Ain’t No Sunshine chords by Bill Withers

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Ain’t No Sunshine chords and lyrics

Verse 1

| N.C | Am7 Em G5 |
Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone,
| Am7 | Am7 Em G5 |
it’s not warm when she’s away.
| Am7 | Em7 |
Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone, she always gone too long
| Dm7 | Am7 Em G5 |
anytime she goes away.

Verse 2

| Am7 | Am7 Em G5 |
Wonder this time where she’s gone,
| Am7 | Am7 Em G5 |
wonder if she’s gone to stay.
| Am7 | Em7 |
Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone, and this house just ain’t no home,
| Dm7 | Am7 Em G5 | Am7 |
anytime she goes away.


||: N.C :||
And I know, I know, I know… (x27)
| N.C |
Hey, I oughta leave the young thing alone,
| N.C | Am7 Em G5 |
but ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone.

Verse 3

| Am7 | Am7 Em G5 |
Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone,
| Am7 | Am7 Em G5 |
only darkness every day.
| Am7 | Em |
Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone, this house just ain’t no home,
| Dm7 | Am7 Em G5 |
anytime she goes away.


||: Am7 | Am7 Em G5 :||
Anytime she goes away, anytime she goes away, anytime she goes away.

You can learn how to play Ain’t No Sunshine!

In the guitar lesson you find below, I’ll show you all the details for my one acoustic guitar arrangement.

In the course, there are actually 8 steps working on how to play Ain’t No Sunshine, but also on how to structure finger-style playing.

We also create a 2nd guitar part based on the other instruments from the original recording. If you learn this, you, me, and the singer can play Ain’t No Sunshine together.

We’ll use different CAGED shapes than what we have for guitar 1 to construct this, we also use a pick, rather than play fingerstyle.

In general, it is a better idea to dig deeper like this, rather than moving on and just learning another song.

If you want to get better at playing the guitar, you should always try to learn from every song you play by exploring it deeply.

Here’s step 4 from the course, detailing how to play each section of Ain’t No Sunshine, enjoy!

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Ain’t No Sunshine chords and progressions

Starting off with chord VI, which is clearly the home chord of this song, we are in the key of A minor. This chord has been extended, without breaking any harmonic rules, to a minor 7 chord.

In the second half of the two-bar loop, we quickly move from chord III (Em chord) to chord V (G chord) before we go back to Am7.

You could see this as a bass line going down to the 5th, then the b7 of an Am chord. So subtle are these changes.

Ain’t No Sunshine is essentially an 8-minor blues. In its simplest form, this would be the progression of an 8-bar minor blues.

| Am | Am | Am | Am |
| Em | Dm | Am | Am |

In Ain’t No Sunshine, we develop this movement with the chords Em – G, which looks like this:

| Am7 (Em G) | Am7 | Am7 (Em G) | Am7 |
| Em | Dm7 | Am7 (Em G) | Am7 |

Here’s TAB for example 1, this is what to play over the main loop. Practice example 1 along with the TAB loop in the playlist above and perhaps on your own to a metronome at different tempos as well.

Ain’t No Sunshine TAB – Verse

Here’s example 2, this is the turnaround where the bass line has been incorporated into the chords.

Ain’t No Sunshine TAB – Turnaround

In the course, we next play the complete song as Ain’t No Sunshine has no more chords or sections to learn.

Following this, we work out how to play a 2nd guitar part so you, me, and the singer can play this song together like an acoustic trio.

This 2nd guitar part will be inspired by what the drums play on the original recording.

For the complete experience, when we don’t just memorize the chord progression, but learn from Ain’t No Sunshine’s chords, sign up here.

Ain’t No Sunshine was Bill Withers’s first B-side and hit

Starting its life as a B-side in 1971 to his first single Harlem, it didn’t take DJs long to flip it over and start playing Ain’t No Sunshine instead and the following year, Ain’t No Sunshine won a Grammy for Best Rhythm and Blues Song.

Bill was fortunate to have one of the best producers around at hand in Booker T. Jones. Jones had been around for a while and knew the secret to a great recording was having a great band.

His house band for record label Stax, Booker T. & The M.G.’s was used when recording Ain’t No Sunshine, apart from having Stephen Stills on guitar, rather than Steve Cropper.

Bill’s debut album, Just As I Am, was recorded over just four three-hour sessions, no doubt, this was down to the experience of the producer and his kick-ass band!

Since Bill’s original version hit the airwaves, many other singers have covered the song, so much so it has become a modern standard that you as a musician are expected to know.

First up was Michael Jackson who released it in 1972, enabling the song to chart two years in a row. In 1991 Paul McCartney released his version and two years later Eva Cassidy did the same.

Ain’t No Sunshine has over the years firmly established itself as one of the most memorable songs of all time. Rolling Stone magazine ranked it at #280 on their list of Greatest Songs Of All Time.

Ain’t No Sunshine | Related pages

Ain’t No Sunshine – 8 Guitar Lessons

The final song in the beginner course is played finger-style, which means you first have to work your way through three practice songs.

Once you can play them, Ain’t No Sunshine’s finger-style arrangement will be easy. Finally, we develop a 2nd guitar part and play the song together, like a band.

Go to Ain’t No Sunshine – 8 Guitar Lessons.

Bill Withers

Bill Withers was an American singer-songwriter who performed and recorded from the late 60s until the mid-80s.

Some of his best-known songs include Ain’t No Sunshine, Use Me, Lovely Day, Lean on Me, Grandma’s Hands, and Just The Two Of Us.

Go to Bill Withers.

Booker T. & The M.G.’s

Booker T and the M.Gs biography

Led by piano and organ player Booker T. Jones, the Stax Records house band played behind numerous legendary artists.

Hits include Green Onions, Born Under A Bad Sign, (Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay, Ain’t No Sunshine, Soul Man, Hold On I’m Coming, Knock On Wood, and Respect.

Go to Booker T. & The M.G.’s.

Beginner Acoustic Songs

Beginner acoustic guitar songs

This collection of songs will teach you how to arrange a song to play on your own, as well as how to create a supporting part.

Playing songs will help you with switching between open-position chords and give you the context you need in order to understand how music works theoretically.

Go to Beginner Acoustic Songs.

Song Book

professional guitarist song book

As a guitarist, a repertoire is the greatest asset you can acquire. It is your ticket to playing with other musicians.

To help you on this journey, I’ve gathered tunes I play with acoustic duos, Jazz trios, Indie/Rock/Party bands as well as large Soul/Motown ensembles.

Go to Song Book.

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Studying great songs is the best way for a musician to develop, we believe displaying chords and lyrics falls under “fair use in education”.

If you are the copyright holder and do not wish to be represented in this way, or want to comment on anything in these lessons, do reach out.

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