Classical Guitar Instruction with Douglas Niedt
Beach Boys License Plate

God Only Knows

The Beach Boys (Brian Wilson)
Arranged by Douglas Niedt

The arrangement I play in the video is difficult. But I also provide an easier intermediate-level version. You can mix the two as needed. When you come to a spot you cannot play in the advanced version, try the same measure in the easier version. Both versions come in standard notation with tab, standard notation only, and tab only.

Here is a sample page from the advanced version in standard notation and tab.

Page 1, God Only Knows, Beach Boys, advanced version arranged Douglas Niedt

And here is a sample page from the easier version in standard notation and tab.

Page 1, God Only Knows, Beach Boys, easier version arranged Douglas Niedt

You may also download the video. After the Vimeo video review page opens, click on the down arrow in the upper right corner. You will be given a choice of five different resolutions/qualities/file sizes to download.

This is a digital download.

Only $10.00. Includes all six versions. No shipping/handling charges.

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  • Brian Wilson wrote the song in 45 minutes with Tony Asher, an advertising copyrighter and lyricist.
  • Released in 1966, God Only Knows is considered a Beach Boys classic, but was released as a B-side, partly because of fear that radio stations would refuse to play a song with "God" in the title.
  • The song reflects Wilson's interest in spirituality, and was a big departure from previous Beach Boys songs that dealt with girls, cars, and surfing.
  • Lyricist Asher felt they were taking some real chances with the song, not just because "God" was in the title, but also because "it opens by saying, 'I may not always love you,' which is a very unusual way to start a love song."
  • In the version recorded by the Beach Boys, a percussionist plays an almost continuous rhythm on two empty jugs of orange juice. At measure #39, I imitate the sound with tongue clucks.