Wonderful Tonight by Eric Clapton (Chords and Tabs)

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Song Difficulty

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Lesson Description

In this lesson we will learn the classic Eric Clapton tune Wonderful Tonight. This tune has several guitar parts including a relatively simple lead line that is great for students just learning how to bend strings. The Wonderful Tonight chords are primarily G, C and D major. There are several different layered guitar parts in the recording that arpeggiate the chords.  One of the guitars use open chords and the other uses a form of barre chords.

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Video Transcript

In this lesson we're going to be learning Wonderful Tonight by Eric Clapton. We're gonna learn two different rhythm guitar parts and also the lead part.
this is a great tune too because the lead part is pretty easy and if you're just learning bends this is a great tune to practice with.
So let's start with the basic Chord progression.
It goes G, to a D with an F sharp on the bottom, which I'm playing with my thumb over the top of the neck. Then we go to C, and then D.
It's just a bar of each. Now if you can't play the F sharp on the low E string with your thumb you could just play a D chord. You can definitely get away with that.
OK now.. That's through the verses and the intro.
Now there's a pick pattern and it kind of changes throughout. He's basically just arpeggiating the chords but the main pattern is something like that. So I am picking G, D string G string back to D string B, G, D, G.
Then we go to our D with our F Sharp, Same thing exactly.. Then when you get to the C you're gonna change it a little but, you're gonna move everything down a string. And then to the D chord. So in context.. It repeats that throughout the verse. And you're basically doing that pick pattern throughout the entire tune.
Now there's another guitar part and it's going to play the same chords but different fingerings up in a higher register. So I'm basically gonna play the G like a G Barre chord with the root on the E string but I'm just playing the higher strings so I don't need to barre it. I just need to Barre the high E and B string second finger on the fourth fret of the G and the third finger on the fifth fret of the D string.
OK now this pick pattern.. Is a little but different. It goes like that.
ANd then we go to this for the D. So it's still a D with an F sharp in the bass. So I'm barring the second fret G, B and E string. Second finger on the third fret of the B string. That makes our D chord. Just a different way of playing it, Then we're gonna put our third finger on the fourth fret of the D string then we're gonna go...
So, so far...
Then we're gonna go to a C, we don't need to play the whole thing. We don't need our third finger because we're not gonna pick that. Same pick pattern.
And then to our D, a regular D. So that is the OTHER guitar part. Sp there's two arpeggiating rhythm guitar parts.
So that plays along with the first one we did. Ok that's what is gonna be played in the verses now, and the intro.. One of the guitars does something a little different. You'll hear this in the recording. I think it's the higher one here.
It goes like that. Now instead of going to the D, this guitar part does a little riff that'll sound familiar to you, it goes.. Then it goes back to the G, so.. The little riff ends on the one of the next time around the Chord progression. So it goes.. In context like this.
It does that. OK so.. You can decide if you're playing by yourself how you want to break this up. And you don't even have to play that particular arpeggiated pattern because it kind of really changes throughout the song. He doesn't play it the exact same way every time. But those are two of the ones that are pretty prominent. Now, on top of those two, we have the lead part. And we're still in the intro here. Although that covers most of the verse as well.
So, the lead part is gonna be played... The song is in G, Ok so.. We have our G pentatonic major scale. But we're gonna play the relative pentatonic minor fingering. So if you remember from some of the theory stuff we've done, E pentatonic minor has the same notes as G pentatonic major so, even though I'm playing.. It looks like I'm playing The E pentatonic minor, it's G.. G pentatonic minor.
Ok so it starts out... And then he lets that ring the first time though the intro. So that's fourteen.. It's a bend and release. A full bend and release. Twelve.. Back to fourteen. Then we do the same thing but we land on the fourteenth fret of the D string. Then we do the same thing as the first time.
Ok? So that's the first time through the verse.
Ok, now the second time through the intro, I'm sorry I said verse before.. Intro is what I meant. The second time it's the same thing.. But the third time through the riff.. He does that little run. And that leads us right into the verse. SO that's same as the first time, the last time.. Then we go fourteen, twelve on the B string.. Thirteen on the B string.. Slide up to the seventeenth fret of the B string.. And end on the fifteenth fret of the B string.
Ok and that's the main theme, lead part throughout the rest of the tune. Ok so that's the intro.
So the verse is the same pretty much as the intro as far as the chord progression goes. We have our G to our D, C.. D.. Do it again.. D.. Now we go to like a pre chorus thing and it goes C.. Same pick pattern basically.. D.. Now we're gonna do a little walk down to an E minor, OK?
So that's G, D with the F sharp on the bottom, to E minor. Then we go C.. D.. And then we're back into our little intro..
OK so that's pretty much the chorus. Now you got the other guitar part. The rhythm guitar part for the chorus so it's the same thing, ya know it's... C.. D.. then we do our walk down, G.. Now here you're gonna go to E minor. Now you only need your second finger on the second fret of the D string cause we're not playing these lower strings. So that little part is...
The we go to C... D.. And then we're back to the intro part.
So that takes us through the intro, verse, chorus. After the first chorus you go into another might be an intro break with the little lead part. And that's all the same. It goe through a verse, chorus.. At the end of the second chorus there's a little transition between the bridge and the chorus that he just stays on the G. SO you come out of the the second chorus at the climb down.. C.. Then he just hangs on the G for two bars. If you're paying this part it's just.. And then we have a little bridge and C, D, G, a little walk down same thing.. E minor, C, D, C agian, D and let that ring out there for one bar. SO the bridge is C, D, G, D over F sharp, E minor, C, D, C, D let it ring out, then we're back to the intro, OK?
And again we've provided the tab for you, so if you want to look at it closer you can. That's pretty much it. Those are all the parts and you need to listen to the song for the exact arrangement or look at the tab but that's pretty much it for Wonderful Tonight by Eric Clapton.