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Tuesday's Gone Guitar Lesson (Chords and Lead)

Today I want to share with you how to play “Tuesday’s Gone” by Lynyrd Skynyrd on guitar. This tune is a beloved classic rock ballad in the key of A major. In this post, we’ll dive into the origins of the song, the chord progressions, strumming patterns in a 6/8 time signature, and even some music theory. 

So make sure you’re in tune, and let’s dive into this “Tuesday’s Gone” guitar lesson!

Who wrote Tuesday’s Gone?

"Tuesday's Gone" was written by Ronnie Van Zant and Allen Collins. Ronnie Van Zant, the lead vocalist of Lynyrd Skynyrd, was known for his songwriting skills and contributed significantly to the band's repertoire. 

Allen Collins, the guitarist of Lynyrd Skynyrd, collaborated with Van Zant on many of their songs, including "Tuesday's Gone." Together, Van Zant and Collins created the heartfelt lyrics and bluesy melodies that have made the song a beloved classic.

What key is Tuesday’s Gone in?

“Tuesday's Gone” is in the key of A Major. The chords for the song are A, E, F#m, D, and G. Let’s take a look at how these chords connect and are commonly used in the key of A.

  • A Major (A): The A major chord is the tonic chord, or the "home" chord, of the key of A major. It consists of the notes A, C#, and E. As the tonic chord, This chord provides a stable and resolved sound, often used to establish the key and provide a sense of resolution.
  • E Major (E): The E major chord is the dominant chord in the key of A major. It consists of the notes E, G#, and B. The dominant chord creates tension and a sense of forward motion, typically leading back to the tonic chord (A major). In the key of A major, the E major chord adds a bright and energetic quality.
  • F# Minor (F#m): The F# minor chord is the relative minor chord of A major. It consists of the notes F#, A, and C#. Relative minor chords share the same key signature as their relative major chords. In the key of A major, F# minor provides a melancholic and introspective sound. It serves as a contrasting chord to the major chords in the progression.
  • D Major (D): The D major chord is the subdominant chord in the key of A major. It consists of the notes D, F#, and A. The subdominant chord adds a sense of stability and acts as a bridge between the tonic (A major) and dominant (E major) chords. It creates a pleasant harmonic variation within the key.
  • G Major (G): The G major chord is the only chord that is not in the key of A major. This chord comes in in the chorus of the song and adds a bluesy flavor. It consists of the notes G, B, and D. The G major chord creates additional tension.

In summary, these chords (A, E, F#m, D, and G) are commonly used in the key of A major. They provide a solid foundation for creating melodies and harmonies in the key of A major.

Tuesday's Gone Guitar Chords

You only need 5 chords to play “Tuesday’s Gone” on guitar. Those chords are A, E, F#m, D, and G.

All of these chords (except for F#m) can be played as open-position chords. F#m is the only bar chord. 

Here’s how I would play each chord shape.

For A, I would play from the 5th string down like this:

For E, I would switch to using all 6 strings like this:

F#m is going to be played as a bar chord in the 2nd position like this:

Quick tip: If barring is too hard, try playing just the top 3 strings for an easier version.

D is played from the 4th string down like this:

And finally, G can be played with a standard 4-finger G shape like this:

Keep in mind I often play this G chord by removing the index finger played on the 5th string. You can see this demonstrated in the video above. But any G chord will work here.

Intro/Verse

Now that you have the correct chords for the song. Let’s next talk about the chord progression for the Intro and the Verse sections of “Tuesday’s Gone”.

The Intro and Verse sections follow the same chord progression. This progression is 8-bars long. You also want to know that “Tuesday’s Gone” is in a 6/8 time signature. This means that in each bar we are going to count 6 beats like this:

1 2 3 4 5 6

To start I would recommend playing the progression just once per bar and counting to 6 out loud. 

Also when I count in a 6/8 time signature, I’ll often put a little accent on beats 1 and 4 in each bar like this:

1 2 3 4 5 6 

This helps establish that waltzing feel that you hear on the original recording.

The first 4 bars of the chord progression for the Intro and Verse goes like this: 

A (1 bar)

E (1 bar)

F#m (1 bar)

D (1 bar)

Note how there is one chord per bar. So again, each chord here is getting 6 beats or 6 counts. The next 4 bars start off the same way but then take a different ending. This time it ends with 2 bars of D like this: 

A (1 bar)

E (1 bar)

D (2 bars)

So altogether the 8-bar progression goes like this: 

A (1 bar)

E (1 bar)

F#m (1 bar)

D (1 bar)

A (1 bar)

E (1 bar)

D (2 bars)

Strumming Pattern for the Verse

As mentioned above, “Tuesday’s Gone” is in a 6/8 time signature. When I strum the Verse section I like to play an all-eighth-note pattern. I do this by strumming 6 downstrums in each measure. I also add a slight accent on beats 1 and 4.

As I play I am counting out loud with every strum like this:

1 2 3 4 5 6

DDDDDD

Here’s what this strumming pattern would look like on the A chord: 

 

Chorus

After the Intro and Verse, the next section you’ll want to know is the chorus. The chorus is also an 8-bar chord progression. Here we will bring in that final chord G major. As mentioned above, G is not in the key of A major. But it does add a nice bluesy tension over the word “gone” in “Tuesday’s Gone”. The first 4 bars go like this:

A (1 bar)

G (1 bar)

D (2 bars)

Then the next 4 bars actually mirror the last 4 bars of the Verse.

A (1 Bar)

E (1 bar)

D (2 bars)

So altogether you have:

A (1 bar)

G (1 bar)

D (2 bars)

A (1 Bar)

E (1 bar)

D (2 bars)

Chorus Strumming Pattern

When I get to the Chorus I like to change the strumming pattern to a slightly busier pattern. Here I play a combination of eighth notes and sixteenth notes that goes like this:

The pattern starts the same way as before. But on beat 2 I switch to sixteenth notes and start using an alternating strum like this: 

1 2 + 3 +  4  5 + 6 +

D DUDU   D DUDU 

Conclusion:

"Tuesday's Gone" by Lynyrd Skynyrd is a timeless classic that showcases the songwriting talents of Ronnie Van Zant and Allen Collins. Written in the key of A major, the song pulls in listeners with its heartfelt lyrics and memorable chord progressions.  

Remember to take your time working out the various sections of the song from the chords to the strumming patterns to the lead parts. And when you’re ready try to play the parts along with the recording. Happy Playing! And for another fun Lynyrd Skynyrd guitar lesson check out “Call Me The Breeze” next!

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