Day Tripper TAB and guitar lesson one of the best guitar riffs of all time

Welcome to the Eat Sleep Guitar Repeat Day Tripper guitar lesson. In this lesson, I will be providing you with the Day Tripper TAB and guiding you through this Beatles classic. Day Tripper is not only a fantastic track but it’s a track that happens to contain one of the greatest guitar riffs of all time so I guess it comes into the category of “must learn”. There’s not much to it in terms of guitar parts so it’s nice and quick to learn and it’s a very fun one to play. It’s mostly based around an instantly recognisable and crowd-pleasing riff and there’s a cool little bridge section too. This one is open to all skill levels so grab your guitar and let’s get to it.

Day Tripper by the Beatles

day tripper tab guitar lesson

Day Tripper was released in 1965 and was credited to the John Lennon Paul McCartney partnership but was primarily composed by Lennon and it was recorded during the sessions for the band’s Rubber Soul album. Day Tripper topped the charts in the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands and in Norway and peaked at number five in the US on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

The track was released as a double A side with the track We Can Work It Out. This was the first example of this format in the UK. Day Tripper / We Can Work It Out was the seventh highest selling single of the 1960s and remains one of the highest selling singles in the UK ever.

The famous riff was based on Bobby Parker’s Watch Your Step, which had also been the model for the track I Feel Fine. Lennon described Day Tripper as a “drug song” and McCartney said it was about acid. The song title is a play on words referring to a tourist on a day trip and a “trip” in the sense of a psychedelic experience. Lennon stated that “day trippers are people who go on a day trip, right? Usually on a ferryboat or something. But the song was kind of, you’re just a weekend hippie. Get it?”

Day Tripper guitar lesson

As mentioned above, there isn’t many things that you need to learn in order to play Day Tripper by the Beatles. The main guitar riff both opens and closes the song, and also forms the basis for the verses. There’s a chorus section that moves away from the riff and there’s an instrumental bridge section which is also based on the riff with a bit of cool lead guitar at the end. The song concludes with a fade out in the recording, but I’ll show you a way of ending without the fade out. Let’s get started with the most vital part of this track, the riff.

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Day Tripper TAB guitar riff

The main guitar riff is two bars long and repeated. The amount of times that the riff is repeated doesn’t matter because it blends into the verse where the riff will continue to be played. More on that when we get to the verse but for now, here is the TAB for the Day Tripper guitar riff.

Nothing difficult there, nice and easy. The quickest way of getting the hang of the rhythm is simply by listening to the track. As for the fingering, play the notes at the second fret with your first finger, the notes at the third fret with your second finger and the notes at the fourth fret with your third finger.  

Next, we’ll have a look at the verse sections.

Day Tripper TAB verse section

The verse sections are next up. There is more than one verse, but the guitar is the same in all of them. You’ll be playing the same guitar riff that you saw above, plus that riff again a string higher. Here is the TAB for the full verse. The verse starts when the vocals kick in. Remember to keep those fingers at the correct frets even when you move the riff.

The TAB above is a guide and is there to ensure that you’re doing the right thing but don’t take it literally. For example, when you have bars where there’s a mix of power chords and full chords, simply finger the full chord throughout. When instructed to strum the full chord, do so and when instructed to play just the two top strings, do that. There’s no need for wasted finger movement.

The full chords are all dominant sevens. You have the standard six string barre chord shape and the standard five string barre chord shape.

The rhythm is also a guide. You can play it in the basic form like you see above or, you can adjust it. Word of advice. Don’t move too far away from the TAB / what you hear in the recording. The most important thing is that you change chord at the right time, but you also don’t want to fall out of that groove.

Day Tripper TAB bridge section / guitar solo

Just two more things that you need to learn, the first of which is the instrumental / bridge section which also has a cool mini guitar solo at the end.

You can break the following down into two parts. The riff section and the lead section. Here’s the TAB for the whole thing.

The riff section won’t be all that difficult to master as it’s the same riff from before, but it’s moved again. There’s also a power chord added at the start but that’s optional. You can play the chord or, you can simply play the root note.

The solo is what it is. It’s only short so you shouldn’t have a great deal of trouble with it. I don’t think there’s enough room to make this your own so just play the TAB or very close to it.

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There are two more bars between this, and the following riff section. I haven’t given you TAB there because written instructions will do. Its two bars of B. I like to simply play a B dominant 7th chord as muted down stroke eighth notes for two bars to create a kind of build up which compliments the vocals in the forefront.

Outro section

You now have all the building blocks that you need to play Day Tripper by the Beatles. Listen to the song to establish the structure (which section appears where and in what order).

There is one more thing that may help you though. The song ends with a fade out so I’ve written some simple TAB which will help you end the song.

As you can hear in the recording, the song ends with the main riff on a loop. Once you reach the point in which you want to conclude the song, jump to an E major chord. Something like this.

You don’t have to end it in this way. You can do whatever you think works best or, you can modify what I’ve done above. You could make it longer for example. The above is about enough though in my opinion. Nice and conclusive.

What next?

Are you a huge fan of the Beatles? If so, you’re in luck because so am I. This means that Eat Sleep Guitar Repeat has an abundance of Beatles guitar lessons. Take a look at these three song tutorials.  

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8 Days a Week Guitar Lesson

Can’t Buy Me Love Guitar Lesson 

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