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Lesson: How to Play John Lennon's "Imagine" on Acoustic Guitar

I’ve always been a guitarist first, but even I learned how to play John Lennon’s “Imagine” on piano.

But here, our friends at Alfred Music have reinterpreted that iconic accompaniment for acoustic guitar.

It’s simply lovely.

This profound song was originally released in 1971 and was Lennon’s best-selling song of all time.

Lennon composed "Imagine" one morning in early 1971, on a Steinway piano, in a bedroom at his Tittenhurst Park estate in Ascot, Berkshire, England. Yoko Ono watched as he composed the melody, chord structure and almost all the lyrics, nearly completing the song in one brief writing session.

When asked about the song's meaning during a December 1980 interview with David Sheff for Playboy magazine, Lennon told Sheff that Dick Gregory had given Ono and him a Christian prayer book, which helped inspire in Lennon what he described as:

“The concept of positive prayer ... If you can imagine a world at peace, with no denominations of religion—not without religion but without this my God-is-bigger-than-your-God thing—then it can be true ... the World Church called me once and asked, ‘Can we use the lyrics to 'Imagine' and just change it to 'Imagine one religion'? That showed [me] they didn't understand it at all. It would defeat the whole purpose of the song, the whole idea.”

"Imagine" is in the key of C major.

Here’s a run through of all the chords and fingerings laid out neatly for you.

If you’d like to get your hands on the official matching TAB for guitar, go here>>

This song may also be found in collections found on alfred.com

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Laura B. Whitmore is a music industry marketing veteran, music journalist and editor, writing for Parade.com (opens in new tab), Guitar World, and others. She has interviewed hundreds of musicians and hosts the She Rocks Podcast. As the founder of the Women’s International Music Network (opens in new tab), she advocates for women in the music industry and produces the annual She Rocks Awards. She is the Senior Vice President of Marketing for Positive Grid, making the world safe for guitar exploration everywhere! A guitarist and singer/songwriter, Laura is currently co-writing an album of pop songs that empower and energize girls.