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james blunt - You're Beautiful. Mini lesson.

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(@mattguitar_1567859575)
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Joined: 20 years ago
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Topic starter  

Greetings again everyone and Happy New Year to all.

After posting James Blunt's song “High” I had quite a lot of feedback about doing something on his big hit from the end of 2005, “You're Beautiful”. So I have finally got off my backside and decided to go ahead and do a little mini lesson on it.

For those of you that aren't yet familiar with this, its off the album Back To Bedlam which has been a smash hit over here in the UK – the album has been in the top 10 here for months and months. Mr Blunt is an ex soldier who has swapped a gun for a guitar, has an unusual angelic voice, and seems to have the knack of writing extremely catchy yet simple songs.

Anyway, a bit about the song…..it consists of a little riff, hook, or as David Hodge puts it “motif” that is played on an electric guitar with no capo. There is also Blunt himself playing acoustic rhythm over this – note that you will definitely need a capo for this one to get it to sound right. On the album he plays this, believe it or not (and I have seen him do this live as well and he played it the same way) capo'd at the 8th fret. Yup – 8th. That's pretty darn high on the fretboard and makes the chord shapes a little tricky if you have big fingers, but it is accurate – you'll just have to trust me on that.

As for chord shapes, they are almost all the same shapes as used on Oasis's Wonderwall. You need to fret the high E and the B string at the 3rd fret throughout (from the capo obviously). Get your pinky and ring finger wedged into that 3rd fret and keep them there whatever happens! Its vital that you get these 2 strings to ring cleanly.

Anyway I will try and give you a feel for both the riff and the rhythm guitar, but this little lesson is primarily aimed at the rhythm – i.e the guitar capo'd at fret 8. I will cover the little lead guitar part at the end for those of you that play with a partner.

Here's the chord shapes
NOTE – some of these chord names have been simplified – for instance C here x320033 is really Cadd9 as far as I can tell. Bit for simplicities sake (and being able to fit them on the tab itself) I have just called them by their basic names. Please don't pick me up on it.) Also note that there are 2 versions of D – one using the F# on the low E string as its bass and one normal (actually Dsus4), and 2 versions of C.
G – 320033
Em7 – 022033
C – x32033
Dsus4 xx0233
D* 200233 (Dsus4 with F# bass)
C* x32233
A7sus4 x02033

Timing
Song is a pretty slow 4/4 time song (for the record its recorded at 83 beats per minute), so its 4 beats to each bar for the most part – although there is one bar of 2/4 time that we will tackle later on. For the VERSE sections of the song the chords are held for a count of four, however in the chorus section this changes and you only hold most of them for a count of 2, I will go into more detail later on this.

Strumming pattern
I use a pattern that starts with 3 downstrums and then goes u/d/u then finishes a d/u/d/u for EACH chord lasting 4 beats. So the final pattern is D D D u/d/u d/u/d/u. You want a bit of a pause between the third downstrum and the u/d/u bit ideally, and a little pause between the u/d/u and the last d/u/d/u.

As long as you sound the first 3 downstrums successfully, you can pretty much blag the rest, as long as you stay in time of course! Also note that if possible you want to put a bit more stress on your bass notes during the verse section in particular – this will make the change in bass note that much more audible and effective.
Ok so let's launch right in and have a look at the intro and first verse….

The progression goes like this, for the intro and the first verse….
G / D* / Em / C

Let's look at what's happening on the low E string. Its doing this

3rd fret (on the G)
2nd fret (on the D*)
open (on the Em)
then to C.

So like I said before, you want to make 100% sure that you are hitting the bass strings on your strumming – particularly on those first three downstrums. Its what gives the song its flavour and with the capo placement its quite an unusual tone.

