My Sweet Lord Chords – Your Ultimate Guide

These My Sweet Lord Chords will get your fingers moving – let’s dive in and learn how to play this George Harrison classic!

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In this free lesson you will learn…

  • How to play diminished chords
  • How to play barre chords
  • How to switch between chords effectively
  • Two ways to approach a key change

Your Guide To My Sweet Lord Chords

Today, we’re going to get into one of the greatest guitar songs of all time from one of the very few three-sided albums ever produced.

My Sweet Lord is a wondrous song to play and sing, and you’re going to love having it in your song bag.

Warning: This is not the easiest song to play, because the My Sweet Lord chords undergo a key change that we can’t fake our way out of.

For many guitarists and George Harrison lovers however, this song is the motivation we need to level-up our guitar playing!

My-Sweet-Lord-Chords

My Sweet Lord was a gigantic post-Beatles hit for George Harrison, his first from his 1970 album All Things Must Pass.

  • We’ll show you how Harrison turned a simple two-chord vamp into a sweet and complex tune, capturing the contemporary religious rock atmosphere of the late 1960s in a personal, yet universal way.
  • In this lesson you’ll learn the My Sweet Lord chords and the multilingual lyrics, the background of the song and album, and how to lead this song in a group gathering or jam session.

Let’s get to the magic and learn this Harrison classic!

My-Sweet-Lord-Chords

My Sweet Lord Chords: Background & Songwriting

Harrison’s reputation as a spiritual seeker is pretty well-documented.

He first brought the element of Eastern music into his songwriting back in 1965 with “Norwegian Wood,” which introduced the sitar into The Beatles’ catalog on Rubber Soul.

Harrison’s first overtly world-influenced song, “Love You To,” appeared on The Beatles’ 1996 album Revolver.

easy-Beatles-songs-on-guitar

His next song incorporated more Vedic philosophical elements as well as traditional middle-eastern music.

“Within You Without You” was the second side opening track on The Beatles’ 1967 album, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

Although Harrison never fully joined or adopted any spiritual or religious organization, his identification with the Hare Krishna faith remained a theme in his songwriting after The Beatles’ breakup.

People have always explored spiritual ideas through music, and in the late 1960s and 1970s, spirituality was a prevalent theme in popular music.

My-Sweet-Lord-Chords

In 1969, Harrison was on tour with Delaney & Bonnie. During a break, he picked up the guitar and vamped what would become the My Sweet Lord chords.

  • He alternated between the lyrics “Hallelujah” and “Hare Krishna.”
  • Taking the song to the rest of the group, the chorus was developed.
  • Harrison has said that while developing the song, he was thinking of the huge Edwin Hawkins Singers’ hit “Oh Happy Day,” a staple of the 1960s.

Perfect-Chords

Originally laid down as a fairly standard gospel song, My Sweet Lord was produced by Phil Spector and given a version of the Wall of Sound treatment.

  • The resulting similarity to the Chiffons’ “He’s So Fine” led to a court trial, but My Sweet Lord has survived since.
  • The enduring popularity of the song (and even the My Sweet Lord chords themselves) has as much to do with the universal message of elevated consciousness as it does to the beauty of the production.

My-Sweet-Lord-Chords

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My Sweet Lord Chords: The First Verse

If you’re going to elevate the world’s consciousness through a song, you might elevate the key of the song at some point also!

This song has two keys: E major and F# major. That’s both good news and bad news for beginning guitar players.

With some smart modifications however, you can absolutely play the My Sweet Lord chords with ease.

The good news is that both keys are achieved with the use of a capo.

  • If you can figure out a way to move your capo up two frets while singing and playing the My Sweet Lord chords, you won’t even need to change chord shapes when you change keys.
  • Below are the chords you will need for the first bit of the song.
  • We’ll use the chord shapes for the key of D major, which are much friendlier shapes in general.

Em (022000)

My-sweet-lord-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!)

