Beethoven's 'Fur Elise' - A Modern Version: Lesson 1

"Für Elise" by Ludwig van Beethoven is not just a revered piano song, it can be made into an incredible modern guitar song. Here's a video and lesson to show you how it's done.

Beethoven's 'Fur Elise' - A Modern Version: Lesson 1
12
Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) was a German composer and pianist whose music has certainly been able to stand the test of time. One of his most famous piano pieces, "Für Elise," was composed in 1810 and has become a staple for all classical pianists.

But what if you wanted to take this great composition and make a more modern version with guitar, bass and drums? That was exactly what I pondered at the start of this summer. So, I extracted the right hand and adapted it as needed for guitar. I extracted the left hand and adapted it as needed for bass. Then I composed a drum part that seemed to fit the song in a unique way.

Here is the first lesson for Beethoven's "Für Elise" - A Modern Version, which will teach you how to play the 2 primary melodic lines of the song. These sections are not overly difficult and are suitable for most players to learn. Although these notes may be played in other patterns on the neck, this is the exact way that I played the notes in my video. I hope you enjoy, and please check back for upcoming lessons that explain how to play the rest of the piece!

E |--------------------|----------------------|---------------------|
B |--------------------|----------------------|---------------------|
G |------------9--8----|--9--8--9-------------|---------------------|
D |--------------------|-----------9-----10---|--7--------------7---|
A |--------------------|----------------------|--------------7------|
E |--------------------|----------------------|-----------8---------|
-------------------------------------------|----------------------|
-------------------------------------------|----------------------|
-------------------------------------------|--------------9--8----|
--7s-9-----------------------------9-------|--10------------------|
-----------------------------11------------|-----------7----------|
-----------------------12------------------|----------------------|
----------------------|----------------------|
----------------------|----------------------|
--9--8--9-----7-------|----------------------|
-----------9-----10---|--7--------------7----|
----------------------|--------------7-------|
----------------------|-----------8----------|
-------------------------------------------|----------------------|
-------------------------------------------|----------------------|
-------------------------------------------|--------------9--8----|
--7s-9-----------------------10----9s------|--7-------------------|
-------------------------------------------|----------------------|
-----------------------10------------------|----------------------|
----------------------|----------------------|
----------------------|----------------------|
--9--8--9-----7-------|----------------------|
-----------9-----10---|--7--------------7----|
----------------------|--------------7-------|
----------------------|-----------8----------|
-------------------------------------------|----------------------|
-------------------------------------------|----------------------|
-------------------------------------------|--------------9--8----|
--7s-9-----------------------------9-------|--10------------------|
-----------------------------11------------|-----------7----------|
-----------------------12------------------|----------------------|
----------------------|----------------------|
----------------------|----------------------|
--9--8--9-----7-------|----------------------|
-----------9-----10---|--7--------------7----|
----------------------|--------------7-------|
----------------------|-----------8----------|
-------------------------------------------|----------------------|
-------------------------------------------|----------------------|
-------------------------------------------|-----------------7----|
--7s-9-----------------------10----9s------|--7--------9--10------|
-------------------------------------------|----------------------|
-----------------------10------------------|----------------------|
-------------------------------------------|
-------------------------------------------|
--7s--9----------------------10----9s------|
-------------------------------------------|
-----------------------10------------------|
-------------------------------------------|
----------------------|----------------------|----------------------|
----------------------|----------------------|----------------------|
--7-----------9--7s---|--5-----------7--5s---|--4-----------9-------|
----------------------|----------------------|----------------------|
-----------8----------|-----------7----------|-----------7-----7----|
----------------------|----------------------|----------------------|
--------12------------|----------------------|----------------------|
----------------------|----------------------|----------------------|
--9--9-----8--9--8----|--9--8--9--8--9--8----|--9--8--9-----7-------|
----------------------|----------------------|-----------9-----10---|
----------------------|----------------------|----------------------|
----------------------|----------------------|----------------------|
----------------------|-------------------------------------------|
----------------------|-------------------------------------------|
----------------------|-------------------------------------------|
--7--------------7----|--7s-9-----------------------------9-------|
--------------7-------|-----------------------------11------------|
-----------8----------|-----------------------12------------------|
----------------------|----------------------|----------------------|
----------------------|----------------------|----------------------|
--------------9--8----|--9--8--9-----7-------|----------------------|
--10------------------|-----------9-----10---|--7--------------7----|
-----------7----------|----------------------|--------------7-------|
----------------------|----------------------|-----------8----------|
-------------------------------------------|----------------------|
-------------------------------------------|----------------------|
-------------------------------------------|-----------------7----|
--7s-9-----------------------10----9s------|--7--------9--10------|
-------------------------------------------|----------------------|
-----------------------10------------------|----------------------|
-------------------------------------------|
-------------------------------------------|
--7s--9----------------------10----9s------|
-------------------------------------------|
-----------------------10------------------|
-------------------------------------------|
----------------------|----------------------|----------------------|
----------------------|----------------------|----------------------|
--7-----------9--7s---|--5-----------7--5s---|--4-----------9-------|
----------------------|----------------------|----------------------|
-----------8----------|-----------7----------|-----------7-----7----|
----------------------|----------------------|----------------------|
--------12------------|----------------------|----------------------|
----------------------|----------------------|----------------------|
--9--9-----8--9--8----|--9--8--9--8--9--8----|--9--8--9-----7-------|
----------------------|----------------------|-----------9-----10---|
----------------------|----------------------|----------------------|
----------------------|----------------------|----------------------|
----------------------|-------------------------------------------|
----------------------|-------------------------------------------|
----------------------|-------------------------------------------|
--7--------------7----|--7s-9-----------------------------9-------|
--------------7-------|-----------------------------11------------|
-----------8----------|-----------------------12------------------|
----------------------|----------------------|----------------------|
----------------------|----------------------|----------------------|
--------------9--8----|--9--8--9-----7-------|----------------------|
--10------------------|-----------9-----10---|--7--------------7----|
-----------7----------|----------------------|--------------7-------|
----------------------|----------------------|-----------8----------|
-------------------------------------------|---------
-------------------------------------------|---------
-------------------------------------------|---------
--7s-9-----------------------10----9s------|--7------
-------------------------------------------|---------
-----------------------10------------------|---------
About the Author:
Greg Studley is a guitarist, bassist, and keyboardist based in San Francisco, CA. He is also the author of numerous music books including "Speed, Accuracy & Technique for Guitar," "A Guitarist's Guide to Improvising With Knowledge," "Essentials of Rhythm Guitar," and "Speed, Accuracy & Technique for Bass." Visit www.improvisingwithknowledge.com for more info.

10 comments sorted by best / new / date

comments policy
    emicyber
    Nice. But I am the only one that read all the article with the rhythm of the piece (like Tenacious D)?
    DeadHeart7
    i think doing this in a jazz style was more modern than the original, but i was hoping for something a little harder (typical headbanger, sorry).
    Slackerbitch
    Very well arranged, it was a good listen. However, I myself would have played the 9-8-9-8-9 of the main riff by bending the string, but this of course is only a matter of taste. He did it once at the very end.
    iwtab
    Well done. I just wonder if it sounds better without drums. Drums give it too much of a rock feeling.
    astrocreep71
    ...And now "Whole Lotta Rosie" adapted to late eighteenth century chamber music...That's really good, though. Seriously. I disagree about the drums making it rock. I mean it does, but in a good way. I think maybe some of the bass fills could've maybe stood out more, but that could just be my laptop speakers. For the most part though, good rendition. Nice instruments, and you all play them really well.Lots of practice I'm sure...