by George on October 29, 2011

in Beginner Guitar Songs, Guitar Lessons, Music Lessons, Play Songs On Guitar and Harmonica, Song Lessons

You Can’t Always Get What You Want – Lesson on Guitar and Harmonica – Guitar Chords, Harmonica Tabs, Lyrics, Sheet Music, MP3 Downloads and More

Quick Facts

  • Recorded in November, 1968 at Olympic Sound Studios in London and released on the 1969 album, Let It Bleed
  • Jimmy Miller, the Stones producer, plays drums on this track
  • Al Kooper plays the french horn part as well as piano and organ

Musical Instruments and Recording Setup

Harmonic Gear

In this video, I’m playing a Hohner Special 20 Harmonica, Key of G mounted in a Hohner Harmonica Holder
You can get either by clicking on the images.

Fender Acoustic Guitar
Fender FA-130 Acoustic-Electric Guitar Pack, Black

I’m playing my Fender F65 road trip guitar in this video. I bought this guitar in 1983 in Fort St. John, BC and have taken it to many happy campfires since. Fender simply make great guitars that last and sound great.
If you’re looking to get started playing for a really great price, you won’t go wrong with the Fender FA-130 Acoustic-Electric Guitar Pack pictured below. This is Amazon’s best selling Acoustic Electric and comes complete with FenderĀ® SA-10 Acoustic Guitar Amplifier, Gig Bag, Guitar Cable, Strap, Instructional DVD, Strings, Picks and String Winder.
I play a Fender and I love it.

The gear below very closely matches my setup for creating this video

Sheet Music

There’s no problem finding great sheet music for The Stones. Their music is very well covered. Here are a couple of excellent Stones songbooks. One covers the album, Let It Bleed, exclusively while the other covers early hits recorded in London and re-released in the box set, The Rolling Stones Singles Collection: The London Years

The Rolling Stones- Let It Bleed (Guitar Tab Edition) (Alfred’s Classic Album Editions)
Arranged for Guitar Tablature & Standard Notation With Lyrics, Chord Names & Frames. Matching songbook to the 1969 classic Stones album.
* Let It Bleed
* Love In Vain
* Midnight Rambler
* Gimme Shelter
* You Got The Silver
* You Can’t Always Get What You Want
* Live With Me
* Monkey Man
* Country Honk

The Rolling Stones Singles Collection: The London Years / Guitar Tab Edition
This album-matching folio features transcriptions, complete with tab, to 58 of The Stones’ greatest early hits. Includes:
* You Can’t Always Get What You Want
* Jumpin’ Jack Flash
* Honky Tonk Woman
* Wild Horses
* Brown Sugar
* Sympathy for the Devil and 52 more — over 300 pages of music.

Guitar Chords, Lyrics, and Harmonica Tabs

You Can’t Always Get What You Want music and lyrics are property and copyright of their owners and provided for educational purposes and personal use only.
The following is my transcription of my version of this awesome song. If you want how the author intended, check out the links above.

You Can’t Always Get What You Want – Jagger/Richards
On this song, I am playing with Open G tuning and using a G harmonica.
Tune your guitar to the following:
6th string lowered to D
5th string lowered to G
4th string stays at D
3rd string stays G
2nd string stays B
1st string lowered to D

The Rolling Stones play this song in C, so putting a capo on the 5th fret and playing as I show you will allow you to play along with the original recording but you’ll need to use a C harmonica.

Chords for Verses
Gadd9 open tuningG chord open tuningCadd9 open tuning
Chords for Chorus
Gadd9 open tuningG chord open tuningCadd9 open tuningA Open tuningAsus4 Open tuning
Chords for Bridge
A Open tuningAsus4 Open tuningB open tuningC Open tuningCsus4_open tuningGadd9 open tuning

Harmonica Intro
4 -5 -6 6
-6 6 4 -4 -4 5
-5 5 5 -4 4

I saw her today at the reception
6 8 8 8 8 -8 7 -8 -6

A glass of wine in her hand
6 8 8 8 -8 7 -8 -6

I knew she would meet her connection
6 8 8 8 8 8 8 -8 7 -8 -6

At her feet was a footloose man
6 6 8 8 7 8 -8 -8 -6

You can’t always get what you want
6 8 8 8 8 -8 7 -8 -6

You can’t always get what you want
6 8 8 8 8 -8 7 -8 -6

You can’t always get what you want
6 8 8 8 8 -8 7 -8 -6

But if you try sometime you’ll find
6 6 6 8 -8 -6 -6 7

You get what you need
7 8 8 8 8 7

I went down to the demonstration
To get my fair share of abuse
Singing, “We’re gonna vent our frustrations
If we don’t we’re gonna blow a 50-amp fuse”


