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.
Here is the Guitar Pro score so far:
“I’ll Show You” – Guitar Pro Tab Score
Tutorial (YouTube link)
“I’ll Show You” 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.
Alana (Outro) Tutorial
“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:
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.
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.
The 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.
Here is the guitar tutorial:
“Green Light” Acoustic Guitar Tutorial
Here is the chord chart for “Green Light”:
“Green Light” Chords PDF
An Acoustic Duo Cover
“Town Theme” written by the prodigious Anime composer Nobuo Uematsu, is a short but alluring piece of music. Consisting of a light texture with a hypnotic rhythmic movement, the melodicism embedded in the sections gives it the staying power it needs for its role in the game, Final Fantasy.
I chose to cover “Town Theme”theme using a acoustic guitar duo format. My obsession with random improvised harmonies was perfectly suited to the music’s construction. Not that the work needed my help mind you, it was just my way of interpreting the “hidden harmonies” one hears when the obsession with music runs deep in your brain.
Like all great composers Uematsu gets to the techniques that color otherwise plain tonal music. This is where the theme becomes legend. An ordinary composer would struggle to rise to such heights with such a project. Writing of this type can be an exercise in frustration as the limitless creative powers one has are kept at bay due to the reality of keeping the music close to home in terms of listenability and ultimately, commercialism.
The first few seconds of “Town Theme” are telling. A very clever two-measure introduction opens with an artful C major arpeggio. In the following measure the composer wastes no time and goes for the gold medal with a beautiful second-inversion iv6 chord. The Fm/C substitutes for the dominant (as it’s prone to do) giving measure 3 the push it needs to move forward like a bright, sunny, and brisk Sunday afternoon drive.
In measures 9-10, an absolutely perfect cadence is set up to put and end to the first melodic statement. The progression, V I vi V2 bVI I5 V I is nothing short of mesmerizing.
Is it genius writing? Maybe not being that the role o the theme is to bring one back to the center. But, I would challenge you who are composers to attempt such writing using the obvious restrictions during your process.
You will come out a better writer as you reach deeper into multi-part writing. Keeping track of all voices and rhythms at your disposal your creative power will grow.
Mark Jeffery Campayno
“Send My Love (To Your New Lover)”
Acoustic Guitar Tutorial and Score
Okay, I admit it. I have been annoyed by Adele’s music. Why? Well, it turns out that I’m as susceptible to radio/media overkill as much as anyone. However, On July 25th 2016 at approximately 2:30 pm I was sitting at a red light about a half mile from the studio.
Lo and behold I hear this music…this guitar and bass drum. Then, I hear the voice. Instantly, I knew it was her. I’m thinking no not again! But, this was different. This song cut through my musical being like a knife. The songs ends and the light turns green. I rush into the parking lot, into the
I dial in the song on YouTube and the studio and drop everything.That day, and my opinion of Adele changed. This two-chord guitar gem has taught me another valuable life lesson. Judging based on how you think things are is a tragic mistake. The wonder woman of music has done it again…lest you think you can be this creative with just two chords an acoustic guitar and a drum:) Okay, enough of that.
Here is what I have so far of the guitar and percussion part for the song. I will have it finished tomorrow and will turn this into the finished product. This should suffice for the next 12 hours.
Guitar Score PDF:
Send My Love (To Your New Lover) GTR
Percussion Score PDF:
Send My Love (To Your New Lover) PERC
Here is the YouTube Link for my tutorial:
A Nylon String Guitar Original Work
This “classical guitar” work in the new acoustic style is by far my favorite of the ones I’ve written so far. Both its sound and construction are exactly what I look for in instrumental guitar works. Like anything else that comes as a pleasant surprise, this was one of those sessions where everything came together. I must say however, that I never go into a session with a preconceived idea, well at least not one that is carved in stone. My brain doesn’t work that way even though I can be very conservative and by the book in other areas of performance and study.
I go in to such sessions randomly trying not to get caught up in the guitarists mindset that can plague your endlessly. The thoughts and schemes such as what key? What scales or chords? Should I go into an altered tuning or not? Should I play fast or slow? That does nothing more than push your spirit into a one-dimensional force bent on being traditional. Traditional for the sake of tradition. Not to pay homage to it, but to be bound by it.
I don’t remember consciously doing this but it has a logical rhythmic flow to it. The piece starts out by stating the melody in between a very dense foundation
of dark arpeggiated chords. I overdubbed some, but not all of the harmonics onto the work as a decorative effect. I, like many non-guitarists, tend to find them aurally attractive and very desirable especially on acoustic guitar.
The slurred sections were not easy but flowed surprisingly well considering that I had no plan for incorporating them. I’m very happy with how they turned out. It’s my climbing Mount Everest moment as that are fairly athletic. It will take quite a few minutes to pull them back under my fingers in that exact configuration. However, I must take the time to score out the work so as to codify it. In that way, it becomes “official”, solid, unbending. Unless, of course, I go back and change the score.
As musicians, we all have areas that are endemic to our playing. I love the angular in music, but to produce it well is not easy. This was one time that it happened without the usual struggle and gnashing of teeth. The fleeting moments of non-compliance with the voices in our heads that would doubt us.The total control one has sought from the beginning of the journey. However, I’m sure I’ll go back to the struggle until I can take control of angular and the unexpected in my playing.
Thank God for the guitar.
-Mark Jeffery Campayno