Let It Be Chords – The Ultimate Guide

Let It Be is one of the Beatles’ most popular songs – Let’s explore the chords and the easiest way to play it!

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In this free lesson you will learn…

  • How to play ‘Let It Be’ by The Beatles
  • Four chords that you can use anywhere!
  • Tips for learning music by ear
  • A brief history of this classic song!

Let It Be Chords – Simple & Easy!

If this is the first time you’ve tried to learn a Beatles song on the guitar, you’ve made an excellent choice! “Let It Be” is a great addition to your guitar repertoire!

  • Songs by The Beatles are never as easy as they sound when we’re listening to them and singing along in the car. That’s just part of the brilliance of just about everything they ever wrote.
  • You would think that songs like “Yellow Submarine” would be easy to play because they sound so simple, but each Beatles song has its own challenges like quick chord changes, unusual chords, or tricky riffs.

“Let It Be,” of all songs, isn’t even played on the guitar.

How do you get a piano song onto the guitar?

let-it-be-chords

Well, Paul McCartney knew what he was doing when he wrote the song.

  • It took two years to get from concept to release, but he kept it simple enough when it came to chords.
  • That means it’s one of the few songs written for the piano that is also pretty simple on the guitar!

In this lesson, we are going to get into how you can play “Let It Be” whether today is your first or 10,000th day on the guitar.

With just four chords on the guitar and an understanding of how the song is built, you can easily put this classic Beatles song in your song library, so let’s get started!

let-it-be-chords

Let It Be Chords For Beginners

The Beatles wrote this song in the key of C. 

  • What does that mean, though?
  • The key of a song is a super important aspect you should know, especially since we’re going to change it for you if you are a beginner on the guitar.
  • The key a song is in determines the chords you use.

Check out Music Theory for Beginners for an explanation of what that’s all about.

The Let It Be chords for guitar in the key of C would be a little bit hairy for beginning playing, so we’re going to use the “Let It Be” chords in the key of G for a start.

Luckily, you only need four of them: G major, C major, D major, and E minor.

If you don’t know or don’t like any of those just yet, here they are with some easy modifications.

G (320003)

let-it-be-chords

(If you don't understand the above image please read our article "How To Read Guitar Chordboxes In 60 Seconds". It will make everything clear!)

and (xx0003)

let-it-be-chords

C (x32010)

let-it-be-chords

and (xxx010)

let-it-be-chords

D (xx0232)

let-it-be-chords

and (xx0230)

Em (022000)

and (xxx000)

 

To go a little more in-depth for these chords, you can satisfy your curiosity with these excellent lessons:

Now, if you would like to play your Let It Be chords along with the recording, you’ll want to get yourself a capo and stick it on the fifth fret.

  • This means that although you are using the chord shapes above, playing with the key of G chord shapes, you are actually making key of C chords.
  • If all that capo magic sounds very foreign to you, you can stop off at How to Use a Capo for a brief introduction.

Here is the chord progression for the verse.

G D Em C

G D C G

Here is the chord progression for the chorus.

Em D C G

G D C G

let-it-be-chords

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Let It Be Chords For Not-Quite-Beginners

The reason the above discussion avoided the key of C is that playing “Let It Be” chords in the key of C means at some point you have to contend with the F chord.

  • It’s not the F chord’s fault, but because the guitar is not well-designed to easily play an F chord, it’s a little bit more challenging than the rest of the open chords (like G and C).
  • The issue is that piece of the chord where you have to lay your first finger down flat across the E and B strings while keeping the rest of your fingers curved on the G and D strings.

If the F chord is holding you back from doing what you want to do on the guitar, you can get yourself past that obstacle with this lesson: F Guitar Chord – 3 Easy Alternatives.

let-it-be-chords

When you play your Let It Be chords in the key of C, you do not need a capo to play along with the recording. This makes it easier to pick up and play.

Additionally, the grouping of chords sounds different in the open position (no capo) of the neck than they do when everything is moved up to the fifth fret.

These are the Let It Be chords in the key of C.

C (x32010)

G (320003)

F (xx3211)

Am (x02210)

If you are interested in learning how to play songs by ear, this Beatles tune is a great place to start!

  • The chord progression is pretty repetitive, with one eight-bar progression for the verse and another eight-bar progression for the chorus.
  • Try it! You may be surprised at how easy it is to arrange these four chords in the order you need them to make “Let It Be” happen without the aid of any written materials.

Here’s the answer key for you to refer to. The verse progression of Let It Be chords in the key of C goes like this:

C G Am F

C G F C

The progression in the chorus goes like this:

Am G F C

C G F C

easy-let-it-be-chords

Pro-Tip: “Let It Be” is one of those songs everyone knows the words to. The Let It Be chords are also pretty easy to memorize.

Check out the second line of the progression – it’s always the same!

