Oh, Pretty Woman – Roy Orbison
This is a nice sounding song, which is easy to play, save for one chord change that may take a little extra time and effort. Oh Pretty Woman can be played at a comfortable pace and still sound good. Don’t worry about playing at full speed with the original recording – that will come in time with practice. The real fun part of learning this song is you will be able to play along with the original and it will sound right.
First, I will list the necessary chords to play this song and then I will describe each part in the order that it is played to try and make things easier. Try to relax during chord switching. Speed will come with repeated practice and being tense won’t help make changing chords easier. It’s important to take your time starting out. If you have trouble making a chord change, take a step back and practice that chord change back and forth in relaxation and without frustration and you WILL master it. Most of the chords in this song will be used in so many other songs that playing this song will help you so much down the road with those other songs.
Oh Pretty Woman has two very easy riffs, followed by the main body of the song, a bridge/chorus, that I will break down into two halves, and then the end of the song. The riffs are played here and there throughout the song to keep it fun.
These are the chords for the main part of the song….A, F#m, D and E7.
Here are the chords for the first half of the bridge – Dm, G, C, Am.
For the second half of the bridge, you’ll also need an A7:
Riff 1 : This is how the song begins. You will play this twice, and remember that the second time is the start of the third measure, so you’ll have to wait for it.
6th string (low E) – play it open twice. Then play it one more time fretted on the 4th fret with your ring finger (G#).
5th string (A) – play it fretted on the 2nd fret with your index finger (B).
4th string (D) – play it once open.
You can also play the fifth fret of the A string, rather than the open D string.
Riff 2 : You will play this four times after you play Riff 1. It is the same riff as “Riff 1″ with only three more notes added to the 4th (D) string, so this is easy!
Begin exactly as you would for Riff 1 but after you play the open D string play it again fretted on the 4th fret (F#) with your ring finger, then again fretted on the second fret (E) with your index finger, then one more time on the 4th (D) string open and that is the entire riff and beginning of the song. As you did with “Riff 1,” you can also play the D note at the fifth fret of the A string instead of using the open D.
Then we move onto the song itself. The strumming pattern throughout the entire song will be the same. The change and sound of the chords will make it sound different and more uplifting during the bridge/chorus combined with only a slightly faster pace.
Here is the strumming pattern. It’s a quite common pattern you’ll find on a lot of songs, such as the Beatles’ Nowhere Man
When going up, be sure to only hit the top two or three strings (G, B, high E).
When going from the A chord to the F#m, you may feel you need more time to get into this chord. To help here, you can strum an extra short down and up stroke on the bottom few strings to buy yourself more time. You do have time for this and can play it with the song later on if you like the habit. I still do this and I do not fall behind playing along with the song.
Another thing you can do here is substitute F#m7 for F#m:
This won’t sound exactly the same but, as you will hear when you try it, it’s close enough that most folks won’t know the difference. Beginners find using F#m7 easier than switching to a barre chord.
Something to note about chord switching in this song – if you try to start a verse at the beginning of a chord, it may sound “choppy” to you. I found that the song plays a new chord on the second word or syllable of a verse more fluently. For example in the first verses, I don’t play the A on the word “pretty” but rather on “woman.” I start the F#m on the word ‘down’. This is because “woman” and “down” fall on the first beat of a measure while “pretty” and “walking” actually fall on the fourth beat of the previous measure.
I thought this worth mentioning because I had a tough time fitting the lyrics to the music properly at first. One final note – in the verses the D chord is actually a measure and a half in duration. That’s six beats on the D before going to E7.
**(Here you will continue strumming to finish the verse)
**Play Riff 2 4 times. Add the word “Mercy” after the first time.
**(Here you will continue strumming to finish the verse)
**Play Riff 2 4 more times. (Feel free to ” growl ” after the first time!)
*Here is the first half of the bridge/chorus:
**Play your strumming pattern completely twice here, the second time with no lyrics.
(There is a slight change in the strumming pattern in this verse. Just go with what feels right and fit it to the words as bet you can for now)
**(You will also need to change the strumming here to fit the words with what feels best for you)
**Play Riff 2 4 times.
(*From this point on, we are strumming the E7 continuously)
*Begin Riff 2 with the beginning of this verse and continue playing it throughout the rest of the lyrics.
*With the last word in this verse we form an A chord, give it a very short strum and silence the strings immediately afterwards to end the song.
On February 11, 2010 we received a letter from lawyers representing the NMPA and the MPA instructing us to remove guitar tab and lyrics from this page. You can read more about their complaint here. Alternatively, you can still find this complete article with tab and lyrics archived here.