Dear Prudence Guitar Lesson – The Beatles

Today's video guitar lesson will cover the beautiful fingerpicked classic "Dear Prudence" by The Beatles.

John Lennon stated that "Dear Prudence" was always one of his favorite Beatles songs. It was written during the time that The Beatles went to India to study meditation with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

Dear Prudence is a very interesting song from a guitar perspective. It employs a fingerpicking pattern that John Lennon learned from Donovan while he was staying in India. That fingerpicking pattern is the foundation of most of the song.

The chords used are also quite unique and produce a nice haunting quality within the song.

Before you start this Dear Prudence guitar lesson be sure to tune your guitar to Dropped "D" tuning. If you are not sure what that is it simply means to tune your low E string down to D. All the other strings stay the same.

I would suggest becoming familiar with the picking pattern first before tackling all the chord forms. That picking pattern or picking style is generally referred to as Travis picking since it was first popularized by a guitarist named Merle Travis.

Travis picking can be a little awkward at first due to the constant thumb strokes, but after a short amount of time I am sure you will get into the grove of it just fine. I used the word groove there for good reason. This is one of those patterns that you can just feel more than anything. Since it is so repetitive it develops a rhythmic groove that really helps your fingers know where to go.

In this Dear Prudence guitar lesson I will be teaching you every section of the song sequentially. Some parts and harder than others and it definitely uses almost the entire fretboard during the intro and outro sections. That can be a pretty big challenge for most guitarists as well.

I would put "Dear Prudence" solidly in the intermediate category due to the tricky picking pattern and the fact that the chords move around the fretboard quite a bit.

Take your time with it though, it will be well worth the effort in the end. "Dear Prudence" is one of those songs that just sounds great even without the vocals. The very active guitar lines create a beautiful and haunting texture all by themselves and that should be enough motivation to play it right! 🙂

Good Luck!!


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Dear Prudence Guitar Lesson - The Beatles


  1. Barry Olmsted on September 30, 2014 at 4:31 pm

    One has to be care full when Travis picking. It’s hard to not deaden or touch the adjacent string when chording on the first three frets. Just take some practice, and to keep my finger tips bent. Beautiful song.

    Thanks Carl. And Happy Birthday!!

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