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Here Comes The Sun

Guitar Lesson by Kirk Lorange

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The Lesson explained


Here is my rendition of George Harrison's 'Here Comes The Sun', requested by Colin from the UK. Hope you like it, Col.

Who doesn't love this song? I read somewhere that it's the most downloaded of all the Beatles songs, and that's saying something. The Lennon / McCartney team have written some of the most wonderful popular tunes in the history of pop so the fact that George's beat them in popularity is quite something. If only he were still here to enjoy it. I have a feeling that he's out there, though, and that he knows.

What a marathon it was getting this down. I have mentioned before that when you video a performance of a tune you don't have the luxury of 'dropping in' on any little flubs, bum notes, rattles or squeaks. You really do need to play it right through from top to tail and get it right -- well, close to 'right'. I'll never be happy with my performances. You'll notice quick smart that I slowed it down considerably. I did for two reasons: 1) my old fingers just don't work as well as they used to and 2) this is a lesson. There's no point in tearing through a piece at blistering speed if you're trying to teach how to play it.

I've done this in dropped D. I watched a couple of vids of George playing it and he also plays it in D, but with a capo way up on the 7th fret making it the key of A. I was surprised to see in another clip (where he plays it capoed at the fifth fret, making it the key of G) with Paul Simon that he's in Standard tuning. This song is perfect for dropped D. Maybe he never used it?

The progression is almost pure diatonic, the only 'outside chord' is the E7 that appears near the end of each chorus. The rest are all I, IV and V chords and one ii (the momentary Em) ... apart from the key change bits, which are also I, IV, V chords of the key of C.

You'll see that I approach the song in a couple of different ways. The opening pass is played up the neck using open strings mixed in with fretted strings -- gives a nice ringing sound -- then I play the second pass down near the nut using chords and double stops ... the last pass is more the like first. You can, of course, use whichever you find the most comfortable.

Then there's the fiddly bits!

There are two fiddly bits. The first one is the one that finishes of the choruses (bars 14-19; 32-36; 79-83 and 85 - 89. These are the trickiest, a lot of quick position changes and a new time signature (3/8). It's a IV - I - ii - I - V progression. The second fiddly bit is the key change, which starts at bar 40. Again, it switches to 3/8 time with 2/4 and 5/4 bars thrown in for good measure. You'll see that I do two passes with just the arpeggios then a couple more with the melody note on top (sun, sun, sun here it comes). As always, there's only one way to come to grips with these fiddly passages: play them slowly over and over and over and over again and again and again and again.

The time signatures: I typed into Google 'here comes the sun time signatures' and naturally found a lot on the subject. There wasn't much consensus either. If you order the TAB you'll see that I use 2/4 then 3/8 then a bar of 5/4 in that middle 'sun, sun sun' section. I found that to be the most logical. In some of those google search results I saw 11/4 and 7/4 ... !!! It's a known fact that the Beatles didn't read music so it's pretty obvious that George just 'felt' his way through the 3/8s and 5/4s making it all match the lyrics and general vibe. I've played it for decades myself without ever wondering what the time signatures were. But, when you're tabbing it out you need to break it all down and that's what I came up with.

I hope you like this one. I spent a lot of time myself playing it over and over until I felt comfortable enough to record it. I'm sure I'll be able to do better in a couple of weeks if I continue playing it ... it is a lot of fun to play. It's a musical puzzle and who doesn't like solving a good puzzle?

Until next time :-)


For a mere $4.95, you can download the Guitar Pro file and a printable PDF of the tab/notation of this lesson. The fee helps me to pay for the hosting and running of this site and allows me to create more of these lessons. Click here to order it. Thanks!