Guitar lesson for

Wildflowers

by Tom Petty  •  Lesson #232

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Editor’s notes

In this lesson I’ll teach you how to play Wildflowers by Tom Petty, from his 1994 album of the same name. I’ll be using a capo on the 5th fret (which enables you to sound just like the recorded album version), and I’ll carefully explain the chord shapes, hammer-ons and strumming for the verse and bridge sections.

Lesson timestamps:

Lyrics and chords

Capo 5

INTRO
    E ––3–––––––––––––––3–––––––––––––––3–––––––––––––––3––––––––––––––––
    B ––1–––––––––––––––1–––––––––––––––0–––––––––––––––1––––––––––––––––
    G ––0h2–––––––––––––0–––––––––––––––0–––––––––––––––0––––––––––––––––
    D ––3–––––––––––––––0h2–––––––––––––0–––––––––––––––0h2––––––––––––––
    A ––––––––––––––––––3–––––––––––––––2–––––––––––––––3––––––––––––––––
    E ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––3––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
        Fadd9           C               G               C
        v  v      ^ v ^ v  v      ^ v ^ v  v      ^ v ^ v  v      ^ v ^
        1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +

VERSE
    Fadd9     C     G            C
    ...You belong among the wildflowers
    Fadd9     C        G            C
    ...You belong in a boat out at sea
    Fadd9     C    G            C
    ...Sail away, kill off the hours
    Fadd9     C       G              C        C
    ...You belong somewhere you feel free

    Fadd9    C    G          C
    ...Run away, find you a lover
    Fadd9   C         G                      (stay on G)
    ...Go away, somewhere all bright and new
    Fadd9     C    G     C
    ...I have seen no--- other
    Fadd9     C     G         C
    ...Who compa---ares with you

    (Fadd9 - C - G - C)
    You belong among the wildflowers
    You belong in a boat out at sea
    You belong with your love on your arm
    You belong somewhere you feel free

BRIDGE
    Fadd9  C  Am  D/F#  G
    Fadd9     Am        G          (play bridge 2x)

ADD'L VERSES

    (Fadd9 - C - G - C)
    Run away, go find a lover
    Run away, let your heart be your guide
    You deserve the deepest of cover
    You belong in that home by-and-by

    (Fadd9 - C - G - C)
    You belong among the wildflowers
    You belong somewhere close to me
    Far away from your trouble and worry
    You belong somewhere you feel free
    You belong somewhere you feel free

    (play bridge 2x, end on final G)

Verse chords

Here’s the basic chord shapes used for the verse:

E –––3–––3–––3––– <= left pinky on this note
B –––1–––1–––0–––     for all of these chords
G –––2–––0–––0–––
D –––3–––2–––0–––
A –––––––3–––2–––
E –––––––––––3–––
   Fadd9 C   G

Modifying the chords by removing & adding a note

E ––3–––3––                     E ––3–––3––
B ––1–––1––                     B ––1–––1––
G ––0–––2–– <= left middle      G ––0–––0––
D ––3–––3––                     D ––0–––2–– <= left middle
A –––––––––                     A ––3–––3––
E –––––––––                     E –––––––––
    Fadd9                             C

E ––3–––3––                     E ––3–––3––
B ––0–––0––                     B ––0–––1––  <= left index
G ––0–––0––                     G ––0–––0––
D ––0–––0––                     D ––0–––0––
A ––0–––2––  <= left middle     A ––2–––2––
E ––3–––3––                     E ––3–––3––
      G                               G

Bridge chords & tab

Here’s how to play the chords heard in the bridge. Don’t be scared by the D/F# - check out how easy this transition from A-minor can be. All you’re doing is moving your left middle finger. Don’t play the thinnest string for the D/F#.

E –––3––––3–––0––––x––––3–––          E ––0––––x––
B –––1––––1–––1––––1––––0–––          B ––1––––1–– <= left index
G –––2––––0–––2––––2––––0–––          G ––2––––2–– <= left ring
D –––3––––2–––2––––0––––0–––          D ––2––––0–– <= left middle (Am)
A –––––––(3)––0––––0––––2–––          A ––0––––x––
E –––––––––––––––––2––––3–––          E –––––––2–– <= left middle (D/F#)
   Fadd9  C   Am  D/F#  G                 Am  D/F#

Here’s how to play the bridge, in time. Note the strumming pattern, which changes back to the “normal” strum once you get to the G:

