Sunny Afternoon

Learn How To Play Sunny Afternoon

Chords and Guitar Lessons

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Complete song – Acoustic guitar and vocals


Sunny Afternoon is a single from British invasion pop/rock 60s band The Kinks. Alongside The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and The Who, The Kinks shaped popular music as we know it.

In Sunny Afternoon, we get the classic minor verse, major chorus again. However, this time, it’s from Am to A major, rather than Am and C major (relative keys) which is what most hits go for (see Roxanne and Dreadlock Holiday).

Using a capo on fret five, we effectively play the song in the key of Dm but think in Am.

Chord progression

Sunny Afternoon uses a bass line to create a looped pattern for the intro/chorus tag, these are the chords for when a capo is placed on fret five.

| Am Am/G | Am/F# Am/F | E E/D | E7/C E7/B | x2

The verse uses more conventional chords at first before the descending bass line idea is used over the E chord again, like this.

| Am | G | C | G | E E/D | E7/C E7/B | x2

| Am | A |

The chorus moves to the key of A and has a bVII chord in it (G). The C (bIIIx) and E7 chords act as a turnaround to get back to A.

| A | A | D7 | D7 | G | G7 | C | E7 |

| Am | D7 | Am | D7 G | C | E7 |

Guitar Lessons

Sunny Afternoon – Step 1

Before we start exploring how to play Sunny Afternoon I want you to gain a firm understanding of the triplet feel.

To achieve this we play the sweeping exercise using 12/8, shuffle, and swing rhythms.

Go to Sunny Afternoon step 1.

Sunny Afternoon – Step 2 (Free Preview)

In this step, we learn to play the intro/chorus tag. It uses a swing feel and presents several challenges.

Not only is it difficult to fret the descending bass line, but there’s also plenty of muting going on as well.

Go to Sunny Afternoon step 2.

Sunny Afternoon – Step 3

In this step, we learn how to play the verse. This is much, much easier to achieve than playing that intro you did in the last step.

There’s also plenty of songwriting tricks here to learn from if you’d like to write hits yourself.

Go to Sunny Afternoon step 3.

Sunny Afternoon – Step 4

In this step, we play the chorus. This section is possibly the easiest of all three you need to play the complete song.

Practice along to the loop, aiming to get it exactly as the TAB display before you start coming up with variations.

Go to Sunny Afternoon step 4.

Sunny Afternoon – Step 5

It’s time to play the complete song. Hopefully, that intro/chorus tag is by now not too difficult.

Use the chart to guide you as you play along with me and the singer.

Go to Sunny Afternoon step 5.

Sunny Afternoon – Step 6

Let’s develop a 2nd guitar part for the intro/chorus tag and verse.

We do this by removing the capo and play as if in the key of Dm.

Go to Sunny Afternoon step 6.

Sunny Afternoon – Step 7

In this step, we work out how to play a 2nd guitar part for the chorus.

We try both big open position chords to support the first guitar as well as small compact jazz style comping. You’ll gain lots from practicing this.

Go to Sunny Afternoon step 7.

Sunny Afternoon – Step 8

In this final step, you join me and the singer(s) again.

As we’re a band now, maybe it’s time to fire up that tour bus and book us some gigs!

Go to Sunny Afternoon step 8.

Related Pages


Sunny AfternoonThe tax man’s taken all my dough
And left me in my stately home
Lazing on a sunny afternoon
And I can’t sail my yacht

Go to Sunny Afternoon lyrics.

The Kinks

the-kinks-thumbCategorized as a British invasion band, along with the other members of the so-called Big Four, The Kinks changed popular music forever.

Among their hits, you find Lola, Sunny Afternoon and You Really Got Me, which fourteen years later would be covered by Van Halen using a much louder amp.

Go to The Kinks biography.


Learning how to play guitar is best done through playing and learning from songs.

The intermediate songs require you to learn barre chords and pentatonic scales. This will be revolutionary for your understanding of the guitar fret board.

Go to Intermediate guitar course.

Intermediate Acoustic Songs

You can learn how to play these intermediate songs on the acoustic guitar.

A Change Is Gonna Come, American Pie, Angie, Babylon, Blowin’ In The Wind, Dreadlock Holiday, Fast Car, Hey There Delilah, I Can’t Stand The Rain, I’m Yours, Kiss Me, Mad World, Red, Starman, Sunny Afternoon, and Whistle For The Choir.

Go to Intermediate acoustic songs.


All those open position chords you learned in the beginner course now become barre chords and pentatonic scales.

We’ll use this to map out the entire fret board. Everything becomes easier to visualize once this foundation is laid.

Go to Intermediate guitar exercises.

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Including detailed, but bite-sized explanations on how the music theory of each song is applied to the neck.

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