Check out this free lesson from Guitar Control instructor Darrin Goodman on how to play the classic Eric Clapton tune Wonderful Tonight. Be sure to click the link for the free tabs so you can easily follow along with How To Play Wonderful Tonight By Eric Clapton.
Hey everybody how’s it going? This is Darrin with GuitarControl.com bringing you this video lesson. Today I want to show you how to play a really cool song, one of my favorite songs of all time, Wonderful Tonight by Eric Clapton. So we’re gonna be going over the complete rhythm guitar section for this so you could play this song by yourself, like an acoustic version of it. I’m gonna go over a little bit of some of the lead melodies that he does as well. So be sure to click on the link in the description for the tabs and let’s get close up and take a look at How To Play Wonderful Tonight By Eric Clapton.
Wonderful Tonight Chords
All right so the first thing here let’s just go through uh the chords that we’re going to be using in Wonderful Tonight by Eric Clapton. So we’ve got G major; so my second finger is on the third fret of the low E, my first finger is on the second fret of the A string, the D and G strings are open, I’m on the third fret of the B string with my third finger and the third fret of the high E with my fourth finger. And then we have D suspended two over f sharp (Dsus2/F#). Now there’s a couple of ways that we can play this one. If you just take regular D chord and lift your first finger off and then use your thumb to play the F sharp here, but in this particular song personally I don’t like to do it that way. So what I do is going from the G I just take my fourth finger off so my third finger is still here and then I move my first finger from the second fret of the A string to the second fret of the low E and then put my middle finger onto the second fret of the G string. Or if you want to do it the traditional way going from the G, your third finger again is still where it needs to be so you just drop your first finger down to the second fret of the G string and then use your thumb to grab the second fret of the low E. Then we have C; so I’m on the third fret of the A string with my third finger, second fret of the D string with my second finger, the G string is open, I’m on the first fret of the B string my first finger and the high E is open. And then D; so fourth string open, second fret of the G string with my first finger, third fret of the B string with my third finger and second fret of the high E with my second finger. That covers the majority of the song for chords that take you all through the intro and the verse and then a little bit later on we have an E minor. So E minor the low E is open, I’m on the second fret of the A string with my second finger and the second fret of the D string with my third finger and all the rest of the strings are just open. We do have a D over f sharp (D/F#) later on so it’s just the same thing as the Dsus2/F# except your second finger will also be on the second fret of the high E string.
All right so Wonderful Tonight by Eric Clapton starts out with this little intro that also happens to be more or less the same thing as the verse. There’s actually two guitar parts here on the intro you have the rhythm guitar… and then you have the lead guitar doing the little melody, so obviously you can’t play both parts at the same time, but I’m going to go over both parts with you so that way you know you can play with a friend or if you just want to play along with the song or whatever. Okay so first let’s just focus on the rhythm guitar part. So we start off we’ve got G and this is just all arpeggiated so I’m just going to call off the strings that we’re picking; six, four, two, three, one, two, three, two. All right and like I’ve said in several of the acoustic guitar videos I’ve done lately, if you make a mistake and say you’re going for the second string and you pick the third string by mistake or vice versa, anything like that for the most part it’s not really a big deal as long as you keep the timing the same, it’s just all eighth. Since the other strings are going to still be in key it’s not a huge deal, try to do it the best you can this way, but if you watch me play this you’re going to see me probably not play it exactly right. So we’ve got that G and then we go to the Dsus2/F# and it’s the same picking pattern and that’s the first two measures. We go to C and we start actually playing on the D string so it’s 4, 3, 2, 4 and then to a D 4, 3, 2, 4, 3, 2, 3, 4. So the majority of the song is just that… All right so that’s what the rhythm guitar is doing and then the lead guitar is just playing this little melody.
The melody for Wonderful Tonight by Eric Clapton is just all right out of the A minor pentatonic scale, so it’s pretty easy. So I’m going to start here on the G string and my first finger is on the 12th fret and my third finger is on the 14th fret and you bend the 14th fret up the whole step and release it so you’re going to bend and then go to the 12th fret and then back to the 14th fret. Then you do it again, but this time we end on the 14th fret of the D string… and then back to the original and let that ring out and then when the the chord progression recycles again. Then this time on the third one we go to the 14th fret and then to the 12th fret of the of the B string and then the 13th fret and then to the 12th fret of the first string and then it ends on the 15th fret of the B string. So what we end up getting there is we’ve got this little arpeggio and then there’s just numerous variations on that little melody. Once you have that part of it it’s really easy to pick out the rest of the things he’s doing because it all kind of revolves around that more or less; so then that leads us into the verse that’s where the vocals come in.
Intro & Verse
So it’s kind of just like the intro starting off with the G… okay so here is where we’re going to transition into the final part on the verse. So we go through that progression once and then on the second time it’s the same chords; we’ve got the G, Dsus2/F#, C and D, but there’s a little bit of a change. So now the picking has changed on that C, it’s four, three, two, three, four, two, three, four. Then D; four, three, two, three, one, two and then we’re gonna do these pickup notes. A string open to the second fret and you’re gonna wanna use your middle finger because where we’re going to be going from here is to a C. So we’ve got five, four, two, three, one, three, two, three, two. Then D; four, three, two, three, one, three, two, three and then G. So on G; six, four, three, two and then Dsus2/F#. For Dsus2/F#; six, four, three, two. And then E minor; six, four, three, four… and then it goes back to the C and then it goes to a little interlude section that’s just like the intro of the song again with the little melody over the top of it again…
Now we’re at the bridge for Wonderful Tonight by Eric Clapton. So start with the bridge with C; five, four, five, four, two, three, one, three, two, three. Then D; four, three, two, three, one, three, two, three and then that little walk down and then G to D/F# that we did before and then E minor, D and D. Okay so this part here there’s a little bit of a change. So we’re starting with E minor, C and D and then C and it’s; five, one, two, three. So those are all quarter notes because it’s been eighth notes all the way through so it’s; one, two, three and then it just goes back into the little melody section again. Okay now the outro is very similar to the intro except the timing at the end, so I’ll show you what I’m talking about. So we start with the G and we’re; six, four, two, three and when you get to that D you’re one and two and…
All right so there you have it, all the parts to Wonderful Tonight by Eric Clapton. A really easy song to play, but a fun song to play and it’s such a great song. So if you like this lesson be sure to give me a thumbs up and leave a comment down below if you have any questions. If you have not already done so please subscribe to the channel and hit that notification bell so you don’t miss out any of the content that we upload throughout the week. Well that is all I’ve got for you today. Thanks for watching How To Play Wonderful Tonight By Eric Clapton and have a great day.