Pretty Woman guitar lesson guitar TAB and guide killer riff and cool chords

Welcome to the Eat Sleep Guitar Repeat Pretty Woman guitar lesson. In this lesson, I’ll be providing you with the Pretty Woman guitar TAB and chords and I’ll be guiding you through the process of learning this Roy Orbison classic that has a special place in my heart.

Why is Pretty Woman a special song for me? The answer is simple. This was actually the first song that I learned how to play. I learned the main riff during my first ever guitar lesson and I learned the chords and rhythm a couple of weeks later.

Some of you reading this, or at least some of you who haven’t skipped the introduction completely will be wondering why this has any relevance. The more intelligent amongst you however would have already figured it out by now.

This was the first song I learned. This means that Pretty Woman by Roy Orbison is an ideal song for beginner guitar players.

Pretty Woman guitar lesson – an ideal track for beginners

pretty woman guitar lesson

Pretty Woman is an ideal track for guitar players who are early on in their guitar journey or, for guitar teachers looking for material for students at the early stages. There are several reasons why this is so.

Firstly, the guitar riff. The Pretty Woman guitar riff is performed simply with all downward picks. No confusion at all. The riff is played across multiple strings and serves as an ideal intro into the guitar riff universe. It’s also great for learning how to pick individual notes.

Then there’s the rhythm and the chords. There are 8 chords in total which will give any guitarist a real workout. The chords are all open, except for one of them. Pretty Woman contains an F sharp minor barre chord. A song with just one barre chord is a great way for a beginner to branch out into the world of Barre chords without being overwhelmed. Pretty Woman is a fantastic way to start practicing with barre chords in a musical way.

We therefore have a track which can introduce a beginner to the realm of guitar riffs and barre chords all at once. That’s potentially two new guitar playing elements in one song. This may seem overwhelming, but the great news is that the bulk of the song can be played with simple strumming. You can go through almost the entire song with a simple DDU UDU or DDU UD strumming pattern if you wish and it will sound great.

In addition to the above

Pretty Woman is a song with practical benefits for beginners. There’s even benefits that I haven’t mentioned above. But with that said, this isn’t just a song for beginners. This is a song for any guitar player. If you’re past the beginner stage, this is one that you should still learn and here’s why.

Simply put, Pretty Woman by Roy Orbison is an excellent guitar song that’s fun to play and enjoyable for an audience. Its catchy riff and melody make it instantly recognisable and this isn’t a track that’s played by every guitarist and his dog making it more of a unique experience.

About Pretty Woman by Roy Orbison

Pretty Woman (or Oh Pretty Woman) is a song recorded by Roy Orbison and written by Orbison and Bill Dees. It was released in 1964 and reached number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 where it spent a few weeks. In addition to this, Pretty Woman reached the top of the UK singles charts. This track is one of Orbison’s best known and sold 7 million copies. Pretty Woman was later used for film of the same name starring Richard Gere and Julia Roberts.

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The title of the song was inspired by Roy Orbison’s wife, Claudette. Claudette interrupted a conversation to announce that she was going out. When Orbison asked if she had enough cash, co-writer Bill Dee interjected that a pretty woman never needs any money.

Pretty Woman guitar lesson

Now it’s time to start our Pretty Woman guitar lesson. The song Pretty Woman has 2 elements that you need to learn. The lead and the rhythm. Considering it’s the first thing that we hear in the track, we’ll start with the lead and take a look at the intro and main guitar riff. Before that, please be sure that you meet the basic requirements for this guitar lesson

Before you continue

In order to complete the Pretty Woman guitar lesson successfully, you’ll need to meet the following minimum requirements. You’ll need to know how to read guitar TAB, you’ll need to know how to read chord charts, you’ll need to know how to follow basic strumming instructions and you’ll need to know how to position your fingers correctly for chords and individual notes. Having a basic command of changing from one chord to the next is also required. Take a look at this lesson below if you haven’t started that process yet.

How to change between chords on guitar

An understanding of what a barre chord is would be advantageous, but I will explain that briefly when we get to it.

Pretty Woman guitar lesson – intro TAB

The Pretty Woman intro is a modification of the main guitar riff which we’ll look at afterwards. It’s the same as the main riff, but shorter. The intro lasts for just 4 short bars, the first of which does not contain any guitar. You’ll find the TAB below.

As mentioned earlier, the picking of this is nice and simple. All downward picks are used for the above TAB. This is a great little riff fragment that’s ideal for a first guitar riff because of the simple picking and movement across the strings. Also, the inclusion of open strings makes it relatively easy for anyone.

Pretty Woman guitar lesson – guitar riff TAB

The intro of Pretty Woman is immediately followed by the main guitar riff. This riff isn’t just heard at the beginning of the song. You hear it throughout. It even serves as an outro. When you hear a guitar riff after the intro, you’re hearing the below.

Once again, this is ideal for new guitar players. The picking is still all down strokes and we’re not adding much confusion with the additional notes. The rhythm is nice and simple thanks to the fact that it’s all 8th notes and there isn’t that much to learn as the riff is just 1 bar long but repeated 4 times.

