Adele is a pop superstar! Having won Grammy awards, topped the US charts for a record breaking 21 weeks, and been the star of the James Bond soundtrack Skyfall, she has recently released her latest smash hit single entitled Hello. Although a fairly simple song it boasts a beautiful melody and catchy lyrics that have already made it a huge hit. All the examples in today’s Adele Hello guitar lesson use a capo at the first fret!
Example 1 – Adele Hello Verse Chord Progression Strummed
The easiest way to play the Adele Hello chord progression is using a capo at the 1st fret, as it takes away the need for any barre chords. The verse progression uses a classic four chord pop progression using the chords of Em, G, D, and C. Be sure to watch the video to see and hear where to apply this change within each bar.
Example 2 – Adele Hello Verse Chord Progression Fingerpicked
Example two is very similar to example one except it uses fingerpicking instead of strumming the chords using a pick (plectrum). This pattern works very well as the main accompaniment to Adele’s voice as it replicates the original piano part very closely.
Example 3 – Adele Hello Pre Chorus Chord Progression Strummed
I have arranged the pre-chorus to include some lovely open chord voicings. The chords use here are Em, D/F#, Bm, C then Em, D, C. The D/F# acts as a lovely passing chord to the Bm, if you are having difficulty playing this shape playing a normal D shape will also sound brilliant. I chose to play the Bm as a non barre-chord shape to keep all the chords in this piece open for continuity, but if you are comfortable with barre chord shapes feel free to include them.
Example 4 – Adele Hello Pre Chorus Chord Progression Strummed
Example four fingerpicks the Adele Hello guitar chords in the pre-chorus to provide a continuation of example two. You can mix and match strumming or fingerpicking, but fingerpicking throughout the verse and pre-chorus works especially well.
Example 5 – Adele Hello Chorus Chord Progression Strummed
The chorus uses the same four chords seen in the verse, just in a different order, Em, C, G and D. This progression is one of the most popular chord progressions in pop history so is a very useful pattern to have underneath your fingers.
Example six uses the simple chorus chord pattern but once again fingerpicks through each chord. Being competent at both strumming and fingerpicking will mean that you can create interesting rhythm guitar parts no matter how simple the progression.
I decided to create a slightly more complex chorus fingerpicking pattern for all those looking for a bit more of a challenge. The notation/tab shows x’s for where I gently tap the strings with my picking hand. Watch out for the hammer-ons in the C and D chords. Take this one very slowly at first, and be sure to follow closely along to the slowed down version in the YouTube video.
Subscribe on Youtube
Make sure you log on and subscribe to our new YouTube Channel, dedicated to bringing you the finest free guitar lessons.
Guitar Lesson Video Transcription
Hey YouTube, Simon here once again for Fundamental Changes. Today, after a request, we’re going to look at Adele’s smash hit Hello and how to play that on the guitar. Let’s go and have a look at the parts of that track, just after this.
Okay, we’re going to check out Adele’s Hello. Now, on the Internet and around the place, there’s many, many different ways to play this track. I’m going to show you the way I teach it to my students in a way that I think you’ll find quite accessible. The one main requirement today is that you will need a capo for this lesson. We’re going to put a capo at the 1st fret here. The main reason is so that you don’t have to play bar chords throughout this whole tune, which doesn’t really complement her vocal perfectly. It can sound okay, but today we’re going to use a capo. I personally use Kyser capos. That’s not a promotion; I just think they’re fantastic. I don’t recommend really cheap capos, but if you have a look at the article you can see some of my recommendations for that.
There are 3 main sections to this tune: the intro/verse, pre-chorus, and chorus. They mainly revolve around the 4 chords of E minor, C, G, and D. Once again, these chords are with the capo at the first fret, so you might see them referred to as A minor, F flat, and things like that, that’s if you’re playing it with normal bar chords. We are in the key of F minor here, but we’re going to refer to these chords as open chords. So, let’s have a look at our verse pattern, played 2 ways. One is with a gentle strumming pattern, and then the other way with a gentle fingerpicking pattern.
There was our little intro/verse pattern. This uses the chords of E minor, G, D, and C. E minor, G, D, and C, round and round and round and round. If you’re not familiar with how to play those shapes, make sure you check out the chord diagrams and the tab in the article linked below. The difficult bit that we see in this part of the track is where the chords place themselves in the bar. You might have found that it’s quite difficult where to strum. What happens is you’re going to go 1, and 2, and 3, and 4, and 1, and 2, and 3, and 4, and. You’re going to do a down strum – they’re all down strums, they’re all 1 strum for each of these chords – but you’re going to change on what we call the “and” of 2. 1, and 2, and 3, and 4 and, that pattern is the same for the D and the C. 1, and 2, and 3, and 4, just lightly strum there, nothing too specific. If you want to try out the fingerpicked version – what you saw there on the video just before – You’re going to be picking mainly strings 6, 4, 3, and 2 for the E minor and the G, and then the D and the C I’m picking for the D 4, 3 and 2 altogether, and then the C I’m picking 5, 4, 3, and 2. What you’re going to do is you’re going to put your thumb, and then your 3 fingers (your index, middle, and ring, or your 1st, 2nd, and 3rd fingers), and you’re going to pluck up towards your thumb in that motion there, and that will just loop round and round and round and round through the intro and the verse. Let’s have a look at the pre-chorus that I’ve arranged for this track next.
