Guitar chords: With or Without You?

“With or Without You” is a track by the Irish rock group U2. The song was a huge hit when it was first released in 1987. The fact that only four chords are required to perform the entire song makes it one of the best songs for beginners.

The “With or Without You” hit is a continuous succession of the guitar’s D, A sus, B-7, and G chords. Mastering these chords is the fastest way to learn this song. To master the guitar tabs for this song you must have sound knowledge of basic fingering techniques and guitar placement. 

The “With Or Without You” song is a relatively slow one that uses very common chords, most of which are open chords. If you’re developing your rhythm or learning to play while singing, this song is especially suited for you. Here we’ll provide tips to mastering the guitar tabs for the song and explain in detail steps to play the song properly from start to finish.

How To Play “With or Without You” on The Guitar

Here we break down the steps to follow to play the “With or Without You” song on the guitar. 

Step 1: Start with the D Major Chord 

The “With or Without You” song starts with the D major chord and is played from the D string down. This chord starts with an open A and is followed by an open D. 

Your fingers should assume the positions described in the video below

Key Video Takeaways

  • Place your first finger should be placed on the second fret of the G-string
  • Your third finger should be on the third fret of the B string
  • Keep your second finger on the second fret of the top E string, and play the open D with it.

Step 2: Proceed to the A SUS Chord 

  • This starts with an open A.
  • Your first and second fingers should be positioned on the second fret of the D and G strings.
  • Your first finger should maintain its position on the second fret of the D string.
  • Your second finger should be on the second fret on the G-string.
  • At the bottom, your third finger should be on the third fret of the B-string.
  • Your fourth finger should be on the fourth fret on the E-string.

This gives the full A-sus chord. 

Step 3: The B-7 Chord Section

Here your finger should assume the following positions.

  • The first finger should bar the hole of the second fret from the A-string down.
  • Your fourth finger should be on the fourth fret on the D string.
  • Your third finger should be on the third fret on the B string.

Step 4: End with the G-Major Chord 

To play the last chord, which is the G major,

  • The middle finger should be placed on the third fret of the low E string.
  • Then your third finger should remain on the third fret of the B string.
  • Your little finger should follow and take its position on the third fret of the high E string.
  • Then the first finger should be on the second fret of the E string.

How to Play the Intro Verse

We start off with the D chord, as described above. After the D chord, move to the A sus chord.

For the A sus chord, 

  • Keep your third finger in its position, and don’t move it.
  • Move your first finger upwards, so it rests on the second fret of the D string.
  • Pick the A string, then move to the B-7 chord

While on the A string, keep your middle fingers on the second fret on the G-string, then take them off.

Meanwhile, using your right hand,

  • Pick the D string,
  • Pluck the B string with your third finger and the G string with your middle finger. Do this at the same time.
  • Move your first finger unto the D string
  • Then pick the A string
  • Play the B minor chord, and then pick the E string for the G major chord after.

Play the D chord by picking the D string, then move to the A chord by picking the A string, and for the G chord, pick the E string.

How to Play the Second Verse

For the second verse, begin by adding another layer.

  • Start by playing the top note, then progress to the Asus chord and the B minor chord before ending at the G chord.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

With your right hand, 

  • Use your middle finger, third finger, and fourth finger to pluck the middle string, third string, and fourth string, respectively.
  • Move on to the D chord, and use your third finger and fourth fingers to pluck the strings according to the tab.
  • Complete the song by playing the Asus chord and the G chord for the last time.

Pro Tips to Remember when Playing Guitar Tabs for “With or Without You”

Since this song has a relatively slow tempo, here are a few tips that could facilitate your learning process.

1. Perfect your Timing 

When playing any piece on the guitar, perfect timing is a crucial skill that brings your guitar talents to light. There are several ways to practice your timing effectively. 

One such method is to count the beats aloud as you play. Doing this helps your brain recognize the pattern of the beats, ultimately allowing you to get the hang of it. 

Alternatively, you could use a metronome to improve your timing or tap your foot as you play.

2. Fret the Notes Effectively

This sounds simple enough, but trust us when we say it can be quite confusing. To prevent making mistakes, ensure your fingertips are angled inward toward the fret position to fret the notes efficiently. A specific area to worry about is the hard, little portion of your fingertip immediately to the sides of the nail, as it is most effective for fretting.

3. Position Your Finger as Close to The Fret as Possible

Proper finger fret positioning is a recipe for attaining the cleanest, sharpest tone. Remember, you don’t want to be on the actual fret, just right behind. As an example, if you’re playing the fourth fret, ensure you are between the third and fourth frets; this way, you can finger as close to the fourth as possible.

Similar Songs to Try Out When Learning to Play With or Without You 

If you finally master this song and want to learn to play music like this, some cool recommendations would be:

  • Beautiful Day by U2
  • Hey Jude by The Beatles
  • Where The Streets Have No Name by U2
  • Imagine by John Lennon
  • I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For by U2


We would like to encourage you by saying, although the first time you attempt to play the guitar tabs for With or Without You, there’s a high chance you won’t strike all the notes right or get the song’s flow; however, keep at it, in no time, you’ll be confidently strumming away U2’s legendary song on your guitar.


Spread the love

Similar Posts