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Tune down for what: "I Will"

Paul McCartney's "I Will", from The Beatles' so-called Double White Album, is one of a handful of songs that is very difficult to replicate with the right sound and tonality, until you realize that Paul's guitar was tuned down a full step on the record.

Of course it was. We didn't really expect that he played that whole thing in actual F major, right?


Tuning the guitar down to (bottom to top) D-G-C-F-A-D allows us to play the song in G major, where we can take advantage of open strings and also achieve that especially twangy/slack sound that we hear on the recorded version of the song.

Being able to utilize more open strings also helps free up our fingers to start working out the little lead parts that appear here and there throughout the song. As always, these parts can be played while still keeping the rhythm chords going, giving your performance a very "full" sound.

At the end of the first verse, we hear this lead part chiming in briefly before the second verse starts:


This is played over a G-Em-Am-D7 progression, so don't hesitate to fret those chords as you normally would while playing through this riff. Let the notes ring and sustain, they'll fit the chords just fine.

As the second verse ends and heads into the bridge, the same riff is repeated with a variation at the end, moving to a G7 chord as a way of eventually transitioning into the C chord that starts the bridge:


Having that open D string (tuned down to a C) comes in especially handy at the end of the bridge, when Paul plays that series of beautiful descending notes high up on the top strings. We begin here at the words, "love you whenever we're together":


If it seems like a bit of a hassle to have to tune all the strings down a full step just for one song, remember that several other Beatles songs also feature this tuning ("Yesterday" and "Rain" come readily to mind), so you can get quite a bit of mileage out of the effort!

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