The basic verse pattern
Start off forming a G with your pinky on the high E (3rd fret), your ring finger on the B (3rd fret), middle finger on low E (3rd fret) and index finger on A (2nd fret). Do your D D D u/d/u d/u/d/u strum, then, keeping your pinky and your ring finger fixed in place, move your index finger to the E string 2nd fret, and move your middle finger to the G string 2nd fret to get to 200233. This is much easier to do than it sounds – as soon as you get used to putting your index finger on the low E 2nd fret, your middle finger kind of looks for a home and is pulled towards the correct place anyway. Just practice it a few times and you'll get it, I am sure. Play the same strum on the D* as you did on the G – D D D u/d/u d/u/d/u. You then need to go to the Em7 shape – 022033. Simple! Just leave your pinky and ring finger where they are, and flip your other two fingers into a normal Em shape. Again, play the same strum.

Finally you need to get to your C shape x32033. And again its really easy, leave your pinky and ring finger where they are and just get used to moving your other 2 fingers into the C shape on the D and A strings, I use my middle finger on the A string and my first finger on the D string. Once again, use the same strum as previously. One little tip here is to lightly touch the low E string with the finger you are fretting the A string with – it will mute that low E string and make sure you don't get any unwanted noise from it.
Ok so let's recap where we are and also plan out the first verse so you can see how it fits together so far…don't forget ALL chords are held for a count of four throughout the verses.

Intro
G / D* / Em7 / C
G D* Em7 C
My life is brilliant…

G D*
My life is brilliant, my love is pure,
Em7 C
I saw an angel…., of that I'm sure, she sm….
G D*
..iled at me on the subway, she was with another man, but
Em7 C
I won't lose no sleep on that ‘cos I've got a plan

So just to run through this, you play the progression once, each chord getting a full count of 4 and with your full strum throughout of D D D udu dudu. You then play it again, just singing “my life is brilliant” on the G. No other singing. Then you go into the first verse “proper” as I have written it.

All the verses follow this pattern so its worth spending some time getting this right.

Right, now we move into the chorus section. This is a little different from the verse in that you are holding some chords for 2 beats instead of 4…and there is one bar that's 2/4 time where you are just holding the chord for 1 beat. I have put the number of beats you have to hold the chord for after the chord names. Try and keep the strumming pattern going! Let's have a look and then run through it afterwards….
Em (2) D* (2) G (4)
You're beaut-iful,you're beautiful ,
Em (2) D* (2) G (4) Em7 (2)
you're beaut-iful its true……I saw
D* (2) G (1) D* (1)Em7 (4)
Your face, in a crow- ded place……
C (2) Dsus4 (2) Em7 (2)
...and I don't know what to do……
D* (2) C (2) Dsus4 (2)
cos I'll never be with u
G (4) D* (4) Em7 (4) C (4)
Yes she….
(to second verse)

Now then, this all looks a bit daunting, but as the song is not fast paced, you should be able to find enough time for all these chord changes! And when you get it right, you will rightly feel like you have cracked this song, as the rest is a piece of cake! The only really tricky part is the G and D* that you are staying on for 1 beat – really all this is doing is giving you a descending bass line on the low E again, going 3 – 2 – 0. So if all else fails, just play that on the low E string and you'll be fine!!!!

Timing is everything on the chorus section. I strongly suggest you get a metronome out and play it through slowly at first until you are comfortable with it.

Ok so we have covered the verse, and the chorus. The only bit remaining is the bridge section where he sings “la la la la la” (must have taken ages to think of those lyrics….)

The bridge is based around the C chord, changeiing from x32033 to x32233 half way through each bar – in other words you hold each chord for a count of two. I found the easiest way to play the x32233 is to “flatten” your index finger so that it covers both the G and D strings – see what you think. Anyway the bridge follows the second chorus, so here's the end of the chorus going into the bridge – note that ALL chords in the bridge, even the A7sus4 and the D*, are held just for 2 beats each.
D* (2) C (2)Dsus4 (2) G (4)
cos I'll never be with u
C C*
La la la – la
C C*
La la la - la
C C* A7sus4 D*
La la la la – la
(then return to chorus again).

And that, my friends, is pretty much it. There is a slight change in the outro but I have tabbed that out for you fully at the end of all this text. However one last thing to cover, as promised the little motif that is heard at various intervals throughout the song, particularly in the intro. Here it is – note it starts on the C in the intro, not on the first chord!

