Tom Waits – I Hope that I Don’t Fall in Love with You (Chords)

This is one of Waits’s folkiest and most affecting songs. It’s also very adaptable. Making it great for a mixed ability group. And if Tom Waits can sing it anyone can (except me).

I’ve written it up in three levels of difficulty.

Easy Version

Tom Waits – I Hope that I Don’t Fall in Love with You (Easy Chords)

The very easiest way to play it is with just C, F and G. You can also substitute G7 for G if you prefer.

Suggested Strumming

You can use this as the main strum:

d – d u

First two lines: Twice on C and F. Four times on G

Second two lines: Once on each chord until the last G where you play the strum four times.

Last line: One down strum each on F and G. Then back to the pattern until one down strum each on C – G – C – G at the end of the verse.

Together it sounds like this:

Strumming easy version

The last verse does mix up the strumming pattern. But you can easily make it fit the same pattern as the rest of the verses and I recommend doing that if you’re playing in a group.

Moderate Version

I Hope that I Don’t Fall in Love with You (Moderate Chords)

The only difference here is your playing a G7sus4 to G7 move in place of the G at the end of the lines in the easy version. The strumming is exactly the same except on the long Gs you do the main strum twice on G7sus4 and twice on G7.

Strumming moderate version

Tricky Version

I Hope that I Don’t Fall in Love with You (Picking Tab)

This version is based on the guitar picking in the song. I start off using one finger per string picking until bar 7 where I move my thumb to the C-string with index and middle on E and A. Back to one per string in bar 11 before changing again for the run at the end.

Picking Version


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View Comments


  1. Ruth Allen October 6th, 2016 7:26 am

    This is lovely. – thanks for the chart. I need to transpose it and was moving it to A when I hit a snag on the third chord of the third line of the verse. It kinda feels to me as though that should be the IV not the V, the same as in the fourth line. So I found a Youtube of Tom Waits playing it in D and it sounds really weird with an A as the third chord there. What do you think?

  2. Woodshed October 7th, 2016 3:39 pm

    Ruth: Thanks! I’m pretty sure the way I’ve got it written matches at least the version in the video above. But if you prefer it the other way go for it!

  3. Teri Zipf November 4th, 2016 9:56 pm

    Thank you, I really enjoyed learning this.

  4. Woodshed November 5th, 2016 11:26 am

    Teri: Thanks! Glad to hear it.

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