel. The song’s upbeat, cheerful lyrics are complemented by the loose alternate strumming patterns that allows guitarists to get into the feel and flow of the song themselves.
Each member of The Beatles had their own epithet or persona trait that marked them as distinctive to their fans. Although guitarist George Harrison was dubbed “the shy one,” he certainly made his mark on The Beatles’ catalog, as well as his own musical projects after the group split. Like “Here Comes the Sun,” “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” was yet another Harrison composition where he tackled lead vocal duties. Harrison’s frequent collaborator Eric Clapton played the guitar solo on the song.
It appeared on the 1968 double-album, The Beatles (aka “The White Album”) and is widely viewed as one of the best Beatles songs of all time. Notably, “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” was covered at George Harrison’s posthumous induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004 by an all-star group, consisting of his son Dhani Harrison, Harrison’s former Traveling Wilburys bandmates Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne, and Prince.
The song is challenging for guitarists to learn, although its basic chords can give beginners a great springboard for mastering chord forms and applying a few techniques to give the song its emotional resonance. “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” is also unique in that it starts in the key of A minor, then switches to A major on the bridge / pre-chorus. Alternate strumming and two hand string muting are a few of the subtle, yet effective techniques used to give the song its pensive feel.
Learn to play “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” by The Beatles on guitar.
“Something” exemplifies The Beatles’ ability to transcend genres. Another George Harrison composition, “Something” has been covered by a diverse range of artists including Frank Sinatra, Shirley Bassey, Elvis Presley, and Ray Charles, among others.
The tender ballad’s intro riff is instantly recognizable thanks to the string bends that give way to a chord progression. Down strumming lends emphasis to eighth note and quarter note strumming patterns. The song also incorporates some standard chords, as well as chord combinations on its various progressions, giving players a chance to hear how chords sound layered over one another on the fretboard.
Learn to play “Something” by The Beatles on guitar.
While George Harrison’s influences as a guitarist were firmly rooted in rockabilly, Lennon and McCartney’s penchant for American blues is on display on The Beatles’ 1963 hit, “I Saw Her Standing There.” To play this song, you’ll only need to know four chords. Once you master them, you can practice the fast-paced rhythmic alternate strumming technique that gives the song its bluesy, up-tempo feel.
Learn to play “I Saw Her Standing There” by The Beatles on guitar. Want to learn even more Beatles songs at your own pace? Sign up for a free trial of Fender Play.
Loaded with vocal harmonies, “From Me to You” early Fab Four at their finest. Written while on tour in the early 1960s, “From Me to You” was conceived by Lennon and McCartney when the duo was just playing around on guitar and decided to develop the tune around the melody line they’d just created. By the end of the trip, they’d carved out the entire song -- lyrics and all -- with the title taken from magazine NME’s “From You To Us” column.
The song starts out with a simple riff, weaving in notes from the pentatonic scale before giving way to a mix of minor, major, and 7th chords, as well as a few combined chords. Practicing your syncopated strumming technique allows players of all levels to get into the bouncy, rhythmic feel of “From Me to You.”
Written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, 1963’s “I Wanna Be Your Man” was one of the first songs sung by the group’s drummer, Ringo Star. Lennon and McCartney later gave the song to their fellow Brits, The Rolling Stones, who released their version one year later in 1964. While The Beatles’ version has a distinctive, chipper, harmony-heavy sound, the Stones morphed the track into a slightly bluesier, edgier version.
To try your own hand at “I Wanna Be Your Man” and put your own stamp on it, you’ll only need to master the E7 chord and a handful of two-note power chords. On this song, you’ll get to play around with string bending to augment the pitch of different notes, as well as sliding your fingers between different chords and notes to create a blues-inflected twang to this song.
For a song about “Misery,” The Beatles make a melancholy mood appealing with their signature harmonies and bouncy chord progressions typical of their early years. Made up of four easy-to-play open chords, “Misery” is a great song for beginner and intermediate guitarists to learn. Syncopated strumming and eighth note strumming let guitarists feel the music and explore strumming chords at a faster pace once they’ve mastered the basic chord patterns.
Blues-inspired walk-downs and alternate strumming give “There’s a Place” its cheery feel. A song about escaping into a pleasant daydream with someone you love is emblematic of the optimism of early Beatles lyrics and Lennon and McCartney’s musical composition heightens that feeling. Strum along with this song, weaving in a batch of open chords that are simple for beginners and intermediate-level guitarists to learn. Once you feel comfortable playing each of the chords, work your way up to swiftly transitioning between them and building to a speedier eighth note strum pace.
“I Me Mine” bears the distinction of being the last song The Beatles wrote together before they broke up in 1970. Written by the group’s guitarist George Harrison, the song saw him taking on vocal duties, singing about the human ego and mankind’s penchant for being self-absorbed, as well as a commentary on the dissension among the band at the time.
“I Me Mine” switches between low-and-slow blues to Chuck Berry-style riffing tinged with rockabilly (a Harrison staple) to a rock version of a waltz. When playing this song, listen for the mix of time signatures -- playing the song at a slower tempo before diving into the swing / shuffle feel it carries in various parts.
There’s no doubt that The Beatles influence on music stands strong even today, with new generations listening to the band decades after they’d broken up. Learning to play songs by some of your favorite bands not only helps you develop a stronger ear for music and different styles, but gives you more chords and tricks to tuck into your own guitar arsenal. Check out the full Beatles collection on Fender Play and learn to play some of the band’s songs on guitar. A free trial of Fender Play unlocks The Beatles collection, as well as a full library of songs and lessons to learn at your own pace -- play whenever and wherever you want!