C G D*
e|--------------|---------------|-------------|
b|--------4-3-4-|-4------4-3-4--|-6----4-3-4--|
g|------0-------|------0--------|-------------|
d|--------------|---------------|-------------|
a|--------------|---------------|-------------|
Em7
e|--------------|
b|--------------|
g|--------0--1--|
d|--------------|
a|--------------|

Ok so that just about wraps it up, here's the whole thing put together for you, I do hope some of you give this a go and let me know how you get on!

As usual, all the best and enjoy your strumming in 2006
Matt

JAMES BLUNT
YOU'RE BEAUTIFUL
Capo on 8th fret
Play intro
G D* Em7 C

G D* Em7 C
My life is brilliant.
G
My life is brilliant.
D*
My love is pure.
Em7
I saw an angel.
C
Of that I'm sure.
G
She smiled at me on the subway.
D*
She was with another man.
Em7
But I won't lose no sleep on that,
C
'Cause I've got a plan.

Em7 D* G
You're beauti-ful, You're beautiful.
Em7 D* G
You're beauti-ful, it's true.
Em7 D* G D* Em7
I saw your face in a crow-ded place,
C Dsus4 Em7 D*
And I don't know what to do,
C Dsus4
'Cause I'll never be with you.

G D* Em7 C
Yes she..
G
caught my eye,
D*
As I walked on by.
Em7
She could see from my face that I was,
C
Flying high, (note original he says “f***ick”)
G
And I don't think that I'll
D*
see her again, but
Em7
we shared a moment that will
C
last till the end.

Em7 D* G
You're beauti-ful, You're beautiful.
Em7 D* G
You're beauti-ful, it's true.
Em7 D* G D* Em7
I saw your face in a crow-ded place,
C Dsus4 Em7 D*
And I don't know what to do,
C Dsus4 G
'Cause I'll never be with you.

C C*
La la la – la
C C*
La la la - la
C C* A7sus4 D*
La la la la – la

Em7 D* G
You're beautiful, You're beautiful.
Em7 D* G
You're beautiful, it's true.
Em7 D*
There must be an angel with
G D* Em7 (one beat each G / D*)
a smile on her face,
C Dsus4 (2 beats each)
When she thought up that I should be with you.

G / D* / Em7 Em7 (one beat each G and D*)
Hold Em7 for two full bars

C Dsus4 Em7
But it's time to face the truth,
C Dsus4 G
I will never be with you

End on single strum of G chord


   
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(@cornell-finch)
Active Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 8
 

Matt

Let me be the first to say thanks for your hard work on this!

It's one of my favourite songs at the moment and I'm really looking forward to trying it. :)

The capo on the 8th does look "high" (hehe!), but I have seen him play it live too (with Jools Holland I believe) and you're spot on.

All the best for 2006

Collin


   
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(@fingersnfumbs)
Eminent Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 40
 

Another excellent and comprehensive lesson, thanks for the input.

Struggling with the capo on 8 though, lots of very dull sounding chords.


   
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(@mattguitar_1567859575)
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Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 879
Topic starter  

A suggestion.

First off - dull sounding chords might be because you aren't getting the high E and B strings to ring out - check that these strings are ringing clearly by picking them individually.

You might also want to check the tuning - some guitar's intonation go a bit "off" when capoed this high up the neck. I tend to put the capo on, then check each string with a chromatic tuner - if they are out, take the capo off, retune a bit, capo back on, recheck

The chords should sound really bright.

all the best

Matt


   
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 klim
(@klim)
Reputable Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 269
 

Love this song, my Daughter was the one that told me who it was. It's a pretty big hit here in Vancouver as well.

Thanks, Mattguitar for the post, it's awsome.


   
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(@onion_dav)
Eminent Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 27
 

thanx matt for all your work on this song. when i get home from work i'll give it a try.

and if you like james blunt you might like stephen frewell. check him out if you dont already know him. amazing singer/songwriter.

'i want that one...'


   
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(@crash1117)
Eminent Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 20
 

Awesome job Matt! I hope you have it in you to keep giving these great lessons.


