Guitar lesson for

American Girl

by Tom Petty

Video lesson

Lyrics w/ chords


    E ––10–––  <-- left pinky
    B –––x–––  <-- muted by left index finger
    G –––7–––  <-- left index finger
    D –––0–––
    A –––––––
    E –––––––

    D                    E
    ...Well, she was an American girl
    G            A
    ...Raised on promises
    D                    E
    ...She couldn't help thinking that there
          G                    A
    Was a little more to life, somewhere else

        A7                    D               
        ...After all it was a great big world
        G                         Em
        ...With lots of places to run to
        Yeah, and if she had to die... trying she
        Had one little promise she was gonna keep

            G           A
            ...Oh yeah... alright
            D                    Bm
            ...Take it easy baby... make it last all night
            G           A              D (w/ intro chord)
            ...She was... an American girl

    Well, it was kinda cold that night
    She was standing alone on her balcony
    Yeah, she could hear the cars roll by
    Out on 441, like waves crashin' on the beach

        And for one desperate moment there
        He crept back in her memory
        God, it's so painful, something that's so close
        Is still so far out of reach

            Oh yeah, alright
            Take it easy baby, make it last all night
            She was... an American girl

                G . . . A . D .     (see below for tab)
                G . . . A . D .
                G . . . A . D .
                G . . . A . . . → D

    (intro riff → verse chords with jam)

Intro chord

E ––10–––  <-- left pinky
B –––x–––  <-- muted by left index finger
G –––7–––  <-- left index finger
D –––0–––
A –––––––
E –––––––

Chords used in verse, pre-chorus, and chorus

E ––––2––––0––––3––––0––––0––––2–––––
B ––––3––––0––––0––––2––––0––––3–––––
G ––––2––––1––––0––––2––––0––––4–––––
D ––––0––––2––––0––––2––––2––––4–––––
A –––––––––2––––2––––0––––2––––2–––––
E –––––––––0––––3–––––––––0––––––––––
      D    E    G    A    Em   Bm

Walk-up and walk-down riff

"After all it was a great big world, with lots of places..."

e –––––2––2–2–2––––2––––––––3––3–3–3–––––3–3––––3–3––––0–––
B –––––3––3–3–3––––3––––––––3––3–3–3–––––3–3––––3–3––––0–––
G –––––2––2–2–2––––2––––––––0––0–0–0–––––0–0––––0–0––––0–––
D –––0–––––––––––0––––––––––0––0–0–0–––––0–0––––0–0––––2–––
A ––––––––––––––––––––––––––2––2–2–2–––––2–2––––x–x––––2–––
E ––––––––––––––––––––0–2–3––––––––––––3––––––2––––––0–––––
     D                    G                  G/F#    Em

Interlude riff

e –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
B –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
G –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––5h6h7–––
D –––––––––––––––––––x–x–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––   x3
A –––––––––––––––––––x–x–––––––––––––––––––––5–––––––––––
E –––3–––3–––3–––––––x–x–––––3h4h5–––5–––5–––––––––––––––
     G                           A           D

e –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
B –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
G –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
D –––––––––––––––––––x–x–––––––––––––––––––––x–x–––––––––   x1
A –––––––––––––––––––x–x–––––––––––––––––––––x–x–––––––––
E –––3–––3–––3–––––––x–x–––––3h4h5–––5–––5–––x–x–––––––––
     G                           A       

Good luck!

Let me know if you have questions. I hope this was helpful.

Enjoy this lesson? Buy me a beer!

If this and my other lessons have proven helpful to you, please consider donating to my tip jar. Contributions of any amount help make this project possible (including the many, many hours I put into it). Thanks!

Subscribe to my YouTube channel

Be sure to never miss a lesson by subscribing on YouTube. I put out 2-3 new videos every week. These include full song lessons, as well as covers, practice tips, behind-the-scenes updates. Thanks!

Recent video lessons:

Monthly email updates

If you want to keep posted of new lessons over email, sign up for my newsletter. I'll email once a month with a digest of all my new videos. I promise: no spam.

← back to lesson list