Learn Tomorrow Never Knows, by The Beatles, on Guitar
This blog post is a tutorial on how to play Tomorrow Never Knows by The Beatles on guitar.
Tomorrow Never Knows Gets a 0/10 Difficulty Rating
Though Tomorrow Never Knows is roughly based in the key center of C Major, we could say that the entire song uses the chord system C–F–G, believe it or not. It sounds cool if you play it on either acoustic guitar or electric guitar, and this tutorial is an arrangement of the song (in other words, you won't hear this part on the original recording).
What skills are required?
Though this tutorial is appropriate for you if you have little to no experience with guitar, you do need to know how to tune your guitar to successfully play it.
What are the benefits to learning Tomorrow Never Knows?
Practicing this song will help you become more familiar with both the C Major chord as well as guitar strumming patterns in general. The C Major chord is one of seven incredibly popular guitar chords used extensively in pop music. Additionally, guitar strumming patterns are widely used in popular rhythm guitar songs.
Having both of these skill under your fingers means you'll be in better shape to learn more songs on the guitar.
Recommended: Download the song
There are a few versions of this song you can find online, but this tutorial is based off of the recorded version. I strongly recommend downloading a MP3 copy of this song for yourself.*
Getting familiar with the song
Our first job is to become super familiar with Tomorrow Never Knows first. Why? Keep this in mind: The better you know a song before you start to learn it on guitar, the faster you'll learn it. My recommendation is to listen to the song three or four times before you jump into the guitar techniques.
I'm also assuming that there are at least a couple of you out there who absolutely love The Beatles, and I couldn't possibly blame you for that. If you are all over this song and can sing along with the lyrics already, I think you're ready to jump fully into the guitar part of the song.
Learning the guitar part
Guitar part overview
As I mentioned, this arrangement of the song has only one chord and one strumming pattern. As long as you can play this one chord and can strum this one strumming pattern, you're set to play this song.
It should also be noted that the guitar part that I'm going to show you is not heard on the original recording, simply because it is an arrangement that was designed to help you learn guitar. I wasn't going for perfection with learning a song perfectly. Instead, I care more about helping you learn guitar.
The C Major chord
There is one chord you need to know: C Major.
The strumming pattern
Put it all together
If you can play the strumming pattern and the chord along with the song, you've got it! Congratulations!
"My C Major chord sounds terrible!!!"
Many people have trouble with making the C Major chord sound clear and ringy at first. You're not alone! The best thing you can do is to be good to yourself and not stress yourself out about it. It's okay. Give the chord time. If you like to play guitar and you keep up with it, then chances are really good that you'll be able to play the C Major chord quite a bit better in time, without worrying about it.
That said, here are some technical suggestions to help you play this chord better:
- Play on your fingertips, only. Imagine you're playing with a claw. It will hurt your fingertips at first, but after a couple of weeks of practice, that pain will be gone.
- Try not to be on the pads of your fingers.
- Cut your fingernails.
- Try to be as close to the frets as you can. This will help you get a clearer, and less buzzy sound.
- If you can get three strings of this chord sounding good, that's good enough. Be good to yourself and relax if the chord doesn't sound all that great right now. If you enjoy playing guitar enough and stick with it, this problem will solve itself over time.
"The strumming is hard and I can't play along with the song."
Play the strumming pattern at three tempos, just like in the free module. Playing at slower and faster tempos gets you ready for playing the real thing.
"I can't hear the song!"
Turn the volume of the song up slightly louder than your guitar and use headphones. The most decrepit pair of headphones is far better than most computer speakers.
"When is it time for me to move onto a new song?"
Here's a thought for you: When you can play along with the recorded version of this song from start to finish without a single thought entering your mind, you're ready for a new song.
Want an interruption-free version of the same information? Want some free downloads, too? It's free!
I've put together a totally free video module to help you learn this song. The module has the same information you've seen in this blog post, but it has some a couple of perks:
- Free download of the mp3 backup track.
- Free download of an mp3 of me playing the guitar part alone.
- Free PDF download of the song sheet for this song.
- Zero interruptions of any type in your learning experience.