Into The Great Wide Open Guitar Lesson – Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

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In this Into The Great Wide Open guitar lesson video, I will show you how to play all the chords to this classic released in 1991 by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.

I will be demonstrating all the chords played on acoustic guitar by Tom Petty and not the electric guitar layers or solo.

There are some interesting chords in this one. First off, the song’s verse sections are in a minor key which is not all that common for a popular rock song that dominated the charts when it was released.

This opening verse progression is based around an open position E minor chord, but the there is a moving melody line within it which can make the chords be analyzed as E min, Emin/maj7, E min7, E min6.

That progression might sound a bit confusing, so do’t worry about the chord names. It is simply an E minor chord with a descending chromatic line over it. It is pretty easy to play as well!

The hardest part of the song will probably be the second half of the verse section that employs an A minor bass chord with a moving bass line under it. That bass line was partially played by Tom Petty with his thumb grabbing the note of the low E string. I will give you a couple of options to play it if that technique is a bit uncomfortable for you.

Most of the song uses a simple 8th note strumming pattern with the occasional 16th note burst. I will work you through all of those patterns as well.

One last thing, starting in the second verse Tom Petty begins to arpeggiate the first half of the verse in order to bring that descending melody out a bit more and fill up the sound. It is a very simple arpeggio pattern that is actually easier to play than the original strummed version. 🙂

I hope you guys enjoy learning this great tune! #intothegreatwideopenguitarlesson #tompetty #guitarcovers

Video Rating: / 5


  1. what a fucking beautiful chord progression

  2. The way he plays those chords with the descending base line really tells a story. You could write about 10 different songs with completely different melodies over that chord progression played in that fashion.
    This is a fantastic lesson

  3. take the chords from Beatles "Cry Baby Cry". The sequence is the exact same thing. I played that and thought "shit, it's Into the Great Wide Open, too"

  4. WOW!!!! that's a killer sound coming from that guitar .
    what kind is it ?
    BTW all of your lessons are great, thanks for all of your time you devote to helping others and myself

  5. Great lesson

  6. Great lesson! Can you please do Damage Control by John Petrucci?

  7. I love the progression in this Tim Petty song Carl, as it's similar to the George Harrison/Beatles song "Something." If you can find the time, it would great if you created a lesson on "Something." Thanks for the time and effort you invest in creating these lessons. Your helping to teach others to play the guitar, and keeping Rock-N-Roll alive.

  8. My Tom Petty song knowledge wouldn't be complete without Mary Jane's Last Dance

  9. Do Mary Jane’s Last Dance!

  10. Aakash Shashindran

    Please do dance of death by Iron Maiden!!!!

  11. Hey Carl, I was wondering if you could upload a lesson on Tom Petty's Keeping Me Alive? It would mean a lot. Thanks!

  12. Plz do The Waiting

  13. Do running on a dream

  14. My dude you should do cure by Metallica

  15. Hi Carl! Could you do a lesson for any of these:
    -Jump in the fire
    -No Remorse
    -Metal Militia

    -Eye Of The Beholder
    -Frayed Ends Of Sanity
    -Dyers Eve

    -Don't Tread On Me
    -The God That Failed
    -The Struggle Within

    -Until It Sleeps
    -King Nothing
    -Hero Of The Day

    -The Memory Remains
    -Unforgiven II

    -That Was Just Your Life
    By Metallica,

    -A Tout Le Monde
    -Tornado Of Souls
    By Megadeth

    -White Room
    By Cream

    Thanks for your perfect lesson videos!
    Greetings from Hungary!

  16. Thank you Carl. I've learned a lot of songs from you. We all share in Tom's unexpected loss. Thanks again and keep up the good work.

  17. Can you please do New kid in Town by the eagles?

  18. What type of guitar is that

  19. Great lesson!! More Tom Petty please! Mary Jane's Last Dance!!!

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