Dear Prudence

Dear Prudence by The Beatles (Fingerstyle Guitar Lesson)

  • 1st March 2018
  • Songs
  • 9 Comments

Scroll down for full video lesson (with tab) of Dear Prudence.

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
  • Fingerpicked by Lennon (acoustic) Harrison (electric)
  • Paul McCartney supposedly played drums on Dear Prudence as Ringo Star had temporarily left the band
  • Key - D major (more or less)

Intro:

The intro is one of the most challenging parts of the song to master. Take your time as you work your way through the chord changes.

Dear Prudence intro/outro


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Verse:

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.

Dear Prudence (Verse)


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Verse (Part 2):

At the end of each verse there is a bar of C major (again not diatonic to D major but instead taken from its parallel minor key) followed by a bar of G.

Dear Prudence (verse 2)

Bridge:

The only remaining part of Dear Prudence is the bridge.

Dear Prudence (Bridge)

  1. rotarians left a comment on 13th May 2018 at 9:08 pm

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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

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  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,
    Duncan

    • 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.
    Thanks!

    • 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!

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