Opening chord to “Hard Day’s Night”

December 14, 2011

We have a very hip Dean in the Arts at UCLA. Dean Waterman shared this great YouTube clip on his FaceBook wall. Randy Bachmann reveals how that opening chord to “Hard Day’s Night” was put together. I took out my 12-string guitar and couldn’t get that F-chord with the G’s on top and bottom to work. (Note in my transcription of the chord, you have to include all the octave doublings in the 12 string guitar. All the instruments sound an octave lower.)

I wish I could have seen how Randy did it. My guess is that because it’s a Rickenbacker guitar, the neck is thin and narrow, so the thumb could rap around the opposite side of the next to cover the G and C in the bass. But on my Taylor, it’s damn near impossible, and I know that the Martins would be even more difficult. So what Randy ISN’T telling us here, is that the 12-string chord can ONLY be played on a Rickenbacker 12-string. This is the same guitar, by the way, that the Byrds’ Roger McGuinn used in most of the early Byrds music.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

dharmabob December 15, 2011 at 3:59 pm

I’ve listened to the youtube vid and it does sound identical to the actual song, but.. a big but…I find it hard to believe that George would go through such contortions to play this chord as described. His playing is usually characterized more by simplicity. I think there might be another explanation, especially given the difficulty of “hearing” chords accurately on a 12 string. Just throwing that out there. With Lennon covering some of the voicings, perhaps George made it a little easier on the fingers.

Roger Bourland December 19, 2011 at 9:56 am

D’Bob: I tend to agree. I don’t own a Rickenbacker so I can’t test my theory myself. I agree with you that Lennon could have covered some of those notes Randy ascribes to George. I’d love to hear those separate chords myself and make my own decision. Until then, seems we’ve gotta take the gospel according to Bachmann.

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