With repeated playing and singing, you’ll have this one down without the need for a cheat sheet taped to the waist of your guitar.

Let It Be Chords: The Basic Arrangement

One really helpful thing about learning songs is that they almost always have some kind of pattern that you can predict.

  • This overall pattern is sometimes referred to as song structure.
  • Breaking down a song into its parts can help you learn the individual parts, and then all you have to do is string them together in the right order.
  • “Let It Be” has three parts. There’s a verse, there’s a chorus, and there’s a break.
  • Paul is even using his Let It Be chords from the verse as his intro. Simple and genius, right?

Watch the video and listen to the song here to hear what we’re talking about.

The chord changes come pretty quickly in this song, with two beats per chord.

  • So, if we’re playing this song with four beats in a measure (which we are), then the intro is four measures long.
  • The verse starts when Paul starts singing.

The chorus starts when Paul starts singing all of those “Let It Bes” in a row.

So, to boil down the arrangement of “Let It Be” into an easy-to-remember structure, here is how the song maps out:

Intro (verse)

Verse x2

Chorus

Verse x2
Chorus x2

Break x2

Solo (Verse x2)

Chorus

Verse x2

Chorus x2

Break

Of course, there’s no shame in bringing your binder full of songs to the gig! Here’s a nice version of your Let It Be chords and lyrics for you to use.

beginner-let-it-be-chords

The Break

We haven’t talked about the break yet – Harmonically speaking, that’s where all the action is in the song!

  • When we’re talking about the break, we’re talking about that fantastic little part that happens on the piano, and then on the organ by Billy Preston, right before the guitar solo starts.
  • The break is also the thing that ends the song.
  • The break is also an expanded version of what happens at the end of every verse – that little “walk-down” you hear on the piano.

If you’d like to play the break on the guitar in a nice clean little harmonized lick, here it is for you in TAB format:

how-to-play-let-it-be

It’s so pretty!

I can’t help being a little excited for you if this is your first time playing this song.

Tablature never tells you which fingers to use, so usually you have to figure it out on your own and twist your fingers around until you come up with some kind of workable solution.

Thankfully, we’ve got the solution for you here:

  • Use your second (middle) finger on the G string, and use your third finger on the B string when the frets are the same number.
  • Use your index finger on the B string when those notes are set back from the fret of the G string.
  • Try to make your strumming hand motion fairly small so that you hit only the strings that you intend to.

In no time, you’ll be playing this break without any trouble.

beatles-on-guitar

Download our lead guitar cheat-sheet to make things easier

It can be disorientating for guitarists to understand which scales work with which keys.

With this in mind, we created a cheat-sheet; a key and scale-finder that you can use again and again.

The Sad History Of The Song

The inspiration for “Let It Be” was a dream McCartney had about his mother, who died when he was a boy.

The concept came to him in 1968.

  • Back in those days, it was possible to sit around a recording studio all day and develop musical material as well as record it.
  • He started playing around with “Let It Be” while they were recording “Piggies” for The White Album in 1968, and by January 1969 the video that you saw above was filmed.
  • “‘Let It Be” was the final single released before McCartney announced that he was leaving The Beatles.

John Lennon famously ran the song down by saying that it may as well have been a Wings song.

Those of us who are also huge Wings fans don’t really know why that would be so upsetting.

national-guitar-academy

Pro-Tip: Nobody really looks forward to being asked to play a song at a funeral or memorial.

In the event it happens, just know that “Let It Be” is a really good song to play at a memorial.

“In My Life” will make you cry too much. Stick with this one instead.

“Let It Be” Solo

After you’ve been playing the Let It Be chords for a while, you may be up for a new challenge.

The guitar solo is beautiful – It fits perfectly into the rest of the song and provides the exact right kind of energy to keep the vibe going.

Thankfully it’s not all that hard to play, either.

guitar-lessons

The solo in the video above is different than the one that found its way onto the album. There is also a different version on the single – how does this happen?

  • Harrison overdubbed his solo onto the best take of the song done on January 31, 1969. That became the solo you hear on the single version of “Let It Be,” produced by George Martin
  • He overdubbed another solo in January 1970. That became the solo you hear on the album version of “Let It Be,” produced by Phil Spector.

Here is a lovely tab of the album version of the “Let It Be” solo by George Harrison.

free-guitar-lessons

For More Information on This and Other Beatles Songs…

One of the reasons to learn a lot of songs by The Beatles (including the Let It Be chords you just mastered), is that everyone still seems to know them 50 years later. 

  • Their catalog is extraordinarily well-documented, and there are all kinds of resources for learning them all.
  • The gold standard for Beatles books is this set of Beatles scores. You can also find a lot of different interpretations of chords and tablature on Ultimate-Guitar.com.

Find or start a Beatles song jam session in your neighborhood so you can show people the songs you know and learn others from them!

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