Dear Prudence

Dear Prudence by The Beatles (Fingerstyle Guitar Lesson)

Dear Prudence by The Beatles is the perfect fingerpicking song for someone that wants to break out of playing beginner tunes. What makes this song harder than all the ones we've covered so far is the alternating bass. In Dear Prudence your thumb bounces between the bottom three strings throughout the entire piece, and if you've not done that before you will likely often find yourself playing the wrong bass note. If you are new to this technique then I strongly recommend starting with just the bass line and getting that secure first. Then, once you're ok with that, bring in the top three strings.

There's also a lot of chord movement in Dear Prudence and visualising each change will require dedicated practice. This is especially true in the intro and outro as the chords descend down the entire fretboard, creating new shapes every time. It sounds amazing but it is difficult.

Dear Prudence is no. 13 on my Top 60 Fingerpicking Songs of ALL TIME list. If you've not seen the list be sure to check it out and subscribe to get weekly lessons for each song!

Dear Prudence Song Facts:

  • Recorded in 1968
  • Album - The White Album
  • Written by - John Lennon/Paul McCartney
  • Key - D major (more or less)

Dear Prudence - Lesson one:

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Lesson 2:

The verse has a repeating descending bass line constantly playing over the chords, and the notes of C and Bb in that line aren't diatonic to the key of D major. This creates some harmonic tension and resolve and makes the verse very interesting; it keeps the listener on edge.

Lesson 3:

The only remaining part of Dear Prudence is the bridge.


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    • Six String Fingerpicking left a comment on 14th May 2018 at 5:43 pm

      Hey there, I think a plugin called Jetpack can do that. To be honest I’m really bad with all that stuff and leave it to others who help me with the site.

  2. Robertunsem left a comment on 31st March 2019 at 11:37 pm


  3. Duncan Youngerman left a comment on 11th May 2019 at 9:50 pm

    Thank you for a great lesson.
    I have no basic problem playing this song – except for the last 3 chords of the verse (chromatic bass line C to Bb) : finding it difficult to make the open D string ring while fingering the C, B or Bb on the A string.
    I’ll keep on practicing it – but if you have any suggestion on this, it would be most appreciated.
    Thank you again,

    • Six String Fingerpicking left a comment on 16th May 2019 at 8:59 am

      Hey Duncan, it sounds to me like all you need to do is keep going. You probably just need to position your fretting fingers ever so slightly differently. You may just need to angle them away from the fretboard a little more.

      Let me know how you get on. Above all just keep going with it. Great song.

  4. Duncan Youngerman left a comment on 16th May 2019 at 9:12 am

    Thanks for your answer.
    Guess what : problem solved.
    After a lot of slow practice, I woke up the next day and played it perfectly.
    For the last chord (Bb on A string), I prefer to play the high D and F# with pinky and ring finger, those 2 fingers sliding smoothly in and out of position for that one chord.

    • Six String Fingerpicking left a comment on 16th May 2019 at 9:28 am

      That’s fantastic! I could tell you were really close to getting it by your last comment.

  5. Peter Nolan left a comment on 23rd May 2019 at 7:02 pm

    Hi Chris, great lesson again.
    Similar to Duncan’s comment, I struggle to make the stretch down to the Bb.
    Coincidentally, I had switched my pinkie for my 3rd finger in making the D shape, which proved to be much better for me.
    However, no matter how hard I try, I can’t play the chord cleanly when at the Bb position. The best I can do is to play the Bb, release the note, and play the other notes. It isn’t as good, but at least it lets me play this great song.

    • Six String Fingerpicking left a comment on 24th May 2019 at 10:58 am

      Hey Peter, glad you like the lesson. Like Duncan it sounds to me like you’re very close to getting it. Just keep on going!

  6. Joey Wilcoxon left a comment on 24th August 2020 at 5:41 pm

    I’ve noticed you do a little flourish at the very end of the last video as you also do the flourish when you make an abrupt stop on other songs you’re teaching. It’s very cool sounding and was wondering if you would do the tab and a short lesson on that. I enjoy this course so much! It’s the only one I’ve stuck with and am making great advancements. Thanks Again!

    • Six String Fingerpicking left a comment on 26th August 2020 at 8:32 pm

      Thanks Joey, I think I know what you’re talking about. If I am thinking of the same part then all I’m doing is just playing the second note a split second after the first, that’s all. Funny enough I’ve just filmed a lesson on that, it’s going to be in my next course.

      • Joey Wilcoxon left a comment on 26th August 2020 at 9:26 pm

        It’s very cool and professional sounding. I love your course. Thanks again.

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