Sunday, December 20, 2009


My favorite moment of the gig on Friday, aside from some incredibly proud moments I had watching my students play, was when I said to Dave Chappell:

"Can you kick off Gimme Shelter? You know, the Keith Lick?"

To which he replied:

"Sure! What key?"

"Nice!" I thought "Now THAT's a PRO!"

The Seminal Whirlies and The Grand Candy had a very fine time celebrating Keith Richards' Birthday on Friday Night with a little help from our friends. Thanks everybody for coming out, even with the threat of the snow-pocalypse looming overhead. Thanks for getting a little shelter from the storm with us.

Here's the opening lick from GIMME SHELTER from The Rolling Stones' great Let It Bleed, the "Fake Last Song" at the show on Friday at Sin-É:

The four bars above are pretty close to what Keith plays on the second pass through the chord changes. He plays each pass subtly differently, but you'll have to listen to that and figure out his subtle voodoo yourself.

It's arranged in several 'Keys'.

Here it is arranged guitar in Open E, Open G, and Standard tuning.

To be able play this song and be able to fake an orchestration of all of the parts on one guitar, I recommend Open E.

I also included a line of acoustic rhythm guitar at the bottom, playing essentially the guiro rhythm from this song. If you're learning this lick and have a buddy who can strum some open chords, have him capo at the ninth fret and strum the chords E, D, and C chords indicated really lightly near the bridge of his acoustic.

Of special note: I notated the Key as C#minor, even though the tonic chord is major in this tune. Every other chord in the song borrows from the parallel minor key, so it made the notation more clear to use the C# minor key signature.

Here's four more bars, the bit where Keith does his melodic bit in the top voice:

I hope you enjoy playing this riff.

Happy Holidays!
Advancing Guitar Lessons:
Washington, D.C.
Professional Musical Fun
for Beginners and Beyond

Follow me on Twitter: @diddleybow

Thursday, December 17, 2009

DC Guitar Party Update

There is NO COVER for tomorrow night's gig at Sin-E.

Charity Raffle Details:

All proceeds from the raffle will be donated to The National Breast Cancer Foundation.

Raffle tickets are $5 and entitle you to enter the drawing to win a FREE one hour trial lesson ($75 dollar value) with me.

A purchase of four raffle tickets enters you to win the grand prize drawing.
Grand Prize: 3 Months of Beginner Lessons ($600 Value)
Second Prize: 1 Month of Lessons ($200 Value)

For practical reasons, current students are ineligible for a. However, they can enter and gift the lessons to their friends, relatives, etc....

This just in, Dave Chappell Joins The Show:

Exciting news....

The Grand Candy will be augmented by Dave Chappell, one of the finest guitar pickers in the Washington, D.C. area.

Dave is an excellent example of the fine telecaster tradition in this area. His playing harkens to that of one of his mentors, Mr. Danny Gatton. I'm very glad to have him on board so that my students may have an opportunity to hear his fine playing.

Monday, December 14, 2009

DC Guitar Party

Hear Ye, Hear Ye!

The First Annual DC Guitar Holiday Party.
Live at Sin-E
8pm, Friday, December 18th
Live Music
No Cover
Charity Raffle

I could find no other occasion more meritorious than the birth of a legend of rock, and a personal favorite of mine:
Keith Richards. So we're doing it on his birthday. There will be live music with NO COVER CHARGE.

As a benefit for Breast Cancer, I'll be raffling off about $1200 in FREE guitar lessons for the Holidays. I figure Keith would like an event that saves at least half of the things he sings about here. And I know Keith's music has saved the other half of those things for many of us, many times.

Check the update, but here's the rough idea:

1rst Prize: 3 Months of FREE Private Guitar Lessons
2nd prize: 1 Month of FREE Private Guitar Lessons
3rd-5th prizes: 1 FREE Introductory Lesson

As for the live music, my current
Jam Class band, The Seminal Whirlies, is going to open the show. In the spirit of lifetime musical growth, I play drums in this band. My students play guitar.

