Lesson Plan

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Lesson notes

I Can’t Make You Love Me is a beautiful, heartbreaking ballad written by Mike Reid and Allen Shamblin, and recorded by American singer-songwriter Bonnie Raitt for her eleventh 1991 studio album ‘Luck Of The Draw’. It became one of her most successful singles.

The original recording was primarily done with Bruce Hornsby on the piano and this lesson shows a relatively easy way of playing it on the guitar.

The arrangement is done in the key of G, where the guitar is capoed on the third fret and uses mainly five basic open chords.

One could easily fingerpick the song or strum it as can be heard in parts of George Michael’s version. A few ideas of both ways are presented.

We also take a thorough look at several ways of playing and fingering the chords. Deciding which one to use is often determined by context, as in which chord you are coming from and to which you are going.

No matter how you play the song, the most important aspect to pay attention to is to play it with feeling. For that, what one does with the right hand, either fingerpicking or strumming, is crucial.