XXXTENTACION bares his soul on “Depression and Obsession”.

Less definitely is more when you are trying to get a message into a song. The less clutter instrumentally, the less business in the harmonies and sections the better. It enables the vocal part to stand out and brings every nuance to the forefront. On “Depression and Obsession” by the late Alternative, Hard Rock, Nu-Metal, Rap, and Hip-Hop-influenced artist, XXXTENTACION (Jahseh Dwayne Ricardo Onfroy), this is certainly the case.

Take a somewhat rough acoustic guitar part, mix it with a tight beat and let the vocals do the rest. I’ve gone to great lengths to make this tutorial as close as possible to the original. This is not an “Easy Guitar” version, which serves collect views and deceives many to believe that anyone can strum along captured the vibe of a song that is far deeper than they could ever imagine. No, this version shows the rough edges and the way to play it with expression.

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You will use only three chords throughout this song. But, in these three chords be prepared to dig deep if you want to bring life into this magnificent, minimalistic expression of darkness and pain.

PERFORMANCE NOTES: I’ve decided to use Drop-D tuning for this version. The reason is that I hear the lowered sixth string ringing out in two specific places. It makes the chords slightly more difficult to play but, I feel that to be authentic in replicating other’s songs, you should attempt to get as close as possible. The only chord that may take more work is the GMaj7. For that chord try to land your pinky first. It will take slow practice but, that chord shape comes up a lot in an Am/G context in many songs.

Here is the tutorial:

Depression & Obsession Tutorial

Here is the PDF of the tab:

Tab:

Guitar Pro Tab

 

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“Youngblood” – 5SOS continue strong with their irresistible, slippery and quirky riffs and rhymes.

The new song, “Youngblood” by Five Seconds of Summer (5SOS) is one of their better offerings. The chorus riff alone is worth learning off of this one. I examine the guitars parts for you and put into perspective how effective layered guitar lines (even easy pop ones) can be.

The version I present to you here is perfect for a full-band rendering. This is not what I like to call a “strum and grin” cheese version. This is playin’ it real.

I have pulled out what I have interpreted after a once over with the song yesterday. I may tweak things a little more as I listen, especially in the bass during the chorus. When I do, I will re-send the tab and comment here on additions or changes.

Have fun!

Guitar Pro Tab

Youngblood Guitar Pro Tab

YouTube Tutorial

Youngblood Guitar Tutorial

A 1:01 “It’s Strange” cover takes off!

Acoustic Guitar Tutorial for  “It’s Strange” original by Louis the Child (Feat. K. Flay).

For this tutorial I think it’s fair to warn you that you’d better be  ready to work that right hand. Guitarist Ashley Juno is a firecracker of a player and is off the charts on this one minute barrage.

Handling both electric and acoustic guitars with ease this young lady is breathing fire into the word of pop and rock covers. She plays with an creative aggression not seen for a long time. Finally!!!!

I have provided the tab and tutorial for the first two measures! What? Why only two measures? Well, there is so much going on that I was not leaving any detail out of this wild acoustic guitar display. The into consists of only two chords, D Major 7 and an E minor 7. They are root 5 structures and will certainly get you up to speed on the shapes.

The challenge will be in the right hand. Well, I’ll have more to say about that soon!

“It’s Strange” Guitar Pro PDF

Youtube Video:

“It’s Strange” – Youtube Tutorial

Ed and Andrea Make a “Perfect” Match

“Perfect” Guitar Tutorial

This guitar tutorial  for the song “Perfect”, written by Ed Sheeran, should present few problems if you are an intermediate and aboveplayer. The song is exclusively played in the arpeggio style using the well-know I – vi – IV – V chord progression.

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This progression is still used today as almost a novelty (an insult if there ever was one) and has succumbed to the “extremely tired” I – V – vi – IV juggernaut that has produced so many lightweight pop offerings due to its ease of play and perfect fit for simple melodic doodling.

The song is in A Flat Major but of course, I’ve placed a capo on the first fret and played as in G. Hey, why struggle? I used a pick on this guitar part even though Ed favors a finger style approach on just about everything he plays. Additionally, I used my Taylor Koa instead of an electric.

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Keep your wits about you at the end of the chorus as the little interlude is the halfway point of the song. I’ve fingered that with all open strings after the root notes (although the D chord has the typical F# in the bass).

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“Perfect is a great song and an even greater collaboration with star-struck Ed Sheehan more than holding his own (relative to his genre) with the master vocalist Andrea Bocelli.