I am pleased to be able to say that another one of my students, Ms.
Margot MacDonald, will be dropping by after her gig at the Kennedy Center that night.

At Sin-E, she'll be sitting in with some ladies and gents that call themselves
The Grand Candy.

The theme of the evening is Keith Richards self-professed method of songwriting, from the April 1983 issue of Guitar Player Magazine:

The way I write songs is to sit down and play 25 great songs by other people and hope that one of mine drips off the end.

So over the course of the evening, the various musicians assembled will work their way through about 20, possibly even 30 of the songs listed below. As Keith is 66 (heh heh!) this year, here are 66 songs that might qualify for the event:

  1. All You Need Is Love The Beatles
  2. Beast of Burden The Rolling Stones
  3. Born Under A Bad Sign Albert King
  4. Brown Sugar The Rolling Stones
  5. Cry Cry Cry Johnny Cash
  6. Dead Flowers The Rolling Stones
  7. The First Cut Is The Deepest Cat Stevens
  8. Gimme Shelter The Rolling Stones
  9. Hallelujah Leonard Cohen
  10. Happy The Rolling Stones
  11. Happy Christmas (War is Over) John Lennon
  12. Have Love, Will Travel Richard Berry
  13. Hideaway Freddie King
  14. I Hear The Bells Mike Doughty
  15. I Saw Her Standing There The Beatles
  16. Johnny B. Goode Chuck Berry
  17. Jumping Jack Flash The Rolling Stones
  18. Just Like A Woman Bob Dylan
  19. Lawyers, Guns and Money Warren Zevon
  20. Legs ZZ Top
  21. Mind Your Own Business Hank Williams
  22. Mississippi Bob Dylan
  23. Mysterious Ways U2
  24. Not Fade Away Buddy Holly
  25. Rock And Roll Music Chuck Berry
  26. Roll Over Beethoven Chuck Berry
  27. Satisfaction The Rolling Stones
  28. She Took A Lot of Pills Robbie Fulks
  29. Sunshine of Your Love Cream
  30. Trenchtown Rock Bob Marley
  31. Tumbling Dice The Rolling Stones
  32. While My Guitar Gently Weeps The Beatles
  33. Wild Horses The Rolling Stones
  34. You Can’t Always Get What U Want The Rolling Stones
The First Cut IS the deepest.
Songs Eliminated on 12/11:
  1. Brass In Pocket The Pretenders
  2. Don't Think Twice It's Alright Bob Dylan
  3. Expresso Love Dire Straits
  4. Let’s Have A War Fear
  5. Loving Cup The Rolling Stones
  6. The Way Fastball
  7. (They Call It) Stormy Monday T-Bone Walker
  8. Stop Your Sobbing Kinks / Pretender
  9. Too Much Monkey Business Chuck Berry
  10. You Shook Me All Night Long AC/DC
  11. Sultans of Swing Dire Straits
Eliminated on 12/14:

  1. Looking Out My Back Door CCR
  2. Louie, Louie Richard Berry
  3. Love Song The Cure
  4. Mannish Boy Muddy Waters
  5. Memphis Chuck Berry
Eliminated on 12/16:

  1. Can't Buy Me Love The Beatles
  2. Fairy Tale of New York The Pogue
  3. Golden Years David Bowie
  4. Instant Karma John Lennon
  5. It’s Only Rock And Roll The Rolling Stones
  6. It’s Still Rock and Roll To Me Billy Joel
  7. Little T & A The Rolling Stones
  8. Live With Me The Rolling Stones

Eliminated on 12/17:

  1. Can't Buy Me Love The Beatles
  2. You Got The Silver The Rolling Stones
  3. Walking On The Moon The Police
  4. (What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding Nick Lowe
  5. Suspicious Minds Elvis Presley
  6. Should I Stay or Should I Go The Clash
  7. Spoonful Willie Dixon
  8. Pour Some Sugar On Me Def Leppard
  9. Money (That’s What I Want) Barrett Strong (Motown)
Over the next week the list will be edited, and starting next Music Monday (Yo ho ho: #mm) the list will be whittled down to a manageable size via Twitter.

