This in-depth lesson on the Rolling Stones’ You Can’t Always Get What You Want nails Keith Richards’ guitar parts like never before

Earlier this year, we reported on L.A.-based guitarist Jon MacLennan’s ridiculously deep dive into how to nail the exact sound of Keith Richards’ acoustic guitar part in the Rolling Stones’ You Can’t Always Get What You Want.

How deep of a dive was it?

The resulting tuning MacLennan devised, which covers both the six- and 12-string parts in one performance, was CGCEAA, with the bottom sixth string removed, the use of a doubled high A string (use a 12-string guitar with six of the strings removed for this) and a capo at the fifth fret.

The result was a shockingly on-point recreation of Keef’s sound.

Plenty of viewers agreed, and MacLennan was bombarded with requests to film a video breakdown of the full song. Now, he has done just that.

“It’s a long song and there’s a bunch of different variations,” he warns early on in this new video lesson. “I’m going to break down as much of it note-for-note as I can so you can get playing this song today.”

And that he does, even adding in some on-screen tabs to help players out.

You can check out the full You Can’t Always Get What You Want breakdown above.

And for more on MacLennan, who has played with artists like Julian Lennon, Steven Tyler and John Popper, head over to his official website (opens in new tab)

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Richard Bienstock

Rich is the co-author of the best-selling Nöthin' But a Good Time: The Uncensored History of the '80s Hard Rock Explosion. He is also a recording and performing musician, and a former editor of Guitar World magazine and executive editor of Guitar Aficionado magazine. He has authored several additional books, among them Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, the companion to the documentary of the same name.