What Tuning is Friday I’m In Love?

Friday I’m In Love is one of the most recognizable songs from The Cure’s catalog. But for guitarists wanting to play along, it seems surprisingly hard to figure out. So what tuning is Friday I’m In Love?

Friday I’m in Love is played in the key of D major using standard guitar tuning, but Robert Smith sped up the studio version slightly due to a careless mishap. The result requires tuning a guitar approximately a halftone higher in order to match the notes.

Smith forgot to turn off the variable speed pitch control when they recorded it, but he liked the effects that resulted from the glitch.

According to the band’s frontman Robert Smith, the song is not a work of genius but a more calculated one. For some reason, Smith has always had an uneasy relationship with this song.

For instance, during its writing, Robert Smith was convinced that he had stolen the chord progression from the likes of Paul McCartney. But to his surprise, the unique tone was never used by anyone else.

He frantically called everyone he knew around to ensure if they had heard the tone before. He even went ahead and entitled the song a “dumb pop song” and a “result of drug paranoia.”

Let us find out if the song’s tuning resulted from drug paranoia as Smith claimed or if it’s simply a mark of Smith’s unacknowledged musical talents.

What key is Friday I’m In Love in?

The song Friday I’m in Love is in the key of D major. It also goes to G major and comes back to D, and the only other chord in the majority of the song is B minor. 

Friday I’m in Love is not the typical sound of the British band The Cure. Smith faced multiple challenges while working on the song. Initially, he wrote it as a slow number.

The sound is also peculiar because the key of D sounds nothing like D but more like almost D sharp due to his speeding up the tape.

The song starts with the D major, and a lot less fretting is required in the beginning. In terms of Chord progression, the intro section has the following keys.


I – IV – I – V – vi – IV – I – V

D – G – D – A – B – G – D – A

The bridge:

IV – V – vi – IV – I – V

G – A – B – G – D – A

1st Chorus

D – G – D – A – Bm – G – D – A

2nd Chorus 

G-A- Bm-G-D-A G-D-A-Bm-G-D-A



3rd Chorus 



D-A-D-G-A-D-Bm-G-D-A G-D-A-Bm-G-D-A



Source- Uber Chord

Did The Cure speed the tape up after recording Friday I’m In Love?

Friday I’m in Love is slightly sped up. Robert Smith forgot to switch off the variable speed pitch control on the tape machine during the song’s recording, which resulted in the unintentional glitch. It is sped up approximately 1 halftone.

Many guitar learners have slaved over and over this songs’ tuning, but the smash single from The Cure’s catalog is quite difficult to achieve because its studio version was sped up slightly.

Smith wrote the song to be a lower number than its upbeat final rendition.

While he recorded the track in D Major, the commercially released version sounds a quarter-tone higher than D major due to Robert Smith forgetting to turn off the pitch control on the tape after toying with it before recording.

When played live, the song is played in its original intended key instead of the one heard on the record.

Does The Cure change their tuning when they play Friday I’m In Love live?

The Cure does not tune their instruments up in concert to match the pitch of the recording of Friday I’m In Love. Instead, they perform the song in its original key of D major.

So, if you compare videos of the original and live versions, the live versions, while played at the same tempo, clearly sound lower in pitch.

The lyrical concept came to him during a trip home from late Friday work. However, the song’s writing did not arrive as easy as the concept. Sitting in the studio, Smith and company toyed for hours and worked on several instruments.

They recorded the song in the intended keys but then toying with the pitch controls, Smith accidentally recorded a higher speed version of the song.

Luckily Smith liked this version. He told Rolling Stone:

“The whole feel changed, and the fact that it’s the only song on Wish that’s not in concert pitch lifts it out and makes it sound different. After working on the record for months, hearing something a quarter-tone off makes your brain take a step backward.”

But when the band plays the song live, they change the tuning in its original keys.

Who plays the guitar parts on Friday I’m In Love?

Friday I’m in Love used three guitar parts with Porl/Pearl Thompson playing the lead riffs and solos on a Gibson hollow body electric, Robert Smith playing a 12-string acoustic guitar, and new member Perry Bamonte playing a 6-string bass (more like a guitar than a bass), in addition to keyboards.

Contrary to popular opinion, Robert Smith was quite convinced that he had heard the same chord progression somewhere else.

Thus Robert Smith believed at a time: 

‘Friday I’m in Love is not a work of genius, but a more calculated song. I must have stolen it from somewhere.

Porl/Pearl and Robert Smith are undoubtedly great guitar players who have collaborated on several albums. 

Although Pearl was considered the best guitar player in the group, Smith invented the unique guitar sounds the band has come to be known for.

Check out my recent article to see just how good, or not good, Robert Smith really is. What really surprised me was the answer to the question as to whether there are any albums where Smith is the only guitarist.

Just click that link to read it on my site.

In the recording session, they used three guitars. Porl (now Pearl) Thompson played one of them, which was a Gibson ES-335, and Smith played the rest.

Smith also added that he played the acoustic parts, and the main guitar riffs heard are also his, which were achieved via Chet Atkins’s semi-acoustic guitar.

Curious about why Porl changed his name to Pearl? Luckily I get into that in a recent article. I even get into whether or not it’s because he now identifies as trans.

Just click that link to read it on my site.

What instruments are on Friday I’m In Love?

The Cure recorded 3 guitar parts on Friday I’m In Love, in addition to bass guitar, drums and keyboards. 

From the standpoint of technique, The Cure uses many instruments to achieve the Friday I’m in Love. Let us take a look.

Chet Atkins Semi-acoustic Guitar

Robert Smith explained in an interview that Gibson Chet Atkins was the key to his sound in the ninth studio album Wish. He also mentioned to have used Ovation 6 and 12 string acoustics.

Fender Bass VI

At that time, the Cure’s new introduction, Perry Bamonte, frequently switched between Gibson ES-335, Ovation 12-string. But in live concerts, Perry mostly used Smith’s Fender Bass VI turned upside down.

Gibson EB-2

Simon’s Gibson EB-2 and EMG pickups gave the song its dense bass riffs making the song an unforgettable piece in the band and made it a valuable factor in setting the Cure’s sound different from its contemporaries.

I have also discussed Simon Gallup’s contribution in The Cure in great detail in a recent article. Click the link to read it on my site.

Amplifiers used in Friday I’m in Love

One of the main effects in the Chorus of Friday I’m in love was produced by using:

  • Boss CH-1 Super Chorus Pedal
  • 8×10 Classic Cabinets Ampeg SVT-200 T heads
  • Boss DD- 3 Digital Delay pedal

And of course, Borris Williams plays the drums on this song. In fact, this was one of the last things Borris played on before leaving The Cure in 1994 a few months after Porl left.

How To Play "Friday I'm in Love" By The Cure on Guitar - Easy Acoustic Song


Wish was the ninth studio album from The Cure, with instantly accessible songs combining a heartbreaking ballad and epic drama.

The piece flaunts an upbeat tune with its musical rush and trods away from the doom and gloom scenario. Initially, Robert recorded the song in the tuning of D major.

However, while recording the music, Smith forgot to switch off the pitch control (Vari-speed), and the final version resulted in a quarter-tone higher speed. Smith did not make any changes to this version and kept the piece in his catalog.

However, when the band performs in live concerts, they return to the song’s original key.

Photo which requires attribution:

The Cure Live (3) by – EMR – is licensed under CC2.0 and was cropped, edited, and had a text overlay added.

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