Keep up with the setlist changes on Twitter:

Then come join me at my
neighborhood bar for a fun evening on Friday the 18th.
Advancing Guitar Lessons:
Washington, D.C.
Professional Musical Fun
for Beginners and Beyond

Monday, December 07, 2009

The Reggae One Drop Rhythm

Another name for the beat in Reggae is 'One Drop'. In this beat, the strong beat is beat three, as opposed to beat one. The first beat is 'dropped'. Hence the term 'One Drop'.

Here's a great example of a One Drop rhythm. Check out the nasty groove created by drummer Carlton "Carly" Barrett and bassist Aston "Family Man" Barrett on Bob Marley's "Trenchtown Rock" from Bob Marley Live!

Here I've created a simple interpretation of that groove for a three piece rhythm section:

Bass: The bass is where the action is in reggae. Check out how the the bass line 'drops the one' on every measure except the last one. Amazing Bass, how sweet the sound indeed!

Guitarists: this is two rhythm parts compressed into one for a trio setting. Usually this guitar part would appear as two separate rhythm instrument parts. One instrument playing only the legato strong beat on beat three, the other playing the staccato 'back beat' on beats two and four.

Also, take note of the voice leading in the upper voices of the guitar chords. It really makes the chord progression perk up.
Advancing Guitar Lessons:
Washington, D.C.
Professional Musical Fun
for Beginners and Beyond

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Turn The Beat Around

Turning the beat around, or Rhythmic Displacement is an excellent way to spice up your rhythm guitar playing. Here is a simple illustration of what it is, and how you can practice turning a simple beat around.

This example is a basic country two-beat. In the pickup bar, we have the typical 'bomp bomp bomp' country music pickup notes. They are a means of signifying the end of a musical phrase, or the beginning of the next musical phrase. You can also signify the end of a phrase with more funk by using rhythmic displacement.

The first full line is a four bar phrase. Three bars of A, followed by one of E. The rhythm played in the bass is identical in every bar. As you play it, simply notice how the change to an E chord punctuates the end of the four bar phrase.

In the last bar of the second line, the bass note on beat three is displaced an eighth note early, and placed on the 'and' of beat two. This leaves you a rest, or 'empty beat' on beat three. In India they call this empty beat the Khali. Practice this phrase over and over until you can play it smoothly. Enjoy how the rhythmic 'balance' gets upset by the new rhythm, but don't lose your balance:

Now we aren't only using harmony to punctuate the phrase, we are using rhythm. Funky!

The third full line, measures 9-12, are the same rhythm as the last line, however the low E is sustained through beat three. Still funky, but it feels a little different without that empty beat on three. Try it:

Finally, as a contrast, and for those of you who are uncomfortable with the funk, here's the four bar phrase with the typical country pickup notes rounding out the last bar. No funk whatsoever:

Now go on and get funky!
Advancing Guitar Lessons:
Washington, D.C.
Professional Musical Fun
for Beginners and Beyond

Follow me on Twitter: @diddleybow

Monday, November 02, 2009

Jam Class, Mother Funker!!!

One of the things I do in addition to private guitar lessons in Washington, D.C., is a rock band class for adults called 'Jam Class'.

Students bring out their electric guitars to the Mid-Life-Crisis Center and rock out together. We rehearse classic rock material in a studio with amps, drums, and a P.A.

Rock on!

This class is specifically for adult students who are tired of playing rock band video games and want to actually play rock music in an ensemble setting.

As it takes place well after bedtime on school nights, I was going to call it 'Adult Jam Class'. I was hoping for the 'Adult Swim' connotation, however, I started getting too many emails with unsavory pictures attached. So, now I'm just calling it 'Jam Class', Mother Funker.

