plain white t's hey there delilah

Released in 2006, Plain White T’s’ “Hey There Delilah” enjoyed large commercial success. In fact, the song gave the band a number 1 hit in the US after receiving heavy radio play. Written by frontman Tom Higgenson after meeting distance runner Delilah DiCrescenzo, “Hey There Delilah” features a prominent acoustic fingerpicking part. If you are new to acoustic fingerstyle guitar, then this tune is a really good place to start. Therefore, in this guitar lesson, we will look at the chords and tab for “Hey There Delilah” by Plain White T’s.

“Hey There Delilah” – Chords Used

Before we look at the tab for the fingerstyle guitar part, let’s first learn the chords to this song. Here are the chord diagrams:

hey there delilah chords

I’m trying to keep the amount of fretting hand movement to a minimum with these chord voicings. For example, by using the D5 and G5 shapes instead of the standard D and G major chords. However, feel free to experiment with your own chord shapes if they are easier for you to fret. In fact, it’s possible to play this song without any barre chords, but this does involve more fretting hand movement.

Now that you’ve studied the chord voicings, let’s learn how to play this piece.

“Hey There Delilah” Tab

I’m going to break down this song in a section by section basis. Firstly, we will examine the tab for the intro and verse sections:

Verse Tab

hey there delilah plain white ts tab

“Delilah’s” main chord sequence alternates between D and F#m. It uses a simple 8th note rhythm throughout, which is perfect for fingerstyle beginners to start off with. Personally, I have found the best choice is to pick the notes on the D string with your thumb, with your index and middle fingers picking the G and B strings respectively. Additionally, try to pluck the strings as lightly as possible until you get used to the technique. Finally, listen to the original recording to gauge the amount of times the main sequence is repeated for the intro and verses.

Here is the tab for the Pre Chorus:

Pre Chorus Tab

delilah pre chorus tab

Use the same picking pattern as above, with the thumb playing the bass notes and the middle and index fingers playing the higher strings. For the open A note in bar 1, lift your index finger on your fretting hand before moving to the G5 chord.

Here is the tab for the chorus chord progression:

“Hey There Delilah” Chorus Tab

plain white t's tab

By now the fingerpicking pattern will be familiar to you. Play the Bm/C# chord by keeping the barre held down with your index finger, and moving your ring finger to the A string to fret the note. Alternatively, it’s possible to play the Bm and Bm/C# chords without barring, although this involves more fretting hand movement.

Repeat the pattern above 3 times for the first 2 choruses. However, there are two separate endings to the first 2 choruses. Because of this, I have spilt them up in to 2 different sections, with the first ending transcribed below:

delilah tab plain white t's

Here is the tab for the ending of the 2nd chorus:

delilah tab 5

Finally, let’s look at the tab for the bridge section of this tune. The ending of the 2nd chorus transitions straight into the bridge.

Bridge Tab

delilah bridge tab

The main chord sequence in the first 4 bars repeats in the next 4. The only difference is the bass note between the D and Bm chord in bar 7 is a C# and not an A. Then, the next 4 bars are similar to the previous 4, ending on a 2 bar Bm pattern instead of going to D. Finally, the bridge section is rounded off with the same A to A5 progression that we saw in the Pre Chorus.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, “Hey There Delilah” makes a great first choice for those new to fingerpicking on the guitar. I have transcribed each section that appears on the original recording. So, it will be up to you to listen to the song and match each section when you play along. I hope you have enjoyed learning this song in today’s guitar lesson. As always, if you have any suggestions for what you would like to see covered next, then please let me know in the comments. Until then, have fun, and I’ll see you next time.


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