Paul McCartney Has Revealed His Favorite Guitar Chord
Words by Riley Fitzgerald
Graphic by Linda McCartney
Replying to a fan question via his official website, Paul McCartney has revealed his favorite chord.
“A favorite chord,” Paul reflects when the question is put to him. “That’s a hard question! But I would say E is a pretty big favorite.”
Of all the Beatles‘ more than two dozen are written in the key of E Major, including ‘With A Little Help From My Friends’, ‘Lovely Rita’ and ‘I Saw Her Standing There’.
“It’s one of the early chords you learn,” Paul McCartney then shares. “And in the early days, we used to play the Buddy Holly songs that we listened to a lot. He used E and A a lot, so we used E and A lot too.”
The Beatles would frequently cover Buddy Holly songs live and would record their own version of Holly’s ‘Words of Love‘ on fourth album Beatles For Sale in 1964.
“It’s a very pure basic chord and on the guitar,” Paul continues, “it rings out beautifully because the bottom string is open. So it has a resonance that some other chords don’t have.”
Having said this Paul then confesses he can’t really place a favorite.
“They’re all good,” he closes off, “I love them all basically, it’s hard to pick a favorite! But if I have to pick, I’ll go for E.”
Having never received any formal musical training it might just be that Paul McCartney isn’t at all that hung up on chords.
“Then I just fiddle around with that and try and follow the trail,” he once told NPR of his songwriting process. “Sometimes it leads me down a blind alley so I have to retrace my steps and start again down another road.”
“I’m of the school of the instinctive,” he continued. “I once worked with Allen Ginsberg and Allen always used to say, ‘First thought, best thought.’ And then he would edit everything. But I think the theory is good. ‘First thought, best thought.’ It doesn’t always work, but as a general idea I will try and do that and sometimes I come out with a puzzling set of words that I have no idea what I mean, and yet I’ve got to kind of make sense of it and follow the trail.”
While his music has been endlessly analyzed and theorized over, Paul McCartney’s approach is not to overthink it.
“You know, the great thing is,” Paul shared with Impossible in 2016, “there are no rules.”
Paul McCartney 2020 Tour Dates
05/23 – Lille, FR @ Pierre Mauroy Stadium
05/26 – Paris, FR @ Paris La Défense Arena
05/29 – Nijmegen, NL @ Goffert Park
05/31 – Bordeaux, FR @ Stadium Matmut
06/04 – Hannover, DE @ HDI Arena
06/07 – Lyon, FR @ Groupama Stadium
06/10 – Naples, IT @ Piazza Plebiscito
06/13 – Lucca, IT @ Mura Storiche
06/17 – Barcelona, ES @ Olympic Stadium
06/21- Werchter, BE @ TW Classic Festival
06/27 – Pilton, UK @ Glastonbury Festival