A (x02220)

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D (xx0232)

My-sweet-lord-chords

Bm (xx4432)

My-sweet-lord-chords

or (x24432)

My-sweet-lord-chords

F#º7 (xx1212)

B7 (x21202)

My-Sweet-Lord-Chords

The progression of the My Sweet Lord chords is simply Em to A for a while; then D to Bm.

Isolate and practice D to Bm, as switching to barre chords can be difficult at first.

We play on Em to A until “I really want to see you,” when this progression begins:

D  Bm D  Bm

D  |F#º7 B7| Em  A

how-to-play-perfect-ed-sheeran

Let’s examine that F#º7 to B7 change, because it’s easier than it looks:

  • For the F#º7 (pronounced “F sharp diminished 7th”) chord, your second and third fingers are on the G and E strings at the second fret.
  • To practice getting to the B7, move those two fingers as a unit to the A and G strings.
  • As you become comfortable with that change, add your first finger to the D string. Once that becomes easier, add your pinky to the E string.
  • These My Sweet Lord chords are best conquered individually, then altogether.

My-Sweet-Lord-Chords

Pro-Tip: It’s always a great idea to learn a song in sections.

As satisfying as it is to work through a whole song; when changes like the My Sweet Lord chords get you stuck, the quickest way to get unstuck is to chop the song into pieces to practice.

best-way-to-practice-guitar

My Sweet Lord Chords: The Key Change

After the first verse, the My Sweet Lord chords repeat as is for a second verse. Then it’s time for the key change.

Here’s the easy way to handle it: play this song in a group of people with multiple guitars!

  • The song modulates (changes keys) up a whole step. On the guitar, a whole step is two frets.
  • The simple way to change keys is to stop playing at some point, letting your musician friends take over while you move your capo up the neck two frets, to the fourth.
  • You can then continue to play the song using the same chord shapes as before!

Fun Fact: The army of guitars on the recording included Pete Ham, Joey Molland, and Tom Evans of Badfinger, on whose albums you can hear Harrison returning the favor.

My-Sweet-Lord-Chords

Should you choose to muscle through the modulation and keep your capo where it is, here are the chords you’ll need:

D (xx0232)

D7 (xx0212)

B7 (x21202)

E (022100)

G#º7 (xx3434)

C#7 (x43404)

F#m (xx4222)

or (244222)

B (x24442)

or (xx4442)

Note that the G#º7 and C#7 in the My Sweet Lord chords are functionally the same as the F#º7 and B7 chords you used in the first two verses. You’re doing the same thing, just two frets up the neck.

There are stepping-stone versions of the F#m and B barre chords if you’re not quite there yet. You can practice using your first finger as a mini-barre across the second fret and work your way toward playing the full barre chords!

The progression for this modulation section of the My Sweet Lord chords can be found below:

D  D D7  D7 B7 B7

E  |G#º7 C#7| F#m  B

From there, you’re vamping on F#m and B instead of Em and A.

How-to-play-my-sweet-lord

My Sweet Lord Chords: The Verse After The Key Change

If you’ve managed to change keys by moving your capo, congratulations! The rest of the song follows the progression of the first verse. The only difference is that instead of the second fret, your capo is now on the fourth fret.

If you have managed to get through the key change section of My Sweet Lord chords without a capo, great! That’s a hairy part of the song no matter how experienced you are on the guitar.

  • There’s one more verse in the new key before we get to the big vamp at the end.
  • It runs the same way as the previous two verses, but everything has been moved up a whole step.
  • You’ll only need one additional chord for that verse, because you’ve already dealt with most of the new chords in the key change section.

C#m (x46654)

How-to-play-my-sweet-lord-on-guitar

You can use the chromatic scale to figure out what the last verse of My Sweet Lord chords should be.

