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Perfect Day\|Guitar Arrangement

By Lou Reed

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Guitar, Guitar Tab
By Lou Reed. Arranged by Barry McCormick. 6 pages. Published by B. McCormick (H0.217865-18376).

Item Number: H0.217865-18376

This is a nice guitar arrangement of Lou Reed's classic song Perfect Day. This arrangement takes the melody and adds an accompaniment to make a solo guitar piece. The chords are included so that accompaniment on other instruments could be added to a performance if desired. All in all the piece last just over 4 minutes.

Where Could I use this?

I think this piece would be well suited in a performing repertoire of background music at a function. Also it would be nice in a set for a wedding, maybe as guests arrive or as they are having their meal.

Using it for exams and Study.

This could be used as a multi-level piece for those studying guitar. There are 12 Chords in this piece which covers the requirement for a piece of music at grade three level. In Scotland, if doing music at school, the chords for this piece of music would be suitable for National 5. You would possibly have to do show some finger picking and this could be done in the mid section at bars 23 and 24 before the final section. For strumming, simply one long strum for three quaver beats and then three strums on each of the last three quaver beats of the bar. Remember to use dynamics to add to the expression of the piece.

If using the solo arrangement this is closer to grade 5 which, in Scotland, is equivalent to Advanced Higher level if studying in school. It is possibly higher than grade 5 but please consult with the examination board you are sitting under to ensure the arrangement is of suitable quality.

Performing and Practicing

For simply playing the chords for this song pay attention to dynamic markings and follow crescendo and diminuendo markings. You may find bringing the dynamics down in some sections as being effective, so do so if they are appropriate. For instance you may find bring the dynamics right down to pp at the final section draws the listener in and that may be a good decision even though not marked in this edition of the music.

For playing the fingerstyle arrangement it is advisable to ensure you play the melody so that it comes over the accompaniment parts on the guitar. The other voicings on the guitar part should not drown out the melody, try to ensure these parts are played softer.

There are a few reasonable stretches. You should practice these until they are comfortable. Bars, 10, 12, 18 and 21 are ones to watch out for.

Barre Chords, there are markings for when it is advised to barre. Sometimes it is a half bar, or 4/6 or sometimes full. If you are not comfortable with barres then practicing this piece will help.


This song was first recorded in 1972, 45 years ago. It gained some additional attention in the 90's being featured in the movie Trainspotting. In 2003 Lou Reed re-recorded it on his Raven album. I am sure this arrangement is one of many for numerous different instruments.


Please connect with me if you like this arrangement.

You can also find links to my YouTube and Soundcloud on my website and use the contact forms there to get in touch.

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