Oh, Pretty Woman
by Roy Orbison • Lesson #441 • Jun 25, 2022
Hey, friends! New lesson today for Roy Orbison’s 1964 classic Oh, Pretty Woman. This song is tremendously fun to play, featuring an all-timer guitar riff that’s integrated quite seamlessly with the intro, verse, and chorus of the song. With a solo acoustic guitar, I’ll teach you to play it all: the riff, the strumming, and everything in between. It took me a few days of serious practice before I could sing + strum + play the riff all without missing a step, but I finally able to get there — and I’m excited to show you the way. Let’s check it out!
Free Video Lesson
Requires membership to Song Notes Premium. If you’d like to see a slowed-down version of this song, check out this additional video. I play the entire song (ending included) at 100 beats per minute, which is quite a bit slower than Roy Orbison’s 127bpm. I also use simple strumming pattern (down strums on the 1 and 3 counts only), and the simplified version of the riff (no pinky used). After the playthrough, I’ll also give some general performance tips & advice not included in my full-song lesson above. I hope you find this helpful!
Print-Friendly Song Sheet 3 pages
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Backing Track Available
I made a drum backing track for you to use while playing this song (or, when practicing just the riff). The track is a relatively simple drum beat matching what you hear on Orbison’s recording. This particular drum beat is very quarter-note heavy (e.g. ONE-TWO-THREE-FOUR), repeating for ~5 minutes or so. The idea is you can practice the main riff, or strumming the full song, while this track is helping you keep time. I made two separate backing tracks:
Roy Orbison’s actual tempo. Download.
100 bpm (slower version)
Slower version, if you’re working up to Roy’s tempo. Download.
How to use the backing track to practice the riff
- Play the track. Begin counting in a 1-2-3-4 manner (four beats per measure).
- When you’re ready, play the “tease” version of the riff on the beat, and remember the “tease” last six counts total. Then, play the tease one more time. Finally, play the “full” intro riff – and repeat it 4 times total.
- If you want, you can continue to play over the track during the verse. You can even play over it for the chorus, but this is where it may sound a bit different than Orbison’s album version — as his drum track changes during the chorus section.
Listen to Roy Orbison’s Album Recording
Played at 127 beats per minute. Key of A, standard tuning.
Additional Lessons To Help With This Song
Here’s instructional lessons I’ve made teaching concepts that are useful in this song.
The "Pretty Woman" lick, played 4 different ways
Playing A-major with big fingers or a small fretboard
How to play A-major with one finger (barred on 2nd fret)
How to play F#m (F sharp minor)
How to play F#m without barring (for fingerstyle)
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