Here are the tunes we've rehearsed in Jam Class this fall or are planning to rehearse in the next few weeks:

Born Under A Bad Sign - Albert King
Cry Cry Cry - Johnny Cash
The First Cut Is The Deepest - Cat Stevens via Sheryl Crow
Have Love, Will Travel - Richard Berry, via the Black Keys
Hideaway - Freddie King
Johnny B. Goode - Chuck Berry
Looking Out My Back Door - CCR
Louie, Louie - Richard Berry
Mind Your Own Business - Hank Williams
Mississippi - Bob Dylan
Satisfaction - The Rolling Stones
She Took A Lot of Pills (And Died) - Robbie Fulks
Should I Stay or Should I Go - The Clash
Sultans of Swing - Dire Straits
Sunshine of Your Love - Cream
(They Call It) Stormy Monday - T-Bone Walker
You Shook Me All Night Long - AC/DC

Drop me an email if you'd like to check out a Jam Class sometime and learn how to Jam! Make sure and ask me to sing the 'Jam Class' jingle for you. It's a doozie!
Advancing Guitar Lessons:
Washington, D.C.
Professional Musical Fun
for Beginners and Beyond

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Hey Jude Flow Chart

Brought to you by the good people at I Love All This:

I do love that. I'll try to be back with some more guitar advice soon....
Advancing Guitar Lessons:
Washington, D.C.
Professional Musical Fun
for Beginners and Beyond

Follow me on Twitter: @diddleybow

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Aerosmith's Famously Displaced Riff:
Walk This Way

Ever since getting the 'Fever' for rhythmic displacement I've been thinking about its place in popular riffage.

Here's another example of rhythmic displacement in a simplified version of Aerosmith's glorious 'Walk This Way' riff.

Once again, four staves, as in this post.

The first two measures make up a very un-funky version of the riff, simply to demonstrate how the the riff would sound if the second iteration of the sequence of four notes were not displaced to a very funky place: the second sixteenth note of beat two.

Play it safe with the first two measures, then make it funky with the second two measures.

Rock on!
Advancing Guitar Lessons:
Washington, D.C.
Professional Musical Fun
For Beginners and Beyond

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Bass Displacement:
"Fever" by Peggy Lee

Hearing "Fever" at Starbucks this morning, I thought: that bass intro is a very simple, elegant example of rhythmic displacement.

So I tweeted a diddley tab.

Only so much you can do with 140 characters, so here's a little expansion:

First line: Musical Notation
I've transposed to Am for ease of use. Capo I to hear in Bbminor. Or transpose it yourself. It's good exercise.

Check out the rhythmic displacement of the first measure in the second measure. In the first measure, C is played on beat 3. In the second, it's displaced one eighth note early, and played on the and of two. The syncopation is given added kick at the end of measure 3, as the melody resolves to the tonic on the last upbeat of the bar, anticipating the downbeat of measure 4.

The Second Line is diddley tab:
One string only. Remember, Capo I to hear in the recorded key of Bb Minor. BbMinor??? Rassa-frassin' Horn keys!

The Third Line is an open position fingering:
This fingering would work well when accompanying a singer. You could ornament the bass line with some hybrid picking and make it sound great!

Fourth Line is 'Lead Guitar' Fingering:
Up an octave for an example of a 'lead guitar' fingering. Doubling the bass player could sound really cool on this. This is still notated with capo I, so be careful if you choose to interpret the articulation marks in the third measure of music as bends. Sliding is more capo friendly. Once you've got the idea, ditch the capo, tweak the fingering, and let 'er rip.
Advancing Guitar Lessons:
Washington, D.C.
Professional Musical Fun
for Beginners and Beyond

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Jam Class and Lesson Rates

DC Guitar's Jam Class offers top notch group and private guitar, bass, songwriting and music theory lessons for the Washington, DC Community.

Please email for current lesson rates.

Be sure to ask about Jam Class, too.