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how to play Yesterday by the beatles how to play Yesterday by the beatles

On this post, we will learn how to play “Yesterday” by The Beatles from their 1965 Album “HELP!”

This song has been even more popular because of the 2019 movie of the same title.

"Yesterday" is British romantic comedy film directed by Danny Boyle and written by Richard Curtis, based on an original screenplay by Jack Barth and Mackenzie Crook.

I want to make this tutorial the simplest and easiest tutorial you will ever find online or in Youtube on how to play Yesterday.

Youtube Video – Yesterday

Some things I want to mention before we start, though.

First, the guitar we will use is in standard tuning. So if you try and play what we will be doing here along side the original song, it will sound different.

The guitar in the original Beatles song is actually tuned one whole step down. So, if we play a G major chord shape, the original song will sound like an “F” even though the hand formation or the chord shape is in “G”.

Here are some of my tips to get us started

  • We will use the thumb and index (and middle finger) strumming
  • Each chord will have 1 count of fours (4’s). So, if we say play G twice, that’s 8 count, meaning we repeat the 4 count pattern twice.
  • Most chord will have the same fours (4’s) pattern and some will be a little different (but dont worry, we’ll break those them down note by note.)

Let’s start with the verse

The intro is basically 8 counts of “G”, that’s 2 – fours (4’s)

How to Play The Verse

The chord used in the verse are:

G major

F#m7 – this is an alternate fingering for the chord.. since we will only be playing the E bass string and the 3 high strings.

B7 – the 4rth string is also optional to play. So the left hand index finger is not required to play the 4th string note.

Em – for the Em (E minor) on the verse, I only use one finger on the 2nd fret of the 4th string.. since the top 4 strings are the ones in play for this particular chord in the verse

Em is played 2 times. The first time is the regular bass-3 strums.. the second one is a decending bass from E note to C .. that is E, D, C.. we then have the C major chord.. which is the next chord.

C – plays the bass-3 strum pattern once same as the next chord:


Next is “G” played twice. The first one is the bass-3 strum.. and the second one is the decending bass from G, F# to E (for Em chord)

This second Em chord for the verse

plays the low open E strings and the 3 high strings.

If you look at it, there is actually no fingers required on the fingerboard.

Next is A7.. bass and 3 strums pattern. You only need to play the 2nd string on the 2nd fret if you want to.

And then the last 2 chords is C and G. C can be played with just one strum (4 count time) and G – 2 strums (in 4 count time).

About Riff (165 Articles)
Riff Richard is an IT person, a husband, a dad, a couch potato and a passionate guitar player

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