Guitar lesson for
Stand By Me
by Ben E. King • Lesson #308
Get the sheet music(2 pages)
- A properly licensed, print-friendly arrangement is available for individual purchase at Musicnotes.com
- This sheet music was designed & hand-crafted by me (David Potsiadlo) with care, providing you with everything needed to both learn and play this song.
- On the fence? Here's a video guide I made showing the purchase & print process.
Patreon supporters: click here to get the 50% off discount code on this purchase
Hey friends! Here’s a lesson showing you how to play the Ben E. King classic “Stand By Me” with an acoustic guitar, no capo, key of C. Notably, I’m deviating from the “official” key of this song (Key of A) in order to prioritize an “easy to play & sounds just like the song” arrangement, which I trust you’ll find helpful. I break the lesson into two halves: (1) learning the intro, and then (2) learning how to strum the verse & chorus sections. Here’s timestamps for my video lesson:
- 0:00 Lesson overview
- 2:10 Intro riff: the basics
- 9:13 Intro riff: adding percussion
- 16:02 Verse & chorus strumming
- 23:46 Full playthrough
I hope you enjoy!
Notes on capo and “key”
Ben E. King’s version of this song is in the Key of A. Most guitar lessons show you how to play it in the key of G, using capo on 2nd fret. I don’t care for either of these options, when playing solo acoustic guitar. Why? Neither allows you to play the full bass line tab, due to the guitar “not going low enough” with regard to available bass notes. As such, I like to play it in the Key of C, which is what I do in my lesson.
If you do want to use the key of C and play along with Ben E. King’s version, slap a capo on the 9th fret.
Get my lessons in your inbox!
Every couple weeks I send out an email newsletter with links to whatever new lessons I've made. Sign up here and stay in the loop!
Enjoy my lessons? Buy me a beer!
If this and my other lessons have proven helpful to you, please consider making a one-time donation to my tip jar. Contributions of any amount help make this project possible (including the many, many hours I put into it).
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:
📝 My "song" PDFs are now individually purcasheable! I've arranged a licensing agreement with Musicnotes, a service that lets you buy my sheet music arrangements. Patreon supporters get 50% off each purchase. Learn more here »
June 22, 2022
A beginner's guide to using GarageBand's Beat Sequencer tool to create custom drum beats! Even if you're a total novice when it comes to drumming (like me), I'll walk you through the basic steps to create rich-sounding drum tracks to play over while practicing or performing.
May 27, 2022
A few years after learning American Girl the way Tom Petty plays it, I returned to it — this time determined to work out a low-key, easy-going fingerstyle arrangement. Here's how it went!
May 22, 2022
As part of my Learning Lead Guitar series, I share a realization I recently had showing different ways to fill out melody lines using triads, double-stops, and harmonized sixths.
May 19, 2022
I answer an audience question about how to go about learning a song (with a tricky riff) for a peformance at a family wedding.
May 12, 2022
After many requests from y'all, I finally created this list of all my beginner-friendly song lessons! These are grouped by key, allowing you to take the chord shapes you already know and find other songs using those same shapes.
May 4, 2022
Two easier ways to play B-minor, using open chord voicings — super helpful to have these in your toolkit. Includes different practice riffs to accompany each chord voicing.
Browse my all lessons
By lesson type
- Full Song Lessons
- Beginner Songs
- Backing Tracks
- Play-Along Covers
- Warm-Up Exercises
- Tips & Techniques
By song decade
By musical genre
By guitar technique
By musical key
By popular artist
- Johnny Cash
- Tyler Childers
- Tom Petty
- Neil Young
- Lynyrd Skynyrd
- Willie Nelson
- John Denver
- Guns N' Roses