Wichita Lineman

by Glen Campbell • Lesson #550 • May 10, 2024

In today’s lesson I’ll teach you how to play Wichita Lineman, the all-time classic written by Jimmy Webb & recorded by Glen Campbell. This song is originally recorded in the Key of F — but I teach a capo 5th fret version that uses the Key of C chord family. This makes things quite a bit easier to play, while still capturing the nuance of Campbell’s original recording. Plus – you can play over his album version using my capo 5 version, which makes for great practice. Let’s get to it!

  • 0:00 Lesson Overview
  • 2:53 Intro
  • 9:01 Verse, Part 1
  • 11:51 Verse, Part 2
  • 16:30 “Still on the line” Riff
  • 18:38 Playthrough (basic chords, no singing)

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Practice Notes 5 pages

It includes all of my notes for this lesson, allowing you to follow along at your own pace. You're free to download, print, and share the PDF across your devices.

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Here's a print-friendly PDF I made with all of my practice notes for this lesson. This lets you follow along with everything I show in video tutorial at your own pace.

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If you’re looking for a write-up of the complete lyrics and chords, here’s some recommended resources from other websites:

Extended Videos

Part 2 - Adding Extra Flourish

Here’s my “Secret Stash” arrangement, which takes the chords I teach in the main video lesson and adds several bits of flair & flourish. Some of these additions mimic the vocal melody during our strumming, while others simply fill things out in a manner that further imitates Glen Campbell’s original recording.

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Part 3 - Melody Breakdown

Here’s a video which dissects the vocal melody, shown in open position (the first few frets). This is helpful if you’re looking to sing, and need the exact notes to reference. Likewise, you could play this melody on its own to imitate the baritone guitar solo (which is played over the chords used in the first half of the verse).

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Glen Campbell’s Album Recording (1968)

Glen Campbell Live Performance (2008)

Colin Hay’s Cover

Cody Johnson’s Cover

Larry L’s Cover

Learning More About This Song

Strong Songs Podcast Episode

I can’t recommend this enough! Really amazing audio-only breakdown of the song, looking at the arrangement, production process, lyrics, and more.

Rick Beato’s What Makes This Song Great Breakdown

Really great measure-by-measure of what’s going on musically! I’m a big fan of all the videos in this series, this one in particular.

Rick Beato’s Interview with Jimmy Webb

It’s Webb, of course, who wrote this song! He wasn’t finished with it when he sent it over to Glen Campbell — and to his surprise Campbell had all he needed to craft the complete song.

Lessons from Other Teachers

Jon MacLennan’s Key of C Tutorial

This is the tutorial that inspired me to approach my own Key of C version. I do use some of MacLennan’s approach in my arrangement, but also adjust things in various ways. Just the same, I wanted to share in case you wanted to see another teacher’s take on this song (who also uses a capo 5 approach).

Tutorial from Anyone Can Play Guitar

Electric, played in the Key of F (no capo).

Tutorial from Andy Guitar

Acoustic, also in the Key of F (no capo).

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