The Regal Four: A one-minute tribute to one of the greatest rock bands of all time.

One of Queen’s most unique compositions, “Love of my Life” encompasses all aspects of Freddie Mercury’s writing style. Mixed with Brian May’s angular guitar lines, which are perfectly weaved into Mercury’s complex musical twists of phrase, the magic of Queen becomes clear.

Thier music is not, and never has been, typical of the rock genre. It’s one thing to be progressive, but the music of Queen was a step ahead of that. It’s as though the two men, along with bassist, John Deacon and drummer/vocalist, Roger Taylor, challenged each other to reach for a higher musical consciousness. This divergent and inventive quartet ruled over the musical landscape of their time leading to the ultimate in musical creativity and longevity.

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I chose to feature this excerpt as it contains my favorite Queen-isms. Multi-layered harmonies, excruciatingly beautiful vocal and guitar tones, and an emotional depth of feeling still unmatched by anyone since. May’s ability to place his guitar lines in just the right place without overdoing them is quite remarkable. If that was all he was a master of, he would still go down of one of the greats of all time. But, lest we forget his most enduring legacy, his tone. Yes, that soaring and irresistible tone. I didn’t dare attempt to replicate it exactly as that would have been blasphemous, not to mention time consuming. I did the best I could to capture the aura of the man’s genius.

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The phrasing, the tonal colors, and the execution, are breathtaking. No shredding needed when you can create such melodic gems. Why waste excessive note wrangling when you can paint the world with sounds such as these?

Without question, the team of Freddie Mercury and Brian May rank right up there with the best of all time.

YouTube Cover Version

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Maroon 5’s James Valentine and the Dirty Riff

What were they thinking? A pop song starting out with an intentionally messy acoustic guitar riff? And of all bands to do it? Maroon 5? Well, as soon as you have pop music figured out the wackiness of the genre outflanks you. But, this is an unusually fun riff to play it’s well worth the effort you put it to learn it.

Solving this unusual, but clever guitar part will depend on your alternate picking skill. While not played at supersonic speed, it will nevertheless be challenging if you have not developed a fair amount of speed with your pick. Add to that that unusual amount of “string noise” and you begin to see that this is not your everyday guitar riff so common in these days of everything must sound perfect in pop.

Take your time with this one and it will come. I have given about one minute of how to play the chords to this one. I am not a big fan of making songs easy to play as I feel it leads to complacently for those who need to put more effort and time into their playing.

Guitar Pro Tab:

Girls Like You Tab

Youtube Tutorial:

Girls Like You – Youtube Tutorial

“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

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

 

“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

The Weeknd: “Call Out My Name” Guitar Tutorial.

Original Audio Version

In order to play The Weeknd’s new song, “Call Out My Name” from his new release, My Dear,Melancholy, you will need to tune your guitar down one-half step to Eb tuning.

Once you are tuned and ready, go back and forth between A Minor and E Minor. Once secure, get familiar with the time signature 6/8.

Think, two sets of three beats each:

1-2-3 4-5-6

Now, count that out accenting beats one and four:

(1) 2 3 (4) 5 6

Cycle through the A minor chord two times:

Am (Am) Am (Am)

(1) 2 3 (4) 5 6 (1) 2 3 (4) 5 6

Next, cycle through the E Minor chord the same way:

Em (Em) Em (Em)

(1) 2 3 (4) 5 6 (1) 2 3 (4) 5 6

Notice that you are playing the chords on the strong beats only.

From here, add step two by strumming on each of the six beats making sure to accent one and four continuously. Check the tab!

Guitar Pro Tab

Youtube Tutorial

Lyrics “Call Out My Name” The Weeknd

We found each other

I helped you out of a broken place

You gave me comfort

But falling for you was my mistake

I put you on top, I put you on top

I claimed you so proud and openly

And when times were rough, when times were rough

I made sure I held you close to me

So call out my name (call out my name)

Call out my name when I kiss you so gently

I want you to stay (want you to stay)

I want you to stay, even though you don’t want me

Girl, why can’t you wait? (Why can’t you wait, baby?)

Girl, why can’t you wait ’til I fall out of love?

Won’t you call out my name? (Call out my name)

Girl, call out my name, and I’ll be on my way

I’ll be on my-

I said I didn’t feel nothing, baby, but I lied

I almost cut a piece of myself for your life

Guess I was just another pit stop

‘Til you made up your mind

You just wasted my time

You’re on top

I put you on top

I claimed you so proud and openly, babe

And when times were rough, when times were rough

I made sure I held you close to me

So call out my name (call out my name, baby)

So call out my name when I kiss you

So gently, I want you to stay (I want you to stay)

I want you to stay even though you don’t want me

Girl, why can’t you wait? (Girl, why can’t you wait ’til I?)

Girl, why can’t you wait ’til I fall out of love?

Won’t you call out my name? (Say call out my name, baby)

Girl, call out my name, and I’ll be on my way

Girl, I’ll be on my-

On my way

On my way

On my way

On my way

On my way

On my way

On my way

On my way

On my way

On my way

On my way

On, on

“Find Me” – XXXTentacion’s Guitar Fronting Again

“Find Me” Guitar Tutorial

XXXTentacion has once again placed the guitar front and center in another of his mixes. The young man continues to use the instrument that was missing in the genre since the days of the famous collaboration with Run DMC “Walk This Way”.

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X’s guitar is very unlike Joe Perry’s as there are no wild guitar solos and few power chord excursions. What there is though is pure rhythmic and melodic contours that light up his music.

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For this song you will need a clean electric and delay. Check out the tutorial and I’ll have more to say here.

“Find Me” Tutorial

“Find Me” Guitar Pro Score/Tab