“I’ll Show You” – Dan Kanter’s methods.

There’s not a song that Dan Kanter can’t make a thousand times more interesting on the guitar. There’s not a hit he can’t decode and apply to the acoustic guitar in ways that make you shake your head. And finally, there’s not a synthesizer riff that he can’t manipulates into a smooth melodic stream of consciousness that doesn’t make you surrender and say, “Man, I wish I could come up with riffs like that!”

This is a long overdue tutorial on my part. Many have asked for it and finally, I’ve begun the process. I share with you here the introduction (a full 14 measures long) and the first verse (another 8) of Justin Bieber’s “I’ll Show You” Live in Toronto (2015).

I’ve worked on many of Dan’s arrangements of songs from not only Justin, but from the smoldering and talented, Julia Michaels.  So ya, I feel I have a grip (admittedly a loose one) on Kanter’s very intelligent and always surprising guitar style.

For the first 5 minutes, standard tuning was doable. But, the awkwardness of the fingerings and the string noise put and end to that experiment. Within minutes the “Dan is up to it again” light went on in my brain. It was then that the guitar sounded open and the fingerings were smooth, but regimented.

Finally, I figured out that the second string was also tuned up one-have step, to of course, C. It took another two minutes to see that something was up with string 4. Well, looking at Dan’s hand position wasn’t easy as the camera was not friendly to him in this video. I did catch a glimpse of his second finger on the 4th string’s 2nd fret. It was then that I discovered that Dan had tuned string 4 up one-half step to Eb(D#). What a solution he had come up with to totally make the part ring out!

You will only need your fourth, third, and second strings for this section. Use the thumb, index, middle “claw fingering” with your right hand.

Much more to come.

-Mark

Here is the Guitar Pro score so far:

“I’ll Show You” – Guitar Pro Tab Score

 

Tutorial (YouTube link)

“I’ll Show You” Tutorial

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Ariana Grande meets Soundgarden.

You have to give credit to pop-music songwriters. They know how to conjure up hooks that pull you in and lead you to the land of guilty pleasure that you swore you had abandoned. Take the song “God Is A Woman” from the vocal queen of pop, Ariana Grande. She can deliver real vocal supremacy that is more than enough to perk your ears up. But, in the over-produced world of pop music, there’s always more.

From the start, “God Is A Woman” is a hook monster. The guitar enters immediately with jazzed-up arpeggios loaded with a “Black Hole Sun” vibe that instantly resonates with anticipation and drama. The mastermind of this musical addition must be credited with knowing how the concept of cross-genre composition works. Hats off to foresight!

Playing Tips:

There are five chord forms in this song. Each will require just a little woodshedding to get under your fingers. They are and they aren’t barre forms. I’d rather call them “jazz grips”. Once you get these under your fingers you will be well on your way towards supercharging your chord knowledge and performance on the guitar.

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I recommend playing this on electric guitar, however there is no reason you can’t play it on acoustic. It will be a little more of a struggle of course but, the guitar is a challenge no matter what you wish to do beyond the typical capo up and play easy chords method that is infecting the YouTube airwaves.

I have included a link to the tab here as well as the YouTube tutorial. Have fun my guitar friends!

Guitar Pro PDF

God Is A Woman

YouTube Tutorial

“God Is A Woman” Tutorial

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

 

Sigur Rós – Góðan Daginn – The beauty of arpeggios.

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“Góðan Daginn” – Acoustic Guitar Tutorial (Part 1)

There is no way to do a thorough job on a song as long and dense as this one. Therefore, I will break it up into three videos. This first installment covers the Intro and Verse. Those sections alone take :45 seconds. Imagine that, a real introduction. Most pop songs are heading into the chorus by now.

The acoustic guitar score is brilliant in its non-stop arpeggiated beauty, It serves as a guide of sorts for the massive orchestration that eventually surrounds it. For those of you in the upper-intermediate playing range, this will further develop your playing in terms of what I like refer as “note streaming”. That being a constant flow of notes that are rarely interrupted (if at all) by stops or pauses. This is the perfect introduction concentrated guitar playing. Stay focused and keep your movements even and on the beat.

While not too difficult to play, you must take care to not become complacent and sloppy throughout. It’s very easy to create a lot of string chatter on this part. Make sure to lift your fingers and move quickly and accurately to the next chord. I also recommend using a pick on this but, you should do what comes natural to your playing style. Looking forward to completing this gem!

 

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Here are your links:

Sigur Rós – “Góðan Daginn” Youtube Tutorial

“Góðan Daginn” Guitar Pro Tab/Score

Sigur Rós Website

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

Ayala (Outro) XXXTENTACION Guitar Tutorial

The new album by controversial rapper XXXTENTACION is full of surprises. You wouldn’t recognize him if you know anything about his past releases.

This song is both lyrical and downright gripping. Who else could mix acousitic guitar and piano with such minimalist skill than X.

Then there are the lyrics…

Ohh, ahh, ahh

She showed me the thing love can’t forget

How we fell in love, ohh

I made a list of my regrets

And you were first love, ohh

Oh it hurts, I can’t forget

How we fell in love

Made a list of my regrets …

It would be great if X keeps on this track.

Here is the guitar pro score and video for anyone wanting to play a duo or (if converted a bit) solo arrangement/accompaniment to Ayalya (Outro).

I may tweak the tab a bit more to finish up a couple loose ends.

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TUTORIAL

Alana (Outro) Tutorial

PDF

Ayala

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