This is the full guitar lesson for Don't Think Twice It's Alright by Bob Dylan.
Don't Think Twice It's Alright was written by Bob Dylan in 1962 (released in 1963) and appears on his album 'The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan'. This is an early song of Dylan's and a very well-known one. The song was written after his girlfriend of the time, Suze Rotolo, left him in New York to go and study in Italy. He claims it's not a love song, but instead "a statement that maybe you can say to yourself to make yourself feel better."
Don't Think Twice It's Alright certainly has some challenges in it. It's fast paced with a tempo of roughly 111 bpm, so your fingers are really on the move! The chords are thankfully straight forward enough and are just your normal open position shapes. However the most peculiar thing I found when first learning this song is the funny bass notes. Throughout the piece Dylan often plays the V of the chord on the first beat of the bar i.e when playing a C chord he'll play the note of G on beat one instead of C. If you've been fingerpicking for a while this will likely feel really strange. Whether he intended to do it or he just did what felt right to him I can't be sure, but it really is unnatural and uncomfortable to play at first.
Anyway, let's start learning how to play Don't Think Twice It's Alright!
- Key - E
- Capo - 4th
- Difficulty - Intermediate
- Standard tuning
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Don't Think Twice It's Alright Part 1 (The Intro)
Let's begin with the short intro. Another thing to watch out for are some of the nasty hammer-ons that pop up. They're very fast and often you have to play the bass note at the same time that hammer-ons land. If this doesn't make sense right now you'll soon realise when you get to one.
If you want the lyrics of Don't Think Twice It's Alright and just the chords in their most basic form, then you can find them here.
Want to learn more fingerpicking songs?
Don't Think Twice It's Alright Part 2 (The Verse)
The verse of Don't Think Twice It's Alright is similar to the intro but there is just more of it. More twists, turns, funny bass notes and awkward hammer-ons. Dylan's timing on the recording weaves a lot; however, I do recommend (as always) pulling out your metronome and seeing if you can play it in time and up to speed once you get to grips with it.
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Want to learn more fingerstyle arrangements of famous songs?: Can't Help Falling In Love (Elvis Presley), Take Me Home, Country Roads (John Denver), Don't Look Back In Anger (Oasis), Ticket to Ride (The Beatles), Have You Ever Seen The Rain (Creedence Clearwater Revival).
Alternatively you can browse the whole song catalogue: Song Lesson Library
Let me know what you thought of the lesson in the comments section below. Say what you found hard/easy, what level you're at and what your fingerpicking goals are.