There are, literally, millions if not hundreds of millions of people who at one point in time are beginners at musical instruments, say, like the guitar. I guess the upshot of all this, big surprise, is that some things a beginner goes through are going to be harder than others. And that bring us to this Guitar Noise song lesson, Hey There Delilah by the Plain White T’s.
This might be a good time to mention that another reason this song is a good exercise is that the rhythm is constant throughout. Hey There Delilah starts out with a short introduction and then has a fairly standard song structure of verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, final verse and chorus. And, as you can hear in the first MP3 file, it sounds fine whether you use your fingers or a pick.
Speaking of fingering, this simple progression might prove to be one of the more challenging parts of this song for some of you. I really want to stress that even though this progression may seem hard at first, you will get it with practice, persistence and patience. The second section of the verse is four measures long and moves from Bm to G to A, and then back to Bm and A again. The bridge of Hey There Delilah is an excellent example of the sort of simple bass lines you add to almost any song in the key of D major or B minor. I’m beginning to wonder if I should have made the mini-barre itself the focal point of the lesson!
The songs are usually, in fact, delivery vehicles for the use of music theory or various guitar techniques that you are encouraged to use in all your playing.


As a song lesson, this tune gives us a chance to develop some picking techniques that will be very helpful to beginners whether they use fingers or picks. Their infectious punk-pop roots formed while the band was still playing cover songs in suburban basements. Every measure, with one or two exceptions, will be filled with eight eighth notes that alternate between a bass note and a partial chord using just the G and B strings. Wrapping your thumb around to get the F# bass note at the second fret of the low E (sixth) string is probably the easiest way for most folks to get this. The good news here, because of this particular picking pattern, is that we don’t have to deal with any type of barring in regard to the Bm chord. Of course, you’ll hear me make the mistake of playing the rest of the chord anyway on one of the MP3 files.
Plus, it gives you a nice quiet moment in order to get your fingers set for the two upcoming Bm chords. Fret the D note (third fret of the B string) with your middle finger and play the A (second fret of the G string) with your index. There is a bit to digest here and some of it is going to require some work and patience, not to mention practice! And some that may seem beyond one’s grasp may come fairly quickly with a little bit of (gasp!) practice and work. This way you won’t have to move very much to make the change between these two chords. When you hit the open A string, reposition your index finger to play the B note in the bass (second fret of the A string) and also get your pinky set to play the B note on the fourth fret of the G string.


Be sure to notice that both the last A and A5 get a full four beats each instead the two they had in the previous verses.
But these are the sort of techniques and little touches that you’re going to run into time and time again in your adventures with the guitar, so having a cheerful little pop song to work them out with isn’t all that bad of a thing, is it? Others will take a single basic principle and then come up with all sorts of insights on their own. I usually use my ring finger to get the D note (third fret of the B string) on the D5 chord and then my pinky to get the F# note (fourth fret, D string) on the F#m. But going with that mini-barre on the second fret will allow you to both get the fifth fret of the B string with your pinky and still be in great shape for when you get back to the D5 that starts the second half of the verse.
This is one reason why I always encourage students to reach out and try songs and techniques that might be currently beyond their levels. Those of you with larger hands may prefer to employ your middle and ring fingers, respectively, for those tasks, but since this progression lasts a while, I find it helps to have my middle finger help support the index finger in the barre by lying on top of it! There are certainly other ways to try this, but I think most of you will find this to be the easiest. This might be another good time to use your mini-barre, which should give your pinky ample room to get that C# note in the bass. As long as one doesn’t get frustrated in the attempt, it almost always yields positive results, although those results may be a bit down the road.




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