How To Play ‘Wish You Were Here’ – 5 Steps to Jamming Out

One of the most iconic songs from the legendary band Pink Floyd, “Wish You Were Here” is not just a classic tune but also a rite of passage for many budding guitarists. Its melodious intro, combined with soulful lyrics and chords, has made it a favorite for many campfires, quiet moments, and late-night jam sessions.

But how do you transition from humming along to this song to actually playing it on your guitar? Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a newbie who’s just picked up the guitar, this guide will walk you through the steps to strumming along with this all-time favorite. But before we delve into the nitty-gritty, let’s start with a nostalgic trip down memory lane, where the echoes of this song first resonated.

The Timelessness of “Wish You Were Here”

In the vast universe of rock and roll, there are songs that define generations, and then there are songs that transcend them. “Wish You Were Here” is, without a doubt, the latter. Released in 1975 as the title track for Pink Floyd’s ninth album, it captured the raw emotion, longing, and existential musings that the band was famously known for. The strumming of the acoustic guitar, paired with the haunting lyrics, painted a picture of loneliness, making it universally relatable. Over the years, as vinyl records gave way to digital streaming, the charm of this song remained untouched, turning it into an anthem for all those moments when we missed someone dear. Now, as you set out on this journey to play this masterpiece, let it not just be about hitting the right chords but feeling the soul of the song.

Step 1 – Getting to Know the Basics

The Original Tuning:

While many songs can be played using the standard guitar tuning (E A D G B e), “Wish You Were Here” is a bit unique. To capture the original sound, it’s recommended to use the standard tuning.

Key Chords to Master:

The song primarily revolves around a few chords: G, Em, A7sus4, and Dsus2. For beginners, if some of these sound like alien terms, don’t worry. With practice, they’ll soon be as familiar as your favorite lyrics.

Step 2 – The Iconic Intro

Arguably the most recognized part of the song, the intro sets the tone for what’s to come. It’s melodic, it’s soulful, and it’s something every Pink Floyd fan has tried to emulate at least once.

The First Part:

It starts with a G major chord, followed by an Em7, then a quick transition to the A7sus4. This sequence is played twice. The beauty of this section lies in the transitions. Smooth chord shifts are key.

The Second Part:

The intro then switches to a Dsus2 chord, moving to an A7sus4, and ending on a G major. Again, the transition is vital. The strumming pattern is consistent, and it’s crucial to maintain the rhythm.

Step 3 – Moving to the Verses

The verse of “Wish You Were Here” is where the lyrics come to the forefront. The poignant words paired with the melody create a beautiful synergy.

Verse Chords:

The primary chords you’ll need to master for the verses are C, D, Am, G, and Em. Familiarizing yourself with transitioning between these chords is essential for a smooth playing experience.

Strumming Pattern:

Maintaining a consistent strumming pattern is key. A simple “down-down-up, up-down-up” pattern works well for this song. It’s all about feeling the rhythm and letting the words guide your strumming.

Step 4 – The Bridge and the Solo

Chords for the Bridge:

The bridge introduces an A major chord, which brings a distinct sound to this section. It also utilizes the G and Em chords. The transition between these chords needs to be fluid, as the bridge has a slightly different tempo than the verses.

Mastering the Solo:

While the solo is a bit advanced, it’s not insurmountable. It’s primarily played on the second string (B string) and revolves around the 5th, 7th, and 8th frets. Remember, the solo is all about feel. It’s more than just hitting the right notes; it’s about capturing the emotion.

Step 5 – The Outro: Bringing It All Together

The outro is a blend of the intro and the verses. It encapsulates the essence of the song, providing a fitting end to this masterpiece.

Chords and Transitions:

The outro uses the G, Em7, A7sus4, and Dsus2 chords. The key is to transition smoothly, especially since the outro is a bit slower than the other parts of the song.

Video: How To Play Wish You Were Here

With these steps, you’re now equipped to embark on the journey of playing “Wish You Were Here” on your guitar. It’s not just about mastering the chords or nailing the solo; it’s about feeling the song and letting it resonate with your soul. So, pick up that guitar, tune it up, and let the echoes of Pink Floyd guide your fingers. With patience, practice, and passion, you’ll soon be creating your rendition of this timeless classic. Happy strumming!