  • This is an excellent exercise in transposition – figuring out a new key for a song.
  • The vamp chords are Em to A in the first verse. To move Em up a whole step, remember that the distance from E to F is just a half step.
  • E plus a whole step is F#, so Em becomes F#m. The A chord becomes a B chord.

key-signatures

When you transpose, the quality of the chord stays the same. The quality is whatever is after the root; for example, minor, seventh, or diminished.

The progression for the verse in the new key is this:

F#m  B F#m  B

E  C#m  E C#m

E  |G#º7 C#7| F#m  B

After that verse, you’re vamping forever on F#m and B!

Easy-Beatles-songs

My Sweet Lord Chords: The Rhythm

As a guitar song, the most satisfying and fun part of My Sweet Lord is the rhythm. It’s distinctive and funky, but not terribly difficult to play.

You can copy the rhythm of the recording by playing this pattern over two measures. Remember to keep the constant down-up motion going!

  • The distinguishing feature of this strumming pattern is the consecutive upward strumming at the end of the first measure.
  • You still have to drop your hand to keep the beat, and it feels a little awkward at first.
  • A few minutes of practice will get you into the swing of this strumming pattern.

This pattern works everywhere in the song except for the key change part, and we’ll get to that in a minute.

Here’s the main rhythm:

Down, down, down-up, -up, -up, down, down-up, down-up

George-Harrison-Guitar-songs

A change in rhythm is easy to pull off in the key change section as a practical way of either moving your capo or transitioning to a different set of chords.

  • These My Sweet Lord chords do a great job of teaching us to pay attention to shifts in the tone of the song.
  • It’s also a good idea to emphasize the harmonic shifts by strumming a little more sparsely rather than burying them in a busy rhythm.

There’s no requirement that you change the rhythm, but if you do, you can try something a little simpler, like this:

Down, -, -up, -up, down, -, -, –

spanish-guitar-lesson

The second measure of the pattern is just a whole note strum.

  • Hit the chord on the first beat and let it ring.
  • This can even buy you time to reposition the capo if you’re fast!

The best time to reposition the capo is between the B7 and the E. If you do that, the E becomes a D and all of the following chords are down a whole step.

Barre-Chord-songs

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.

My Sweet Lord Chords: The Structure

Due to the extended vamping of the My Sweet Lord chords, this song seems to be constructed a lot more loosely than it actually is.

Here is a summary of the song structure so that you can get through it without accidentally looping through the vamp too many times and getting lost!

The verse progression is also the intro, and it goes like this:

Em  A Em  A

Em  A Em  A

D  Bm D  Bm

D  |F#º7 B7|

Intro

Verse

Verse

Key change section:

Em  A Em  A

Em  A Em  A

D  D D7  D7

B7  B7

E  |G#º7 C#7|

Verse

F#m  B F#m  B

F#m  B F#m  B

E  C#m  E C#m

E |G#º7 C#7|

Vamp Outro

F#m  B

The ending vamp is an entire Hare Krishna mantra. It’s not easy to memorize, so here it is:

“Hare krishna, hare krishna

Krishna krishna, hare hare

Gurur brahma, gurur vishnu

Gurur devo, maheshvara

Gurur sakshaat, parambrahma

Tasmai shree, guruve nama, hare rama

Hare krishna, hare krishna

Krishna krishna, hare hare”

Here is a complete chart of My Sweet Lord chords and lyrics to help you along.

For More George Harrison, Check This Out!

If you enjoyed learning these My Sweet Lord chords, you’re going to want to add some more of Harrison’s solo gems to your songbag.

There is a very useful series of guitar books showing you accurate recorded versions of popular artists’ songs, and George Harrison’s anthology is available here.

  • Having some of these types of books on hand is great, especially if you’re interested in the full catalog of work that artists have put together over the years.
  • Everyone will love singing along to these My Sweet Lord chords with you, so don’t be afraid to play along with your friends!

Recommended Resources

If you’ve enjoyed this lesson on how to play these My Sweet Lord chords, we have other places for you to go next! Continue on your path with these lessons:

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