How To Play Wonderwall by Oasis: 8 Steps
Alright, music enthusiasts and budding guitarists, gather around because today, we’re diving into the depths of one of the most iconic songs of the ’90s – “Wonderwall” by Oasis. Whether you’re a complete beginner, have strummed a couple of tunes before, or just want some nostalgia from this Britpop giant, we’re gonna explore this musical gem together.
How To Play Wonderwall
A Glimpse into “Wonderwall”
Before we jump into the playing part, let’s stroll down memory lane for a moment. “Wonderwall,” released in 1995 as the third single from the album “(What’s the Story) Morning Glory?”, was penned by the band’s lead guitarist and main songwriter, Noel Gallagher. With its melodic strumming and Gallagher’s distinctive voice, it won the hearts of many and became a signature song for Oasis.
Interestingly, the title “Wonderwall” was inspired by George Harrison’s solo album “Wonderwall Music” and the song talks about an imaginary friend who’s gonna come and save you from yourself. It’s a beautiful melody with a hint of melancholy, wrapped up in a straightforward chord progression which makes it perfect for beginners to grasp.
Step 1: Equip Yourself
Grab Your Guitar
“Alright! But, how to get started?”, you might wonder. The first and foremost, grab your acoustic guitar because “Wonderwall” is predominantly an acoustic number. While it’s famed for its simple chords, the rhythm and strumming pattern make it unique and instantly recognizable.
Choose Your Pick
Wonderwall’s distinctive sound is also thanks to the use of a guitar pick. Select a medium thickness pick for a balanced sound and get ready to strum along.
Step 2: Tuning and Capo Placement
Tuning is Key
Ensure your guitar is tuned properly before you begin. Standard tuning (E A D G B e) works, but to get the authentic “Wonderwall” sound, you’ll need to make a small adjustment: Your second string (B) needs to be tuned down to an A. So, your tuning from the 6th string to the 1st will look like this: E A D G A e. This altered tuning is quite essential to get that signature sound of the original track.
Grab a capo and place it on the second fret. A capo is a device used on the neck of a stringed (typically fretted) instrument to shorten the playable length of the strings, hence raising the pitch. For “Wonderwall,” the capo gives us that bright, uplifting sound while allowing us to play simple open chord shapes.
Step 3: Mastering the Chords
Let’s get to the chords now, shall we? With your guitar tuned and capo on, it’s time to get those fingers moving.
The Basic Chords
The chords used in “Wonderwall” are fairly straightforward, especially considering that lovely capo is making our lives easier. The main chords you’ll need to get down are E minor7 (Em7), G, Dsus4, A7sus4, and Cadd9. Even though they might sound complex, with the capo on the 2nd fret, they’re quite manageable!
- Em7: 022033
- G: 320033
- Dsus4: xx0233
- A7sus4: x02033
- Cadd9: x32033
Feel the positions of the chords, try to transition between them smoothly, and make sure each string is ringing clearly. Practice transitioning between these chords until you can do it with your eyes closed.
Chorus and Bridge Chords
The chorus introduces a new chord – Cadd9, while the bridge introduces two new ones: C and Am7.
- C: x32010
- Am7: x02010
Step 4: Get that Strumming Right
Rhythm and Pattern
Strumming gives life to chords, and “Wonderwall” has a very distinctive strumming pattern that goes like this: Down Down Up Down Up Down Up (D D U D U D U). Strumming might be challenging initially, especially if you’re trying to sing along, but with consistent practice, it becomes second nature.
Feel the Beat
Timing is crucial. “Wonderwall” is in 4/4 time, meaning each measure has four beats. The strumming pattern fits into one measure, and it keeps repeating throughout the song, making it a great practice piece for maintaining consistent strumming through an entire song.
Get comfortable with the chords and strumming separately before merging them together. Once you feel confident, bring them together slowly, then gradually increase your speed as you become more comfortable.
Alright, with this, we’ve laid the foundation for playing “Wonderwall”! You’ve got the tools, and now it’s just about practice. So, let’s keep the momentum going, shall we?
