Ain’t No Sunshine chords by Bill Withers

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Ain’t No Sunshine | Chords + 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.

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Ain’t No Sunshine’s chords and progressions (course preview)

Ain't No Sunshine 8 step by step guitar lessons

Starting with chord VI, which is the home chord of this song, we are in the key of A minor when we play Ain’t No Sunshine‘s chords.

This Am chord has been extended, without breaking any harmonic rules, to a minor 7 chord.

During a two-bar loop, we quickly move from chord III (an Em chord) to chord V (a 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.

What Bill Withers has done here is modified an 8-bar minor blues. In its simplest form, this would be the progression:

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

In Ain’t No Sunshine, we develop this movement with the chords EmG5, which looks like this:

| Am7 (Em G5) | Am7 | Am7 (Em G5) | Am7 |
| Em | Dm7 | Am7 (Em G5) | Am7 |

In the course, you’ll learn how to play Ain’t No Sunshine finger-style. We’ll achieve this by first working on a few finger-style etudes to get the patterns right.

Once we have the basics of fingerstyle grouping down, we learn Ain’t No Sunshine as I play it in the video at the top of the page.

This is step 4 in the series and you can see it in the video above. Here I show you the two loops you need to practice. Here’s the TAB (check the playlist above for play-along loops):

Ain't No Sunshine TAB acoustic guitar parts

As this is so easy, next we simply play the complete song with a singer in step 5.

In the next few steps, we develop a 2nd guitar part played with a pick (you’ll find a full performance of this in the playlist at the top of this page).

Learning this 2nd guitar means that you, me, and the singer can play Ain’t No Sunshine together, like a trio.

Here’s a link to the complete lesson series (members only): Ain’t No Sunshine 8 step-by-step guitar lessons with TAB.

Become a member today and get unlimited access to all step-by-step guitar coursesTAB for the songbook, the Self-Eliminating Practice Routine, and the eBook Spytunes Method.

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. The following year, it won a Grammy for Best Rhythm and Blues Song.

Bill Withers was fortunate to have one of the best producers around at hand, 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 hired 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 (1971), 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.

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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, Dock Of The Bay, Ain’t No Sunshine, Soul Man, Hold On I’m Comin’, Knock On Wood, and Respect.

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Four years later, an amateur recording of Eva playing Over The Rainbow in her local pub was played on Top of the Pops 2, a TV show in the U.K.

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Bill Withers

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

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.

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