“Perfect” Guitar Pro PDF

“Perfect” Tutorial

Justin Bieber’s “Fast Car”

“Fast Car” by Justin Bieber (Live Cover) Tutorial

I’ve put this post up in order to “house” the Guitar Pro score of “Fast Car” by Justin Bieber that I transcribed. Some have had a hard time getting the link to work on Dropbox. Sorry about that.

Here is the link:

Fast Car

In addition, since it’s a tutorial on the live version I’ve had questions about the basic, and alterations of, the guitar strumming pattern for the song. I’ve also had more than a couple questions about the the outro section. Justin seems to “improvise” his way out of the tune thereby creating some very interesting rhythmic devices. It is a little tricky as Justin has clearly learned a thing or three from Dan Kanter🙂

Here are the links to part 1 and 2 of my tutorial set for Justin’s unique and guitar-friendly cover.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Lorde’s Three Shades of “Green Light”

Lorde’s new single Green Light is a study in contrasts for a guitar cover/tutorial/play-through. It’s the kind of song that grows on you after a couple listens. But, still you sit and ponder. It is worth it? But then you realize that this one has something to work with, it does have merit after all! After listening to what seems like a patchwork of disjointed ideas scattered about it soon becomes clear in the mind of the listener that Green Light does what all pop songs are programed to do.

66c454136a8b9858252bf1bc4124d64bThe content is not heavy. Basically, we have a 5 chord pop song like many others. Where as Green Light revs up slowly and patiently, most pop songs don’t have the patience for such maneuvering as their game is always centered on getting to the point early and often. It’s a mainstay of popular music. Lorde, is a “developer”. Her tendency is to take sparse material and dial things up as the minutes pass. Green Light is no exception,

The pre-chorus/chorus sections are a thing of lighthearted genius as a masterful but typical riff takes over that lights up the song with such energy that even Lorde can’t stay in control (check 3:03 of the video).

For your part, keeping the chorus riff even and controlled is no easy task on guitar, especially acoustic. Keep your right hand solid and bear down on the strumming pattern. That is, if you are covering it at it’s recorded tempo.

I can see this section played a little slower without damaging the intention of the writer. Experiment and see what you come up with.

-Mark

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Here is the guitar tutorial:

“Green Light” Acoustic Guitar Tutorial

Here is the chord chart for “Green Light”:

“Green Light” Chords PDF

 

 

The “Issues” of Julia Michaels.

A Textbook Acoustic Guitar Accompaniment

Say what you will about pop music, but it does have quality players and producers if you look for them. Take this performance by Julia Michaels with Dan Kanter on guitar. It’s nothing but beautiful and expertly performed. Dan Kanter is the best guitar accompanist around. His work on Justin Bieber’s acoustic “What Do You Mean” opened up the world to just how good a guitar part can be behind a pop vocalist.

Why Dan?

Dan raises the bar when it comes to harmonic choices in his playing. Give him three chords, four chords, five chords, it matters not. Dan will take what are usually easy throw away guitar forms and turn them into incredible soundscapes that lift the song beyond what most would deem possible.

Dan’s Method

RvnIg3c_In this song, Dan has tuned his guitar up one half step. Oh that Dan, you never know what he has up his sleeve. This will, of course, put more stress on your fingers as the string tension will be higher. Don’t worry if you have a smooth playing acoustic. If not, be advised that your fingers may not be happy with you. Read on for a couple solutions I’ve come up with.

 

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For her part, Julia Michaels was nothing short of fabulous. Maybe a little nervous at first? Well, who would fault her. The nervousness did not last long as Dan’s guitar lifted the session and Julia picked up on that energy immediately. Her vocal performance is fabulous and I would dare say that it rivals the original. A wonderful artist in her own right she has also co-written works for Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez! This gives her big street credentials and should keep her busy for quite a while.

Solutions to the Dan Dilemma

My solution to the “tuned up” Dan guitar was to simply capo on fret one. The only reason I did this was to avoid the obvious sound of breaking strings as people who watch this tutorial attempt to tune up. Heaven’s no. I’m not going to be responsible for that mess. Another solution? Play it in the original key of Ab major. One warning, you will all but lose any open strings. My advice is to either capo, tune up, or play in open position (without the capo) and sing it in the key of G major. Whatever you chose will depend on your experience and finger strength.

And Finally…

Have fun with this upper intermediate to lower advanced guitar part and please, don’t ask me to make it easier for you. It would be irresponsible of me to do so. Hey, eventually you have to deal with the reality that playing guitar is hard work and sometimes you have to step it up and push yourself.

Here is a link to your guitar pro pdf:

“Issues” julia Michaels Guitar Pro Tab

Here is the tutorial link:

“Issues” Guitar Tutorial

 

-Mark