The “Hard Day’s Night” Chord.
One of the most iconic chords in all of “guitardom” is the opening chord of “A Hard Days Night” by the greatest group that will ever exist—the Beatles. They were geniuses. There are many examples in their music of either intuitive or analytical thinking in their creation of interesting chords but “A Hard Days Night” is the one that most people are drawn to. It sounds huge. That’s because it is huge. It’s a polychord, created by four people playing different but complimentary chords simultaneously. I’m going to show you how to achieve it with four people—and I’m going to show you how to get super close with one guitar.
This all goes back to the Beatle’s ability to listen. McCartney heard Beach Boy Genius Brian Wilson playing a non-root note on the bass against a chord, just as George heard all those Chet Atkins records where he’s superimposing one chord over another in an amazing blitzkrieg cornucopia of diatonic madness! Whew! Sorry.
Here’s the deal: On the actual recording, George strikes a F9 (with the “G” on top) on his 12-string, John strikes an open Dsus4 on a Epiphone Casino, Paul plays a “D” on his Hofner bass, and George Martin plays a different inversion of Harrison’s F9 on the piano. Martin’s chord has the “A” in the bass—very important. So, they all strike their stuff at the same time and wa-la! Huge. If you’ve got four people—try it. It’s satisfying.
What if you’re the only chording instrument in the band? Here’s what we’re going to do: We’re going to play a G7sus4 with an “A” in the bass. Make a regular barred “G” (barre at third fret). Lift off our pinky, creating a G7. Put the pinky on our sus4, the “C’ that exists on the open “G” string at the fifth fret. We now have a G7sus4. Now we have to position our third finger so that it continues to hold the “D” note on the “A” string and slops over and plays the “A” note on the open “E” string (both fifth fret). See? That flab on our ring finger came in handy (thank you chicken wings). A little tricky, but we now have a G7sus4/A—strike it with gusto, real loud, add a little chorus effect if you want—and you got it.
What you do with it is your business.
Enjoy, and happy strumming!
PS: Paul is STILL not dead.