   
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(@mattguitar_1567859575)
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Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 879
Topic starter  

thanks for your comments people, they are appreciated

I am sure I can manage a few more, its more a case of finding songs that stimulate me to do them.

all the best and thanks again

Matt


   
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(@bennett)
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Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 297
 

Well, the wife bought the album today and insisted it be played in the car on the way home from work. So in goes the CD and around comes "You're Beautiful". At which point the wife says, "You can play that can't you? It's easy enough isn't it?". To which I reply, "Err ... yes, dear." :P

So after listening to this song a bit more (have heard it quite a bit on the telly prior but not really given it any attention) I find myself drawn to it and compelled to learn it. Thankfully a search revealed that the one and only mattguitar had a lesson on it!

So I just wanna say THANKS Matt! You're doing an awesome job with these lessons! I certainly hope you can continue to find the time, energy and motivation to continue providing these lessons! 8)

As for the song itself, I've just started it tonight but I can already recognise the tune. Of course, my ring finger and pinky are copping a hiding, but I reckon they've been in need of one anyway. :P

Surprisingly too, I'm managing to fit my ring finger and pinky into that 11th fret ... somehow. The main chord I have problems with atm is actually the Em7. Trying to get my middle and index fingers into the 10th fret is proving to be a challenge.

Anyhoo, am going to continue with it as I'm sure it'll fall into place.

Many thanks again Matt! :)

From little things big things grow - Paul Kelly


   
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(@mattguitar_1567859575)
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Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 879
Topic starter  

cheers Bennett, very kind comments.

you might try just using your index finger and flatening it to grab the A and D strings, just a thought.

all the best

Matt


   
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(@bennett)
Reputable Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 297
 

you might try just using your index finger and flatening it to grab the A and D strings, just a thought.

Thanks for the suggestion matt. I'll give that a burl tonight. :)

From little things big things grow - Paul Kelly


   
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(@esrona)
Eminent Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 15
 

May i be BOLD and offer what i believe is the correct strumming pattern for this song?

1eae2eae3eae4eae1eae2. etc etc

D. . .D . . udud . .uduD . . .D. etc etc.

My guitarteacher showed me a different chord shape , i'll try to explain:
eadgbe
-32-13
32--13
--2213
--3213

I am not trying to outsmart Matt, i love his postings, this is just an other way the song could be played and i hope you'll give it a try and let me know what you think(BTW i capo on the 3th, can't sing like James can :( ).
I have the album and James uses this strumpatern in 5 or 6 of the 10 songs, guess he really likes it :D
Thanks for listing
Ron


   
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(@mattguitar_1567859575)
Noble Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 879
Topic starter  

No worries Ron. Like i always say, this is how i play it, not necessarily how the artist plays it.

As for the chords, well i am 100% sure the ones i have given are what Blunt plays (in fact I know it is but for copyright reasons i won't expand on that.... :wink: )

But again there's more than one way to skin a cat, so any imput certainly won't be critisised by me. That's how we all learn.

all the best

Matt


   
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(@nolongerme)
Honorable Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 475
 

Great job on a Awesome song! I love it!


   
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(@matteo)
Honorable Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 557
 

Hi, seeing that there are some request regarding strummin pattern of this song I just wish to add my 2 cents for what they're worth. I listened to the song on the radio and even if I have not tried it on the guitar (by the way I do not have either the capo or the recording of the song), what is clear is that the song involves a lot of sixteen notes, so it can be played with patterns based on sixteen notes like

dd /ddu /dd /ddu (for each measure, every beat is divided by a slash)

by a quick listening I guess there is a bit of syncopation too in the seocnd half of the measure, so the song should work better with a pattern like

dd/ddu/ud/ddu

or

dd/ddu/uu/dudu

In any case until you play it steady at the right speed and change the chords properly the song should be highly recognizable by everyone

Cheers to everyone and and big hello to Matt for the always oustanding work: I promise you that I will definitely buy a capo and try some of the numbers you posted 'cause your lessons are so informative that would be a pity not to use them!


   
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