Six String Fingerpicking Courses and Lessons

Heartbeats by José González Guitar Lesson and TAB

José González





D A D F# B E


1st fret


89 BPM


D without capo (E♭ with)

Heartbeats was originally written by Swedish electronic duo The Knife in 2002. José González then covered the song in 2003 and completely changed the style to a gentle, more haunting fingerpicking piece. It’s this version that we’re going to learn in this lesson.

Thankfully, most of González’s version of Heartbeats is just one progression repeated. There’s just two sections to the song – the main progression, the riff (if you can call it that) and the bridge.

The riff is used for the intro, the verse and the chorus so this really makes it nice and easy to navigate your way through the structure of the song.

Having said that, it’s actually quite tricky to play. The riff itself is a little awkward and will likely take a bit of work to get under your fingers. Once you do, however, you’ll find that it’s great fun.

Learn To Play Heartbeats


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The Riff

It’s very easy to get the main progression of Heartbeats wrong; there’s a lot of notes being played and you may find yourself plucking them in the wrong order. You must, therefore, practise very slowly at first, really make sure everything is in its right place and then gradually start to build the speed.

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The Bridge

The bridge of Heartbeats may actually be a little easier than the rest of the song. The majority of it is just one reasonably simple picking pattern over some very easy chords. You may find the final few bars get a little tricky but if you’re ok with the other sections, you shouldn’t struggle too much.

Structure: Intro – Verse – Chorus – Verse – Chorus – Bridge – Chorus

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