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 Chords: Learn the progressions

Ain't No Sunshine 8 step by step guitar lessons

Starting with chord VI, the home chord of this tune, 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 chord progression:

| Am (VI) | Am | Am | Am |
| Em (III) | Dm (II) | 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 playing down, we learn Ain’t No Sunshine as I play it in the video at the top of the page.

By now, we’re at step 4 in the lesson series and as you can see in the video above, we practise using loops to learn the various sections. Here’s the TAB for the first example we practise (play along with the video above):

Ain't No Sunshine chords and TAB, example 1.

After a few more loops like this, you’re ready to play the complete song, just like I do in the video at the top of this page.

In the remaining steps of the series, 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 as well).

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

Here’s a link to the complete lesson series: Ain’t No Sunshine – Guitar Lessons with TAB.

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 who had been around the block a few times 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.

Ain’t No Sunshine Chords | Related Pages

Beginner Acoustic

There are more Beginner Acoustic Songs to discover that use similar chords to Ain't No Sunshine.

This collection of beginner acoustic tunes will teach you how to arrange for one acoustic guitar, 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 to understand how music works theoretically.

Five similar tunes with chords and lyrics

When you can play Ain't No Sunshine's chords, try these five tunes from the song book.

Booker T. & The M.G.’s tunes

Booker T. & The M.G.'s was the house band that played and produced Ain't No Sunshine.

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.

Booker T. & The M.G.’s on the web

Listen to Booker T. & The M.G.’s on Spotify.

Eva Cassidy tunes

Eva Cassidy covered Ain't No Sunshine.

Eva Cassidy was an American guitar player and vocalist who didn’t reach fame until after she passed away on November 2nd ’96.

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.

Eva Cassidy on the web

Listen to Eva Cassidy on Spotify.

Michael Jackson tunes

Michael Jackson covered Ain't No Sunshine.

The King of Pop became world-famous before he was even a teenager as he signed to Motown with his brothers as The Jackson 5.

After many hits, Michael Jackson embarked on a crazy solo career that would see him become as big as Elvis and The Beatles.

Michael Jackson on the web

Listen to Michael Jackson on Spotify.

Bill Withers tunes

Bill Withers wrote AIn't No Sunshine's chords.

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.

Bill Withers on the web

Listen to Bill Withers on Spotify.

Blues & Jazz

There are more complicated Blues & Jazz tunes available, Ain't No Sunshine is one of the easiest.

The foundation upon which popular music stands, Blues & Jazz tunes must be explored in depth by the serious guitar player.

Learn from the best by studying the greatest tunes of the genres. Study the iconic licks and melodies to grasp the language of these most important styles.

Motown & Soul

When you have learned how to play Ain't No Sunshine, discover more Motown and Soul tunes.

Motown & Soul is the best place to start if you want to get better at playing the electric guitar. The harmony is simple and there is room for improvisation.

Learn tunes by The Supremes, Stevie Wonder, Jackson 5, Marvin Gaye, Dusty Springfield, Aretha Franklin, and many more.

About me | Dan Lundholm

Dan Lundholm wrote this guitar lesson on Ain't No Sunshine's chords.

This was a guitar lesson about Ain’t No Sunshine chords, by Dan Lundholm. Discover more about him and learn guitar with Spytunes.

Most importantly, find out why you should learn guitar through playing tunes, not practising scales, and studying theory in isolation.


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