Pretty Woman guitar chords

If you’ve got this far, that means that you’re now able to play all of the lead guitar parts in Pretty Woman. Next, we need to learn the rhythm / strumming parts and to do that, we need to know what chords are used. Here are the Pretty Woman guitar chords.

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As I said earlier, there’s 8 chords in total there. There’s an open G7 chord which may be new to some out there, and there’s also that F#m barre chord.

Positioning the fingers correctly for a barre chord is easy. All you need to do is place your index finger across all 6 strings on the relevant fret (in this case, fret 2), parallel to the fret itself. Your finger needs to be pushing down all 6 strings so that each note rings out when picked. You’d then place the remaining fingers in place as instructed.

I appreciate that the above guidance on barre chords is brief, but this isn’t a barre chord lesson. It’s a lesson on how to play a song. If you require further information, go and research barre chords further before proceeding.

One thing that is worth mentioning is how difficult barre chords will seem to newer guitar players.

Both performing barre chords and making sure each note on the barre chord rings out will be painfully hard for newbie guitar players. It’s all about the practice and perseverance. Stick to it and eventually, you’ll be using barre chords like a pro.

Pretty Woman is a great starting point because the song only uses 1 barre chord, but you may still need to put in some work away from the song.

Barre chord tip

One way that you can build up some strength for barre chord playing is with a simple exercise. Create a barre across all 6 strings at the 12th fret. Push down with the necessary force (no more no less) and pick each note. Ensure that all 6 strings produce a note and not a muted clunky like sound.

Once you can do this at fret 12, move the barre down to fret 11 and repeat. Do this for all the frets until you reach fret 1.

This isn’t an exercise you should spend a long time on, but it can be helpful.

Pretty Woman guitar lesson – strumming the chords

We now know what chords are used in Pretty Woman so next, we’ll learn the strumming. There are several ways which one can approach this, but a good place to start is with the DDU UDU strumming pattern or perhaps a DDU UD.

When you apply this to the 4/4 rhythm (4 beats per bar), you have something like this.

These two strumming patterns will get you through almost the entire song. I’ve used the word almost because there is a moment in the verses where the time signature changes from 4/4 to 2/4 (2 beats per bar instead of 4).

I’ll tell you where that happens shortly, but all you need to do when that happens is play two downward strums, one on each beat. After that, continue with your normal strumming.

Pretty Woman guitar lesson – the verses

Now it’s time to learn the chord progressions that we need for the song. We’ll start with the verse sections since that’s what follows the first riff. These sections occur throughout.

The chord progression for the verses sections is this.

A / F#m / A / F#m / D / D (2/4 bar) / E / E / E / E

Remember when I mentioned that there’s a bar of 2/4 where the strumming would need to be altered? That happens in the verses. It’s that second bar of D major that happens before the 4 bars of E major.

For that bar of D, you’ll need to move away from your standard strumming. As I mentioned earlier, simply play two downward strums, one for each beat, then move on to the E major chords. This may feel tricky at first, but it will keep you on your toes. It makes sure you’re concentrating and listening to the music as well as playing.

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Pretty Woman guitar lesson – the bridge

In the song prior to the bridge, we’ve so far had the intro, the riff, the verse, the riff, another verse, and the riff again.

The bridge section follows and it gives us the next chord progression that we need to learn for the song. There’s no time change tricks in this section. You just need to learn the order of the chords and play them with your strumming pattern.

The chord progression for the bridge looks like this.

Dm / G7 / C / Am / Dm / G7 / C / C

Dm / G7 / C / Am / Dm / G7 / C / A

F#m / Dm / E / A / F#m / D / Riff

This is one hell of a long chord progression but there’s nothing out of the ordinary. It’s just a matter of memorising the order of the chords and then there’s another run through of the riff there at the end.

Pretty Woman guitar lesson – outro

This bridge section is followed by another verse. This is done exactly the same as we played it prior to the bridge only this time, we stay on that E major at the end for a lot longer. 11 bars to be specific.

These 11 bars are followed by silence on the guitar for a short period. This silence is filled with other elements and lasts for a total of 2 bars.

The Short silence is followed by a repeat of the intro riff and then a return to the main riff. You are to play the main guitar riff a total of 9 times.

Once you’ve hit the riff 9 times, strike two downward A major chords to end in line with the vocals.

Well done, you’ve reached the end.

Conclusion and what next?

That about wraps up this Pretty Woman guitar lesson. Hopefully you’ll be strumming away to this Roy Orbison classic in no time at all.

The arrangement at times can feel a little confusing at first but getting your head around such things will only benefit your guitar playing, especially if you’re a beginner.

On the subject of beginners, I’d like to thank all the more advanced guitar players out there who’ve stuck with this lesson despite the fact that it wasn’t written with them in mind. Your patience is appreciated. This is a lesson that was included in the beginner’s tag, so it had to be written this way.

Want to learn more songs fast? Check out the last lesson that I wrote for Eat Sleep Guitar Repeat. There, you can learn 3 easy guitar songs in 1 lesson.

That isn’t the only lesson of its kind here either. Be sure to also check out this lesson here which also teaches 3 easy guitar songs in 1 lesson.

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