Love me Tender TAB guitar lesson and how to play guide

In this guitar lesson I will be showing you the full Love me Tender TAB and providing you with a full guitar lesson and guide on how to play it. Love me Tender is arguably one of the greatest love songs ever recorded. It was recorded by Elvis Presley in the year 1956 and is an adaption of the American Civil War song Aura Lee.

Elvis performed Love Me Tender on the Ed Sullivan Show shortly before the release of the single (and the film by the same name). A million advanced orders were received for the single thereafter making Love me Tender a gold record before it was even released.

The lyrics were credited to Ken Darby under the pseudonym Vera Matson (the name of his wife) and it was the Ken Darby Trio who provided the backing music for the recording with Red Robinson on drums, Charles Prescott on bass and Vita Mumolo on guitar. Elvis naturally provided lead vocals for the recording with Jon Dodson providing backing vocals.

Love me Tender debuted at number 2 on the best sellers in stores chart and was the first single to do so and it soon reached number 1 where it would remain for a number of weeks.

Why learn Love me Tender?

Aside from it being one of the greatest ever love songs, Love me Tender is an ideal track to learn on guitar. Anyone who is looking for a soft calm track with plenty of emotion needs look no further. There’s lots of nice chords in here and it sounds amazing. This is a track that can be finger picked or played with a pick and it’s open to anyone at an intermediate or upper beginner level.

There is a couple of tricky bits in there which will provide a nice challenge but it’s for the most part nice and easy.

Love me Tender guitar TAB and guitar lesson

love me tender guitar tab and guitar lesson

One of the nice and easy aspects of Love me Tender is the structure of the song. With the exception of the intro and outro of the track, there are just 2 chord progressions that are repeated 3 times so there isn’t actually a great deal of guitar to learn here. There’s a couple of subtle changes in the bass notes but we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.

Firstly though we’re going to start at the beginning with the intro of the track. Here’s the TAB.

Love me Tender TAB intro

This, as you can see is a short intro and lasts just for one short but sweet bar. It sets us up nicely though because 99.9 percent of the track follows this rhythm so if you can play this, you can play the song.

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This intro is based around a simple open D major chord. The first bass note we see there is a D and the second an A. That’s the intro done.

The rest of the song follows both the quarter note rhythm and the concept of combining chords with bass notes.

By the way, if you’re wondering, the tempo of Love me Tender is 75 beats per minute.

Love me Tender TAB verse section

Next we have 1 of 2 main sections that you need to learn. This is an 8 bar section and here is the TAB for all 8 bars.

As you can see, the second 4 bars are very similar to the first 4 bars but there is a difference. The difference is 1 note and it comes in bar 7 where the second bass note is different to the one found in bar 3.

If you’re wondering what the chords used are then… I’ll tell you.

The verse chords for Love me Tender are D / E7 / A7 / D / D / E7 / A7 / D.

Keeping it simple

We could go a little more into detail with these chords here I suppose but I don’t think it’s really that important. One could argue that the bass notes used alter the names of the chords for example, bar 1 could be split between D and D/A (D major with an A in the bass).

You have the TAB and can therefore see all of the bass notes used so I don’t think that expressing the slash chord names is particularly necessary. If you perform the chords provided and perform them as instructed either with your pick or your fingers you’ll be fine.

Another thing that I’d like to point out is that all of the chords listed there are what most would consider the “standard” open versions apart from the E7. The E7 shape that you should use here is this one.

Love me Tender TAB Chorus

Next we have the second section or the chorus section. The chords have changed and things are slightly more complex as the bars are now often split between 2 chords. The rhythm stays the same apart from in 1 of the bars. Here’s the TAB.

As you can see, the chord changes come quicker. This will be easier to follow once you know which chords to use. Here they are.

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Love me Tender chords for the chorus section

D, F# / Bm, D7 / G, Gm6 / D

D, F#m7b5, B7 / E7 / A7 / D

The commas indicate a split bar for example, the first bar is half D major and half F sharp major.

At this stage I’m thinking that it will be easier to provide a chart for all of the chord shapes used in the track rather than explaining which shape to use. I’m new to this. Here are all of the chord shapes that you’ll need for Love me Tender by Elvis Presley.

Love me Tender Chords

These chords are brought to you by the Eat Sleep Guitar Repeat Chord Library. Be sure to check it out and learn lots of cool guitar chords! Back to the lesson.

Going back to our chorus section, remember to keep an eye on those bass notes. For example, again in bar 1, you’re using an F# major chord but the bass note you’re using isn’t the F# root. It’s the C# on the A string which is part of the chord shape. You can still place your fingers in the position of the full chord if you find it easier. That’s what I do at least. You just won’t be using that lowest note. The same goes for examples such as the D major. The chord shape shows not to play that open A but we know by the TAB that the open A is used as a bass note at times.

The trickiest part of the Love me Tender chorus section comes in bar 5. Instead of using a bass quarter note followed by part of the chord for the next quarter note, you’re playing 1 chord per quarter note just for that half a bar.

This isn’t hard in theory but when you’ve been playing that same rhythm for the whole song so far, this is easy to screw up. Listen closely to the recording and you can hear what’s going on.

Love me Tender the rest of the song

You already know the next third of Love me Tender. All you need to do next is repeat the first verse and first chorus exactly. There is no changes at all. This means that we now have a structure of verse chorus verse chorus.

After the second chorus comes the final verse which is slightly different to the first 2 but not different enough for me to warrant creating the TAB for it. There is only 1 note that’s different and it’s that bass note on the A7 again. To keep it simple, the bass note remains an A and doesn’t change on the second repeat. Listen to the recording and you can hear this.

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The same happens with the final chorus. Chorus 3 is the same as the first 2 but there’s one note that’s different and once again, it’s one of those A7 bass notes. This chorus merges nicely with the outro so next you can see the final part of the last chorus leading in to the outro.

Love me Tender TAB outro

As mentioned, the final chorus leads nicely into the outro of the track as you can see in the TAB. Things slow down a little as you can hear in the recording so aim to hit that D chord on top of the word “will” from the vocal melody. Then as you can see after that, there’s a few single notes that you can elect to tag on to the end if you wish.

Love me Tender performance advice

I like to write out TAB in the most simplistic form possible. You can hear in the record that the guitarist chose to arpeggiate the chords. This is done more dramatically in some parts than others. You are to use your artistic license as to how much you arpeggiate the chords while performing. If you think I would spend the time matching the performance exactly in the TAB then you’re sadly mistaken. You have ears and a brain. Use them. Play with it a little. As long as you’re making the changes in the right places and playing the right bass notes, you’re fine.

What next?

That about does it for the Love me Tender TAB and lesson. As you’d expect, there are plenty more song tutorials available here at Eat Sleep Guitar Repeat including another Elvis song. Here a a few you may consider including the other Elvis tutorial. 

Elvis Presley Jailhouse Rock TAB and Guitar Lesson 

Jimi Hendrix Purple Haze TAB and Guitar Lesson 

The Beatles 8 Days a Week Chords and Guitar Lesson 

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