How to play She Loves You by The Beatles

How to play ‘She Loves You’ by The Beatles

Some of the best songs to use to learn how to play guitar are by The Beatles. Their music covers common chord progressions but with new twists on the orders and harmonies. Their earlier hits are especially perfect for all levels of guitar. You can play both simplified beginner versions or the real progressions which can get a bit complicated. A great example of a challenging song sounding simple is their early hit “She Loves You.”

This song may appear to be very basic but simply put there is a lot going on under the hood!

…the song also works great as an acoustic tune

Song Background

Early Beatles music is a lot more simplistic than their later songs, many of them have basic titles and are about love and heartbreak. In 1963 the main genres influencing young people were Rock n Roll, folk, soul, and jazz and they are all found in this tune. When read without music the lyrics seem so basic and boring, almost silly! But add the guitar chords and harmonies and you get a hit that is still well-known.

The main minor chord progression of this tune is common in lots of folk music so many were surprised to see them use it in a rock setting. And unlike most songs they do not end on major or minor chords instead they sing “yeah” one final time with a G6. Sixth chords were common harmonies in jazz and swing and it gives the end a slight hint of instability. This song may appear to be very basic but simply put there is a lot going on under the hood!

The Beatles Paul McCartney and George Harrison in June 5 1964. Photo credit VARA
The Beatles Paul McCartney and George Harrison in June 5 1964. Photo credit VARA

The Chords of “She Loves You”

The structure of the song starts out by using the chorus chords in the intro, then there are 3 verses mixed in before a final coda. You can play simple open chords to start with and then as you improve use barre chords instead. There are a few guitar licks that George plays, but first let’s learn to play the chords and basic structure of the song. The intro starts on E minor and uses this order E minorA7C majorG major, each chord lasts two measures before going into the first verse.

Em chord diagram
A7 chord diagram
C maj chord diagram
G maj chord diagram

At the verse we change to a G major and the chords progress one per measure in this order: G major –Em7B minorD7. The Bm will likely cause issues for beginners, you can use a partial barre chord if that helps. After those 8 measures we go into a pre-chorus, the lyrics “she says she” are played on the D7 before moving to “loves you” on the G major.

Bminor chord diagram
D7 chord diagram

The pre chorus chords are every two measures and their order is G – Em – C minor – D7. That Cm will be hard like the Bm if you are not familiar with barre chords. Check out a guitar chord chart like this one if you need help with fingering new or difficult chords. This pre chorus ends on a D7 before playing the verse 2 which has the same G -Em7-Bm-D7 chords. After this second time we play the pre chorus again and when that ends we sing “oo” on the D7 and move into the main refrain of “she loves you.”

This refrain part is the hook and similar to the intro chords with Em-A7-Cm-D7-G. The Em and A7 are played for two measures a piece before the Cm-D7-G where we sing “love like that, you know you should be glad.”

From there we go back to verse 3 with the G-Em7-Bm-D that is repeated twice like before. Again we repeat the pre chorus with G-Em-Cm-D7 before going into the main refrain again of “she loves you” with Em-A7-Cm-D7-G. A brief Em measure is played before going to the coda. Repeat the “love like that” Cm-D7-G-Em three times before ending on Em6 “yeah, yeah, yeah” and then a C major “yeah, yeah, yeah” and end on a final “yeah” with the G6.

Em7 chord diagram
Em6 chord diagram

Further Tips and Tricks When Playing The Beatles

At first try not to complicate things and just make sure you are getting the right chords as you play along with the song. Your strum is a simple mix of downstrokes and optional alternate picking, nothing too fancy or special. Once you have the chords down you can start spicing things up with some guitar riffs.

At the end of the intro George plays a lick on the 3rd, 5th, and 6th frets. Start at the third fret of the D and G string and play that before hitting the 5th fret of the A string. After that play the 3rd fret of the D and G again before sliding up and bending the 5th, 6th and then back to the 3rd again. End on the 5th fret of the A string and finally the 3rd fret of the D string. After that the main verse chords begin.

That same lick occurs before the main refrain again. Another lick George plays in between the pre chorus Em and Cm is this descending chord riff of XX5003, XX4002, XX2000. That lick repeats at times on the “yeah, yeah, yeah.” The final 5 measures before the end George also plays this during the Em6-C-G6, XXX023, XXX022, XXX020, XXX013, XXX012, XXX010, and finally XXX00X. These extra riffs will come slowly as you repeatedly practice the song.

If you want to get the right sound in your amp you can use a clean tone with a touch of slap back to give it the right amount of reverb and slight delay. But the song also works great as an acoustic tune if you prefer it that way. One of the hardest aspects about the song may be the singing, since they rely on harmonies you will have to find the best notes for you to sing.

If you can play the song with someone else that can help the singing and two guitars can play the rhythm chords along with the lead licks. The second player can play the main chords further up the fretboard to get a little variation. Once you can play this song look into other early Beatles hits as they all have great practice chords, progressions, and simple licks for beginners.

“She Loves You” by The Beatles is a great song for open mics, campfires, and many other situations. Many people know and love the tune and most of all the main refrain is a very catchy hook. Take the Bm and Cm slow at first and play along with the song over and over until it starts to work and you get the changes right. This is one of the best songs to learn to play and sing with on guitar so once you have it down you will be ready for more!

Guitar Tricks

By Shawn Leonhardt for Guitar Tricks and 30 Day Singer

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