Dear Prudence

Dear Prudence by The Beatles (Fingerstyle Guitar Lesson)

  • 1st March 2018
  • Songs

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)

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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

Learn more about the techniques used in this song.

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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)


The only remaining part of Dear Prudence is the bridge.

Dear Prudence (Bridge)

If you want to make sure that you're really on the right track with fingerpicking I recommend trying one of fingerstyle guitar courses. Find out more here.

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