I went down to the Chelsea drugstore
To get your prescription filled
I was standing in line with Mr. Jimmy
And man, did he look pretty ill
We decided that we would have a soda
My favorite flavor, cherry red
I sung my song to Mr. Jimmy
And he said one word to me, and that was “dead”
I said to him



I saw her today at the reception
In her glass was a bleeding man
She was practiced at the art of deception
Well I could tell by her blood-stained hands


Jamorama - Learn Guitar

Video Transcription

Hi, George here. Welcome to this video where I show you how I play You Can’t Always Get What You Want by The Rolling Stones on guitar and harmonica.
Ok, we’re going to through the tuning. It’s not standard tuning, it’s open G tuning so we’ll go through that. Then we’ll go through the chords, strumming pattern, harmonica part that I play, and then we’ll run through it – jam through it and I’ll put up the chords so that you can follow along.
So, let’s start off with the tuning.
You’re standard tuning is E A D G B E. You’re 6th string up here would be E, then A D G B E. Well that’s not what we’ve got. The 6th string is tuned down a full step to D. Then our 5th string is tuned down to a G. It’s dropped from an A to a G. Our 4th string stays D. That now matches our 6th string. Our 3rd string stays G and that matches our 5th string now. The 2nd string stays B and our 1st string is lowered to D. So that D matches our 4th and 6th strings. Ok, so that’s open G tuning. Once you have that tuned you can strum an open G chord. Ok, so that’s the tuning.
Mostly, there’s just two chords in the song – G and we have a C. It’s actually Cadd9. That’s a C chord and that’s a D. So we have a D in a C chord, not usually. That’s C and adding the 9th so that’s Cadd9. When we’re playing this, we’re also playing the Gadd9 as well. So let’s do that. Let’s play the first part.
What we’re doing is we are starting with the Gadd9. That’s open G and we take our 2nd finger and put it in the second fret, 3rd string and then we take that off.
So the strumming is 1 (2) 3 (4) 1 2 3 & 4 & . Play Gadd 9, off, on, off, on, off, on off to C.
Now with the C chord, we can do a little hammer on to add some interest. Take the 4th string open and then with the second finger hammering on to the second fret and then we play the 3rd string. So it’s play 4th string open, hammer onto the 2nd fret, then 3rd string open. Then we play the 3rd string, 2nd fret and then take that off. Pull it off or strum it off. That kind of idea. So let’s give this a go and do the first couple of bars here.
So, those 2 chords work through all the verse and then the chorus until we get to the ‘try some time’. Then it goes to A. Playing the string open is G, so if we put a bar across the 2nd fret, that’s A. Then go to C, to G.
With the A, you can sometime add the 9 (actually the 4). So that’s barring the 2nd fret and taking our second finger, putting it on the 2nd string, 2nd fret. Ok, that’s a little flavour you can add to that.
Now there’s a 3rd section that I don’t always play. It’s a bridge section and it comes in after the chorus which follows the “I went down to the Chelsea drugstore” verse. It starts in A, then goes to B, then goes to C, then it goes back to A and then to that alternate Gadd9, then to G.
Ok, that’s the bridge section.

Now, if you want to play along with how they are doing it on Let It Bleed, put your capo up on the 5th fret and do how I’m showing you here.

So for the harmonica, we are in G and I am playing a G harmonica which you can get at
At the beginning, I like to play the part that the french horn plays. If you listen to the Let It Bleed album they have a french horn at the beginning playing that nice little melody which I like to play with the harmonica. Then I’ll also play the melody to the chorus You Can’t Always Get What You Want’ and then maybe just a little solo fill or something like that.

Alright. You Can’t Always Get What You Want, The Rolling Stones. That’s how I play it on guitar and harmonica. I hope you enjoyed the video. If you did, please share it on social media. Like it, send it to Twitter, all that good stuff. Alright, so have a great day, see you next time, peace.