E ––3–––––––3–––––––0–––––––x–––––––3–––––––––––––––3–––––––––––––––
B ––1–––––––1–––––––1–––––––1–––––––0–––––––––––––––0–––––––––––––––
G ––2–––––––0–––––––2–––––––2–––––––0–––––––––––––––0–––––––––––––––
D ––3–––––––2–––––––2–––––––0–––––––0–––––––––––––––0–––––––––––––––
A ––––––––––3–––––––0–––––––x–––––––2–––––––––––––––2–––––––––––––––
E ––––––––––––––––––––––––––2–––––––3–––––––––––––––3–––––––––––––––
    Fadd9   C       Am      D/F#    G               G
    v   v ^ v   v ^ v   v ^ v   v ^ v   v     ^ v ^ v   v     ^ v ^
    1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +

E ––3–––––––––––––––0–––––––––––––––3–––––––––––––––3–––––––––––––––
B ––1–––––––––––––––1–––––––––––––––0–––––––––––––––0–––––––––––––––
G ––2–––––––––––––––2–––––––––––––––0–––––––––––––––0–––––––––––––––
D ––3–––––––––––––––2–––––––––––––––0–––––––––––––––0–––––––––––––––
A ––––––––––––––––––0–––––––––––––––2–––––––––––––––2–––––––––––––––
E ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––3–––––––––––––––3–––––––––––––––
    Fadd9           Am              G
    v   v     ^ v ^ v   v     ^ v ^ v   v     ^ v ^ v   v     ^ v ^
    1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +

Strumming

Pattern #1 – use throughout the song except for the beginning of the bridge.

1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +
D   D     U D U       "down down... up down up..."

Pattern #2 – play this 2x at the start of the bridge (for the fast walkdown), then use pattern #1.

1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +
D   D U D   D U       "DOWN down up, DOWN down up..."
>       >

Intro / verse tab

A simple way to look at it is like this, where you’re playing each chord on the “1” count (downstrum):

E ––3–––––––––––––––3–––––––––––––––3–––––––––––––––3––––––––––––––––
B ––1–––––––––––––––1–––––––––––––––0–––––––––––––––1––––––––––––––––
G ––2–––––––––––––––0–––––––––––––––0–––––––––––––––0––––––––––––––––
D ––3–––––––––––––––2–––––––––––––––0–––––––––––––––2––––––––––––––––
A ––––––––––––––––––3–––––––––––––––2–––––––––––––––3––––––––––––––––
E ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––3––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
    Fadd9           C               G               C
    1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +

From there, you can try to add the hammer-on note landing on the “+” count immediately following the “1” count. You’ll also want to add the full “D-D–UDU” strumming, as indicated by the v/^ symbols in the tab.

E ––3–––––––––––––––3–––––––––––––––3–––––––––––––––3––––––––––––––––
B ––1–––––––––––––––1–––––––––––––––0–––––––––––––––1––––––––––––––––
G ––0h2–––––––––––––0–––––––––––––––0–––––––––––––––0––––––––––––––––
D ––3–––––––––––––––0h2–––––––––––––0–––––––––––––––0h2––––––––––––––
A ––––––––––––––––––3–––––––––––––––2–––––––––––––––3––––––––––––––––
E ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––3––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
    Fadd9           C               G               C
    v   v     ^ v ^ v   v     ^ v ^ v   v     ^ v ^ v  v      ^ v ^
    1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +

One way to really make it sound like the album version is to lean in to (emphasize) the “4” count of each measure, where the preceding chord is accented once more before switching to the next chord. Listen to the album with this in mind, you’ll hear it for sure. Get good at this tab, and then add the full strumming afterwards.

E ––3–––––––––––3–––3–––––––––––3–––3–––––––––––3–––3–––––––––––3––––
B ––1–––––––––––1–––1–––––––––––1–––0–––––––––––0–––1–––––––––––1––––
G ––0h2–––––––––2–––0–––––––––––0–––0–––––––––––0–––0–––––––––––0––––
D ––3–––––––––––3–––0h2–––––––––2–––0–––––––––––0–––0h2–––––––––2––––
A ––––––––––––––––––3–––––––––––3–––2–––––––––––2–––3–––––––––––3––––
E ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––3–––––––––––3––––––––––––––––––––
    Fadd9           C               G               C
    v   v     ^ v ^ v   v     ^ v ^ v   v     ^ v ^ v  v      ^ v ^
    1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +

Good luck!

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

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