Acoustic Classic: George Harrison's 'Within You Without You' Arranged for Guitar

Saturday, December 23, 2017

In 2017, as part of a 50th anniversary tribute to the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, I had the golden opportunity to recreate George Harrison’s “Within You Without You” onstage. Years ago I’d studied Indian music—specifically tabla drumming—in California and in India, and singing “Within You Without You” with a full Indian ensemble and string quartet was an extraordinary experience. While learning the tune, I began experimenting to see if I could bring this haunting and complex song to life on guitar. (Harrison reportedly played guitar on the Sgt. Pepper’s track, but it’s buried deep in the mix.) This arrangement is the result.

Like the Indian traditions it’s based on, “Within You Without You” has no chord changes—the melody unfolds over a drone (roots and fifths played on the tambura). To simulate that sound, I wound up tuning to C G D G B D with a partial capo on the top five strings at the fifth fret—giving me open-string pitches of C C G C E G, an open C tuning. The Sgt. Pepper’s track is in C#, but the song was actually recorded in C and then sped up, so this arrangement is in the original performance key.

Source: Acoustic Guitar


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