There’s a lot of debate online on how to play this pre-chorus. I’m going to give you my version that works really well with acoustic. Obviously you can play it on electric as well. The chords in this pre-chorus are E minor, D over F sharp (we’ll talk a little bit about that in a second), B minor played as a 3-note version, C, E minor, D, C. Once again, E minor, D over F sharp, B minor 3-note, C, E minor, D, C. Once again, if you’ve not come across most of these chords, check out the article below. The D over F sharp is what we call a slash chord, or a passing chord, and it’s bringing you on to the next chord. Don’t worry too much about that today. We’re going to have the 2nd fret of the 6th string – remember I’m naming it above the capo now, so it’s like the 3rd fret but we name it from the capo – nothing on the 5th, open on the 4th string, 2nd fret of the 3rd string, and 3rd fret of the 2nd string. It’s basically a D chord, but you’ve put this new note in the base here, this F sharp root note. Really sweet chord, it’s passing between 2 chords. Then we’ve got a 3-note B minor.
Now, some of you may be able to play a B minor in a bar chord shape which would be the 2nd fret (again, 3rd fret, but we name it above the capo), with an A minor bar chord on there. You can use this chord where I’ve notated B minor if you wish, but for those of you that are struggling with bar chords, it works really nicely as a little 3-note idea, which is identical to your D over F sharp, but we’ve now got your index finger on the 5th string. That ends up with nothing on the 6th, 2nd fret of the 5th, open, 2, 3, gives a nice little chord there. Then you’re into your C. That’s really nice pattern. Again, you can strum it, or you can fingerpick it. Now, what’s really useful with this is to use vocal cues as to know where pre chorus comes in. the first pre chorus is where she sings “Before the world fell at our feet..” the next bar after that is where you play all these chords. If you get that in your mind you’ll know exactly where to go from your 1st pattern that we looked at, E minor, G, D, C, into this new one before the chorus, this pre-chorus.
In the 2nd pre-chorus, she says the phrase “That town where nothing ever happened?” Use that as your little cue. This is a really useful technique to use in any song as well. Listen to the vocalist when you’re working on your part, and go “Ah, that’s the line before I need to change”, especially when you’re working on a song that loops the same kind of chords round and round and round. You can get almost in a trance and not know where you are. Those are the 2 cues there: “Before the world fell off at our feet” (pre-chorus 1), and “That town where nothing ever happened?” (pre-chorus 2). Let’s look at the chorus chords.
The chorus chords uses a very, very classic pattern. We’ve got E minor, C, G, and D. You can tell that it’s the same 4 chords we used in our intro and our verse, just in a different pop-y pattern. Once again, you’ve got a very similar rhythm to what you saw in the verse, just applied to these 4 chords. You can work on adding in some strums, you can work on adding in some strums between those – just single strums, or you can try using the slightly more complicated fingerpicking pattern that you saw me do at the end of the examples there. That will take a little bit more time to get used to. Follow the tab along; see how to approach that when you see that in the slow motion. With some little hammer-ons and stuff on the C and the D, those work really, really nicely over this tune as well. Today I want to give you the framework to all of these chords, then go away, listen to the song, make sure the changes are on those things that we talked about, on the AND and TO, and you can fill in the gaps with some strums. Make sure you’ve got the basic pulse right.
To recap, today we’ve got our verse E minor, G, D, and C, nice little progression. Again you can fingerpick it or strum it wherever you like. Our pre-chorus – the little arrangement that I’ve done is E minor, D over F sharp (sweet sound), 3-finger B minor – just moving that 1 note from the D over F sharp, C, E minor, D, and then the C is held for a full bar leading into the Hello chorus. The chorus itself: E minor, C, G, and D. Obviously the backing to this track on the piano is very sparse, but you can make it as busy or as sparse as you like. Keep into these chord progressions.
Hopefully using those vocal cues on the pre chorus will give you a new technique to learn. Hopefully you can apply some of this from the tab as well. I really hope you got something from this lesson. I’m sure it’ll be one you can play to people for a long time. The melody’s fantastic, and I really,really like this pop track. Take care, speak to you soon.
Hi everyone, so I hope you got something from learning this Adele track. Make sure you go and have a look at the article and the tab below, in the comments section of this video. Check out Joseph’s website fundamental-changes.com, and have a look at my new book Exotic Pentatonic Soloing, also in the links section below. Take care, see you soon for more videos.
“The artists you work with, and the quality of your work speaks for itself.”