Beginner Guitar Course Week 17

Beginner Guru


Ain’t No Sunshine Chords + Finger Style Pattern!

Today we start working on the last song of this course as we play ‘Ain’t No Sunshine’ by Bill Withers.

‘Ain’t No Sunshine’ is a modern standard, expect it to come up in many jam sessions and gigs. Also expect it to be played in many different keys.

Since the progression is so simple it is easy to swap key, in fact, it’s a good exercise!

Let’s start off by looking at the chords.

Week 17 – Step 1 – 10-20 min

‘Ain’t No Sunshine’ is basically a minor blues. There are a few twists but essentially it’s a blues.

Starting off with chord VI which is clearly the home chord of this song we are in the key of A minor.

This chord has been extended without breaking any harmonic rules to a minor 7.

At the second half of the two bar loop we quickly move from chord III (Em) to chord V (G) before we go back to Am7.

You could see this as a bass line going down to the 5th, then the b7 of an Am chord. So subtle are these changes.

In it’s simplest form, this would be the progression, an 8 bar minor blues:

SWS| Am | Am | Am | Am |
| Em | Dm | Am | Am |

With extended chords and the Em – G movement it would look like this:

| Am7 (Em G) | Am7 | Am7 (Em G) | Am7 |
| Em | Dm7 | Am7 (Em G) | Am7 |

I was making the pattern as simple as possible in this video. When I play it live I’ll use more barred chords and would most likely extended the Em to an Em7 as well.

Try both progressions and play along with the video:

Beginner Guru


Week 17 – Step 2 – 10-20 min

Let’s take a look at the exact finger style pattern I use in the video.

I use two fingers to pick the chord on the up beat and my thumb to play the bass line on the down beat.

Practice this pattern to a metronome at different speeds. You will fine tune your accuracy by playing this fast and slow.

Simply repeat this loop for most of the song:
Ain't No Sunhsine loop Am7

For the Em – Dm7, I play this:
Ain't No Sunshine Em Dm7
Practice this exact pattern as you play along with the video.

When you can do it, look at how you could vary it by picking different notes from the chords.

Beginner Guru


Today we started learning ‘Ain’t No Sunshine’. We found out that we could see the two quick chords as just a bass line.

The picking pattern was simple enough and what might have sounded a bit complicated is actually pretty easy once you start dissecting it.

In three days time we will spend some more time on this song, including reading a TAB chart.

See you then!

Dan (your guitar guru)