Tenderness chords



You can learn how to play Tenderness by Paul Simon!

Tenderness is a song from the studio album There Goes Rhymin’ Simon by Paul Simon.

This chordal masterpiece would have to be studied in detail to be fully understood. Huge extensions, slash chords, key changes, and odd time signatures make this tune a proper challenge to work out.

It definitely doesn’t help that I’ve changed the key to suit a female singer as well! Turn to the advanced acoustic guitar course for a full breakdown, with complete TAB.

Below you find chords and lyrics so you can play along with me in the video. If you want to play in the original key, you must first transpose all Tenderness chords.


Tenderness chords and lyrics (Key of G)


| 12/8 G9b5 |

| C | B7 | Em G | C C#dim7 |
What can I do, what can I do? Much of what you say is true,
| G/D | D D11 | G Bb/F F | Em G |
I know you see through me, but there’s no tenderness, beneath your honesty.

| C | B7 | Em G | C C#dim7 |
Right and wrong, right and wrong, never helped us get along.
| G/D | D D11 | G Bb/F F | Em B7 |
You say you care for me, but there’s no tenderness, beneath your honesty.

| 15/8 C#m G#7 A7 G#7 | 12/8 E B C# | E D#9 G#7 |
You and me, were such good friends, what’s your hurry?
| 15/8 C#m G#7 A7 G#7 | 12/8 E B/D# | F#m D7 | G G7 |
You and me, could make amends, I’m not worried, I’m not worried.

| C | B7 | Em G | C C#dim7 |
Honesty, honesty, it’s such a waste of energy.
| G/D | D D11 | G E |
I know you see through me, but there’s no tenderness, beneath your honesty. No, you don’t have to
| A7 D7 | D7 |
lie to me, just give me some tenderness.

| G Em | Eb9 D9 | G |
Mm, hm.
| C C#dim7 | G | D | G Bb/F F | G |
Oh-oh. mm-hm. Tenderness.


Tenderness chord progression

The intro is simply a G9b5 chord played as an arpeggio, waiting for the verse to kick in.

The first verses are pretty much identical, only the last bar differs.

|12/8 C | B7 | Em G | C C#dim7 |
| G/D | D D11 | G Bb/F F | Em G |

| C | B7 | Em G | C C#dim7 |
| G/D | D D11 | G Bb/F F | Em B7 |

The bridge starts off with an odd time signature in 15/8.

| 15/8 C#m G#7 A7 G#7 | 12/8 E B C# | E D#9 G#7 |
| 15/8 C#m G#7 A7 G#7 | 12/8 E B/D# | F#m D7 | G |

The final verse includes more modifications.

| C | B7 | Em G | C C#dim7 |
| G/D | D D11 | G E |
| A7 D7 | D7 |

The outro dwells on the theme and finds even more chords!

| G Em | Eb9 D9 | G |
| C C#dim7 | G | D | G Bb/F F | G |


Chord progression tricks

The first chord, a G9b5 is a trick!

It sounds like it’s the V chord going to chord I but it’s not, this is chord I, leading to chord IV.

Straight away we’re in for some seriously clever chord movements. Looks like Paul Simon picked up a thing or two since his days in Simon & Garfunkel.

The original song is in a different key to what I’ve recorded it in.

I’m in the key of G, the original recording is in C. I did this as my singer is female and it sounded much better for her in this key.

To change the key is easy if you use Roman Numerals, even when the progression is as complicated as in Tenderness.


Time signatures

If the chords seem complicated in Tenderness, check out the time signatures!

First of all, the original version is more straightforward in 4/4. My version has more of a triplet feel which puts it in 12/8. 12/8 is like 4/4 with a triplet over each beat.

When Tenderness eventually gets the extra beat, instead of calling those bars 5/4, they become 15/8 time. This is not actually as complicated as it may sound, you simply add one more “beat of 1 2 3″.

Let’s take a look at all the chords when paired with lyrics.


Tenderness – Guitar Lessons

Tenderness by Paul Simon will soon be available as eight step-by-step guitar lessons.

Until then, there’s complete TAB for what I play in the video available.

Go to Tenderness – Guitar Lessons.


Tenderness – Lyrics + Original recording

What can I do, what can I do?
Much of what you say is true,
I know you see through me,
but there’s no tenderness, beneath your honesty.

Go to Tenderness lyrics.


Paul Simon

Paul Simon is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, both as half of the folk-singing duo Simon and Garfunkel and also as a solo artist.

His many hits include Homeward Bound, Scarborough Fair, You Can Call Me Al, The Boxer, Cecilia, Mrs. Robinson, and Graceland.

Go to Paul Simon – Biography.


Advanced Acoustic Songs

These songs use big chord extensions and sometimes, unique and complex chords that incorporate open strings.

Study these in-depth and you will gain a complete understanding of the fretboard, including how to build any scale, arpeggio, and chord, anywhere on the guitar.

Go to Advanced Acoustic Songs.


The Professional Guitarist Song Book

As a guitarist, a repertoire is the greatest asset that you can acquire.

Learn these songs and you can progress from being a bedroom player to working with acoustic duos, Jazz trios, Indie/Rock/Party bands as well as large Soul/Motown ensembles.

Go to Song Book.


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