Sunday Bloody Sunday Guitar Lesson – U2

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The opening track from their 1983 album War, “Sunday Bloody Sunday” has become one of U2’s signature songs that also brought them a greater audience in the process.

Guitarist The Edge tunes his guitar down a half-step for this one, so make sure you tune you guitar to Eb Ab Db Gb Bb Eb in order to play along with this lesson and the original recording.

The first guitar riff to enter the song pretty much became an instant classic. That riff is based around some simple triads and is made much easier to play by incorporation a barre. The barre allows you to play the riff easily by simply removing fingers from the chord shapes that are being played in an arpeggio picked style.

After that we have a couple of transition chords and then the pounding main rhythm riff that contains a B minor barre chord, D major barre chord and G major barre chord. The right hand rhythm is definitely the thing you will want to tackle first for this riff, it is so essential to the sound. You can focus on just playing one chord at first, while you master that rhythm then apply the rest of the chords to it.

At the end of the riff The Edge also slides the G major chord up to an A major chord very briefly. This move happens a lot in the first half of the song whenever this riff is played, but not very much in the second half of the song.

Actually the verse is a combination of both the first two riffs. It shouldn’t be very difficult to know which one is playing where.

We also have a cool little harmonic riff that happens a few times in the song. Try to let these harmonics ring together as much as possible.

After all of this we then arrive at the guitar solo. I will do a quick little performance on the entire solo then start breaking it down for you note-for-note.

The interesting thing about this solo is that The Edge is always accompanying a melody note with an adjacent open string. Depending on what notes are being played, the open drone string that goes along with each melody note can be either the G B or E strings. It is pretty simple to figure out what open drone string to use and where when you watch the lesson. 🙂

So I hope you enjoy learning not only one of U2’s greatest songs, but also one of the greatest protest songs in music history!

Carl..

16 comments

  1. is your guitar tuned one hemitone lower?

  2. This is my favorite U2 song that they have! Can't wait to be able to play the guitar.

  3. Great lesson, clear and understandable.

  4. Awesome! Love how The Edge can make something so small sound so big. Great lesson.

  5. Great explanation

  6. Great tutorial….very well and clearly explained. Thanks a lot ! Looks like I'm gonna need to have a second guitar tuned a half step down cause a lot of the Hendrix songs I am trying out also are tuned E flat.

  7. do you just tune down a half step for this

  8. The best U2 Bloody song on the internet – No one else does it and has tones like YOU!

  9. Karl-Henrik Arendt

    You are becoming my favourite guitar teacher! :-)

  10. Bono is raging right now because after this lesson, everyone else can play this song apart from him.

  11. Could u do a Black Keys song, like little black submarines, gold on the ceiling or next girl?

  12. Pleasee the solo of heartbreaker

  13. Carl, Is that your AxeFx2 you are using for this tone? Sounds great!

  14. Can't we just play this 1 fret higher/lower instead of tuning down the guitar?

  15. that tone is insane what pedals?

  16. hi, i like it too much, can you make a Modest Mouse song lesson ?

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