You Really Got Me

Animated You Really Got Me tab by The Kinks on guitar. So easy you'll be playing in minutes.

The well known riffs in this famous song use the E shape barre chord, and A shape barre chord to cycle through simple, but fast chord changes. The song isn't difficult with practice, just take your time with learning the chords and work on speed later. The solo is a different matter, it's full of energy and pretty fast. Don't worry about attempting it yet if you are new to guitar. The difficulty rating for this song is slightly higher just because of the solo.

The song starts with powerchords (F5 and G5) using the E powerchord shape. After repeating the simple F5 - G5 - G5 - F5 - G5 sequence 4 times, change to using barre chords instead - as shown in the ActionTab. These are trickier to do, so make sure you've watched the lessons on barres in the Core Skills section. Notice muting (dots containing M) is also used to stop the chords sounding out - use both hands to make sure you get a complete 'dead stop' (see videos on muting / palm muting in the Core Skills section if you haven't already).

Of course, you can just use powerchords to play out the rest of the song too - powerchords have one note less than the barre chords, and are much easier to play. However, if you do that, we recommend you give the barres a shot once you've got the rhythm right with powerchords, as being able to play barre chords is important!

After the powerchord intro, use the E shape Barre Chord to play between F major (1st finger on 1st fret) and G major (1st finger on 3rd fret) for the first verses of the song. Continue playing the same F - G - G - F - G sequence as the intro - except now you are strumming 4 strings instead of 3. This means the Chords are now F major and G major (barres), not standard F5 and G5 (powerchords).

Simply move the barres up by 2 frets for the next verse - to play between G major and A major: G - A - A - G - A (in exactly the same rhythm style as previously). This is the beauty of barre chords and powerchords - you can quickly shift between chords by using just one chord shape. So, for a fast rhythm like this, barres / powerchords are perfect.

The next time the chords change to C major and D major (C - D - D - C - D). Now we could play this up at the 8th and 10th frets still using the E shape barre, but instead we move across the strings to use the A major Barre chord shape. That's how it's done in the song, and once you are used to switching between the E and A barre shapes, you'll find it is quicker too. That's because you just move across the strings to play between the 3rd and 5th frets (where we've already been playing the G and A), rather than move more frets up the neck, just for the sake of staying with the E barre shape.

Notice that the A barre shape involves a lot of dots. That doesn't mean it's much harder to do - it just means that you need to mute the strings in order to eliminate any unwanted notes. Check out the Core Skills section on Muting if you're lost!

Be aware that a few times there are fast muted chord strikes between chord changes and occasionally a chord is 'dropped' in order to do the rhythmic strikes. Also, there are a few full Barre chord strums. In other words, we fret an E barre chord shape and strum all 6 strings. Just make sure you apply a lot of pressure with all your fingers on the notes to get a good clean strike with no muffled notes. Keep the pressure on the strings until they die out before moving to the next chord.

The song simply cycles through the chords we've already explained here, and with some practice you should be able to work your way through the entire song in no time. It's worth learning, as you'll find that most people know this song - it's very good for parties :)

For the solo, keep your 1st finger over the 3rd fret and your 3rd finger over the 5th fret. Most of the solo is played out using these two fingers. Switching between the bends and fretted notes on adjacent strings is tricky at speed, but if you try it out slowed down and work at it in little chunks, you'll get it. The scale he's using here is the G pentatonic minor scale - just using an E pentatonic minor scale moved up by 3 frets gives us the G pentatonic minor scale (scales shift just like barre chords). The solo is played with a lot of energy, and won't be easy to pull off without doing the same. You need to attack the strings and yet play with a slight bluesy edge to get it true to the song.

This song is also good for looping and practicing your own solos / riffs with because of the solid background chords and simple changes. Once you've got it right slowed down, try playing along with the normal speed audio - and then try experimenting with your own ideas along with it!

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