Wonderful Tonight

Wonderful Tonight by Eric Clapton (Fingerstyle Guitar Lesson)

  • 20th December 2017
  • Songs

Wonderful Tonight appears on Eric Clapton's stunning album Slowhand and works superbly as a fingerstyle arrangement. This song is no. 3 on my Top 60 Fingerpicking Songs of ALL TIME list.

The song uses very straight forward chords and the entire piece contains only G, D, C and Em. So if you wanted to strum the piece it really wouldn't be all that difficult, however, as we are fingerpickers we combine the melody and the chords at the same time and essentially sing the melody with our fingers. This makes it a lot harder to play, but is tremendously fun and satisfying once mastered.

Wonderful Tonight facts:

  • Recorded in 1977
  • Written for Pattie Boyd
  • Key of G major
  • tempo = 96 bmp

Let's first take a look at the intro/main melody of Wonderful Tonight:

Wonderful Tonight Intro

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In the video lessons I put the melody over the whole of the verse and while this sounds great, it wouldn't work so well if you wanted to sing the song. So for all you fingerpicking singers out there here is a verse for Wonderful Tonight that will accompany your voice nicely:

Wonderful Tonight


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And here is the full TAB for the verse played as fingerstyle:

Wonderful Tonight Verse

It is considerably harder if you want to play the all out fingerstyle rendition, but is well worth the extra effort. As with any song that you cover in a fingerpicking style you have to be completely true to the melody, this is probably the most important thing when covering a song fingerstyle - you MUST make your fingers sing the lyrics. Timing, accuracy and clarity of each note is essential.


Wonderful Tonight Bridge


  1. Susan Powell left a comment on 3rd November 2018 at 2:24 pm

    Your lessons and song selections based on experience level are truly on point and well appreciated. Keep it up! I bought the best picking patterns course and am enjoying it thoroughly even though I’ve played fingerstyle for a couple of years now. Thank you!

    • Six String Fingerpicking left a comment on 4th November 2018 at 9:11 pm

      Thank you Susan, I’m really glad you’re enjoying the lessons and the course. It’s a pleasure making them for you!

  2. Craig left a comment on 1st December 2018 at 10:46 pm

    Hi, where can I see the full arrangement played for wonderful tonight?

  3. Peter Rushmore left a comment on 27th May 2019 at 5:55 am

    I enjoyed your lesson very much but I can’t see how to print the tab without doing it a section at a time which prints in all different sizes and layouts.

    • Six String Fingerpicking left a comment on 28th May 2019 at 10:11 am

      Glad you enjoyed the lesson Peter. The tabs are as they are I’m afraid, due to not wanting to break copyright laws.

  4. CJ left a comment on 12th June 2019 at 11:50 am

    This is great! Just learning to play guitar and want to learn this within a year to play for a surprised girlfriend on our wedding.

    One question though, why can’t the verse be played while singing? Is it just that it is much more difficult to play that while singing or does it sounds outright “bad”?

    • Six String Fingerpicking left a comment on 12th June 2019 at 12:10 pm

      Thanks CJ, I’m sure your wife-to-be will be very pleased.

      You can sing if you want to, there are no rules. I can’t sing and that’s why I fingerpick the melody. Good luck to you!

      • CJ left a comment on 12th June 2019 at 12:16 pm

        I can’t sing either, but will do it anyway 😛

        Thanks, will try the verses both ways and see which sounds better.

  5. Ken left a comment on 11th July 2019 at 4:24 am

    Really enjoying your lessons and particularly like this arrangement of Wonderful Tonight. Can you let me know the overall structure of the song? Is it something like Intro, Main, Verse, Bridge, Main?

    • Six String Fingerpicking left a comment on 16th July 2019 at 11:08 am

      Really pleased you like the lesson Ken.

      It’s something like this (off the top of my head):

      Intro – verse – Intro riff – verse – bridge – riff – verse – riff to fade

      The best thing you can do is to listen over and over again to the song, really using your ears.

  6. CJ left a comment on 12th July 2019 at 10:58 am

    Now I understand what you meant with the full fingerstyle version not being meant for singing. It works well for the two first verses, but not so well for the third one. I have modified it to work for the third verse and put it online in case some of your other readers might want to look at it. If you have time and want to you could check it out and see what you think. Since I’m a complete noob there is probably loads of room for improvements 🙂

    I also added the variation of the intro which he does on the recording for the first part of the outro which I think sounded pretty good.

    Thanks again for this. Can play and sing it pretty well now and I have a year to perfect it 🙂

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