Song Lessons – WHAT’S UP? by 4 Non Blondes (rhythm study)

Jun 19, 2024 | Learning Guitar, Online Guitar Lessons, Song Lessons | 0 comments

Today, we’re diving into the iconic song What’s Up? by 4 Non Blondes. This 90s anthem has captured the hearts of many with its powerful lyrics and catchy melody.

Lets explore this timeless classic.

We’re going to learn how to play 4 Non Blonds – What’s Up? on the acoustic guitar. This is often known as a beginner guitar song. It consists of a repeated 3 chords progression throughout the entire song and for this aspect, yes, it’s fairly straight forward.

The difficulty comes in chord 2 – the B minor chord, and keeping the rhythm going.

I have used the B minor barre chord throughout the song but also included the easier 4-string Bm chord for those who are not yet confident with barre chords so do not fear. The main focus of this guitar tutorial today is the rhythm. I aim to help you build a solid rhythm foundation. It plays through the entire song.

In the tutorial we start by building the 2-bar rhythm using muted strings and move onto incorporating the chords. There are nuances to the chord progression which I describe in detail in the video lesson that will help you to level up your rhythm playing and add some depth and colour to this simple chord progression. If you are unable to grasp the concept please prioritise mastering the strumming pattern and the sequence of chords first (without the embellishments).




To build this up nice and slowly and develop a solid foundation learn the following rhythm by muting the strings. Do this by laying your chord-playing fingers flat across all 6 strings lightly so that when you strum the strings you hear a percussive/clicky sound (muted strings).  This means you don’t have to think about the playing the chords and can focus on only the rhythm to start with.

Count the numbers below as you strum in the direction of the arrows to build up awareness of how the rhythm fits into 2 bars of a 4/4 rhythm…

once you have this we can put in the accents. 

with accents…these fall on Beats 1 & 3.  To play with an accent put a bit more pressure (emphasis) into the strum. This will make it a fraction louder than the other strums.


Play the 2-bar strumming pattern above for each chord in the sequence below….

This rhythm and chord progression repeats for the entire song.



➡️For a video lesson detailing the above click here

🎸For an acoustic sing-play through of the full song click here

This is a classic guitar song very worthy of your repertoire.  Have fun learning this and see if you can sing along when you have the rhythm sorted. 





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