Step 5: Putting It All Together
Blending Chords and Strumming
Now that you’ve spent some time with your chords and strumming, it’s time to bring them together. Start slowly, strumming while transitioning through the chords in the verse. Don’t rush it; make sure each chord rings out and your transitions are smooth. Remember: It’s not a race!
Verse and Chorus
“Today is gonna be the day…” – we’ve all sung along to this iconic opening line. The chord progression for the verse goes: Em7 – G – Dsus4 – A7sus4. Practice transitioning through these chords while maintaining the strumming pattern, and you’ve got the verse down!
Moving on to the chorus: “Because maybe…”. The chords go: Cadd9 – Em7 – G – Em7. Once you’re comfortable with the verses and chorus, you’re practically through most of the song!
Navigating the Bridge
“And all the roads we have to walk are winding…” Here, the chords slightly shift: C – Dsus4 – Em – G – Dsus4 – A7sus4. This part may require a bit more practice to transition smoothly back into the chorus, but you’ve got this!
If you fancy singing while playing, start by simply saying the words in rhythm with your playing. Once you’re comfortable with that, start singing along. Initially, focus more on playing, and let your voice follow.
Step 6: Incorporate Some Fingerpicking
Introduction to Fingerstyle
While the original “Wonderwall” heavily relies on strumming, introducing some fingerstyle playing can add a fresh twist to this classic. Fingerpicking adds a delicate, intricate touch, especially during the quieter sections of the song, such as the bridge.
Basic Fingerpicking Pattern
With your thumb (T), index (I), middle (M), and ring (R) fingers, try this pattern:
- T plays the bass note of the chord (for Em7 it’s the E string, for G it’s the E string, for Dsus4 it’s the D string, and so on).
- I plays the G string.
- M plays the B string.
- R plays the high E string.
A basic picking pattern could be: T-I-M-R-M-I. Experiment with this pattern during the verses or bridge to add some variation.
Step 7: Spice It Up With Some Dynamics
Play with Intensity
One way to make your rendition of “Wonderwall” more captivating is by playing with dynamics. This means altering the volume and intensity of your strumming or picking. For instance, strum softer during the verses and increase your intensity during the chorus for a build-up.
Another technique to experiment with is palm muting. By lightly resting the edge of your palm on the strings near the bridge while you strum, you can produce a muted, rhythmic sound. This technique is perfect for the verses, offering a contrast to the open strumming of the chorus.
Step 8: Connect with the Song
Understand the Lyrics
While mastering the chords and strumming is essential, connecting with the song’s lyrics and message can elevate your performance. Understanding the song’s emotion and conveying it can make a world of difference, not just to you, but to anyone listening.
Make It Your Own
Don’t be afraid to add your own flair to “Wonderwall.” Whether it’s a unique strumming pattern, a vocal ad-lib, or even a slight change in tempo, personal touches can make your rendition stand out.
Enjoy the Journey
While learning the chords, strumming, and singing might be your goal, remember to enjoy every strum and hum along the way. After all, making music is all about joy!
And there you have it, folks – your roadmap to playing “Wonderwall” by Oasis! Dive into the beautiful world of chords, strum away, and don’t forget to enjoy every moment of your musical journey. Practice, stay motivated, and most importantly, have fun creating your own
“Wonderwall” moments. Rock on!
Tips and Reminders
Remember, consistency trumps extensive, irregular practice sessions. A bit each day will get those muscle memories built up.
It might take time to smoothly transition between chords while maintaining the strumming pattern, and that’s perfectly okay! The key is to be patient and persistent.
Advanced Tips for “Wonderwall” Enthusiasts
Now, for those of you who have breezed through the basics and are eager to amp up your “Wonderwall” game, here are some advanced tips to polish your performance.
Video: How To Play Wonderwall
While “Wonderwall” by Oasis is universally beloved for its simplicity and emotional depth, there’s plenty of room for every guitarist to make it their own. It’s more than just chords and lyrics; it’s a musical canvas awaiting your touch. Whether you’re playing for yourself, serenading a loved one, or performing for an audience, the most crucial element is the passion and soul you inject into it.
Remember, music is a journey. Every strum, every note, and every song you play is a step forward. So keep those fingers moving, stay inspired, and let “Wonderwall” be the anthem that lights up your musical path. Happy playing, and until next time, keep those strings singing!