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Honky Tonk Woman- standard tuning- Rolling Stones

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Wes Inman
(@wes-inman)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 5582
Topic starter  

If you've ever tried to play many Rolling Stones songs in standard tuning they never sound right. That's because Keith Richard usually tunes his guitar to an open chord. Honky Tonk Woman is such an example. But here is a way to play it in standard tuning that will sound very close to the recording. The trick is to hold a "G type" barre chord. Just hold a barre over the B, G, and D strings with your index finger, and play the bass note on the low E string with your pinky. Let your pinky lay across the A string muting it.

The advantage to this is you can easily play the 4th chord by simply fretting the B string with your middle finger, and fretting the D string with your ring finger while still maintaining the barre with your index. You can pick up your pinky when you do this, this string is not needed. This form takes a little getting used to, but it is not that difficult and is easy to slide up and down the neck as is done in this song.

Enough of all that, here is the recording.

For the guitar fills, try playing in the G Major Pentatonic scale. On the solo you can also play the Major Pentatonic for each particular chord, sounds great.

Here is the rhythm guitar and lyrics.


Chords used in song

G5 C5 F D5 G A5 D
e---3p---------------------------------2m---
b---3r---5i----6m----7i----8m----2i----3r---
g---0----5i----5i----7i----7i----2i----2i---
d---0----5i----7r----7i----9r----2i----0----
a---X----X-----------X-----------X----------
e---3m---8p----------10p---------5p---------

Verse progression

G C5 F C5
e-3---3-----3---3-3---3-----3---3----------------------------------
b-3---3-----3---3-3---3-----3---3-5---5-----6---6-5---5-----5---5--
g-0---0-----0---0-0---0-----0---0-5---5-----5---5-5---5-----5---5--
d-0---0-----0---0-0---0-----0---0-5---5-----7---7-5---5-----5---5--
a-X---X-----X---X-X---X-----X---X-X---X-----------X---X-----X---X--
e-3---3-----3---3-3---3-----3---3-8---8-----------8---8-----8---8--
1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &
d d u u d d u u d d u u d d u u

G5 A5 D5 G D5 run
e-3---3-----3---3--------------------------------------------------
b-3---3-----3---3-2---2-----2---2-7---7-----8---8-7---7------------
g-0---0-----0---0-2---2-----2---2-7---7-----7---7-7---7------------
d-0---0-----0---0-2---2-----2---2-7---7-----9---9-7---7-----5---0--
a-X---X-----X---X-X---X-----X---X-X---X-----------X---X------------
e-3---3-----3---3-5---5-----5---5-10--10---------10--10-3/7--------
1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &
d d u u d d u u d d u u d d u u

G C5 F C5
e-3---3-----3---3-3---3-----3---3----------------------------------
b-3---3-----3---3-3---3-----3---3-5---5-----6---6-5---5-----5---5--
g-0---0-----0---0-0---0-----0---0-5---5-----5---5-5---5-----5---5--
d-0---0-----0---0-0---0-----0---0-5---5-----7---7-5---5-----5---5--
a-X---X-----X---X-X---X-----X---X-X---X-----------X---X-----X---X--
e-3---3-----3---3-3---3-----3---3-8---8-----------8---8-----8---8--
1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &
d d u u d d u u d d u u d d u u

run in G Major Pent.
G D G w
e-3---3-----3---3-2---2-----2---2-3--------------------------------
b-3---3-----3---3-3---3-----3---3-3-------3-3-3--------------------
g-0---0-----0---0-2---2-----2---2-0-----2^------42-0-----0--------
d-0---0-----0---0-0---0-----0---0-0-------------------0h2----------
a-X---X-----X---X-----------------X--------------------------------
e-3---3-----3---3-----------------3--------------------------------
1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &
d d u u d d u u d d u u d d u u

Chorus- play twice

G D G play run G Major Pent.
1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &
/ / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / /

G C F C
I met a gin soaked bar-room queen in Memphis,
G A D G D (run)
She tried to take me upstairs for a ride
G C F C
She had to heave me, right across her shoulder
G D G (run)
‘Cause I just can't seem to drink you off my mind

G D G (run)
It's a hon…… oh- ky tonk woman
G D G (run)
She gimme, gimme, gimme, the honky tonk blues

G C F C
I laid a divorcee in New York City
G A D G D (run)
She tried to put up some kind of a fight
G C F C
The lady, then she covered me with roses
G D G (run)
She blew my nose, and then she blew my mind

Repeat Chorus

Solo- play verse progression

Repeat Chorus twice

If you know something better than Rock and Roll, I'd like to hear it - Jerry Lee Lewis


   
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Vic Lewis VL
(@vic-lewis-vl)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 10264
 

Hmmm - interesting. Was messing around at a jam session one night and ended up doing this song in standard - but I do it completely differently! There are similarities, though - I concentrate mostly on the G B and D strings for all the little fills, but I don't mute the A string - in fact, I use it for hammering on and pulling off on quite a few chords. I like to throw a few sus4's in here and there as well, especially on the D chords!

Something I learned from playing Stones songs in open tunings.....if you look at a G chord in open G, it'll be x00000. If you add what I like to think of as an Am7 shape over that....x02010....you're losing the third (B) so suspending the fourth (C) and adding a 6th...E. So that chord's now become a Gsus4/6. BUT - if you look at it another way, the notes you're playing are G E G C and D....with C as the root, you've got the root, third, fifth and ninth in the scale of C, so it's a Cadd9. You can swap between the G and the Cadd9 the same way as you would in standard tuning, by alternating 320033 and x32033. Those acoustic chords in "Street Fighting Man" are done this way in open tuning.

Back to HTW - I did wonder at first why you were playing the bass notes with your pinky, then it hit me - what you're doing is playing partial G-shaped barre chords. I'd never have thought of that!

Thanks Wes! I'll try this one out, see if it sounds better than "my" EADGBE version - might even take the best bits of both!

:D :D :D

Vic

"Sometimes the beauty of music can help us all find strength to deal with all the curves life can throw us." (D. Hodge.)


   
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rmorash
(@rmorash)
Estimable Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 108
 

Wes

Thanks so much for this - I've been messing around with open tunings but it's bother to keep changing tunings unless I buy another guitar. The explanation is super as always.

Thanks!


   
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