We Shall Overcome

First published in 1947
Unknown originator

First verse:
We shall overcome / We shall overcome / We shall overcome, someday // Oh, deep in my heart / I know that I do believe / We shall overcome, someday


We Shall Overcome guitar tab and notes (pdf)

tabs tabs & notes


We Shall Overcome instrumental guitar (mp3)

We Shall Overcome - guitar tab, notes, chords and lyrics

"We Shall Overcome" is mostly associated with the protest song from the late 1950s. The song is, however, originally a hymn with an uncertain origin. It's sometimes credited to the American Methodist minister and music composer Charles Albert Tindley who composed the gospel song "I'll Overcome Someday", which has been seen as a model for the later prostest song. This version was first published 1901, but the song may have another background. The song was first published with the title "We Shall Overcome" in 1947.

The music transcriptions of the song with tabs and notes are available for download as PDFs. It's free for personal use only.

We Shall Overcome (full accompaniment)

"We Shall Overcome" for guitar with full accompaniment. Free download in pdf-file and audio.

We Shall Overcome guitar accompaniment

We Shall Overcome (only melody)

"We Shall Overcome" tablature notation for guitar.

We Shall Overcome tabs

Tips on how to learn this song

Notice the AABA structure. The 1-4, 5-8 and 13-16 measures are identical. From this the 9-12 measures deviates and this part of the song is characterized by ascending (measure 9) and descending movements (measure 10, 12 and 13).

We Shall Overcome (Drop D)

"We Shall Overcome" in Drop D tuning (DADGBE). Free download in pdf-file.

We Shall Overcome (Drop D)

Lyrics and chords

We Shall Overcome chords in the key of C
Verse 1:
(C)We shall (F)over(C)come, we shall (F)over(C)come
We shall (G7)over(Am)come (D)some(G)day

Oh, (F)deep in my (C)heart, (F)I (C)do be(Am)lieve
(C)We shall (F)over(C)come (G)some(C)day

Verse 2:
(C)We'll walk (F)hand in (C)hand, we'll walk (F)hand in (C)hand
We'll walk (G7)hand in (Am)hand (D)some(G)day

Oh, (F)deep in my (C)heart, (F)I (C)do be(Am)lieve
(C)We shall (F)over(C)come (G)some(C)day

The song includes many changes, but the amount of chords are limited. Especially, there are many I to IV and I to V(7) changes.

There are possibilities to change to key further by using a capo:

Key, time, tuning and tempo

Information about "We Shall Overcome" considering musical key, time signature, tuning and bpm.

Key signature music symbol


The presented version of We Shall Overcome is played in the key of G.

Time signature music symbol

Time signature

The song is played in 4/4 tempo (counted one, two, three, four for each measure).

Tuning overview


The song is normally played in standard tuning (EADGBE).

BPM symbol and numbers

Tempo (BPM)

The tempo in beats per minute is 180 for the presented version.

Tags: Drop D tuning