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

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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

“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

“The Mountain Stream” – A student’s journey towards the mastery of the score and a teachers paradigm shift.

“The Mountain Stream” is a wonderful guitar composition by Sveinn Ehthorsson. Mr. Ehthorsson runs a wonderful guitar website, The Guitar School http://www.classicalguitarschool.net/en/. I’ve used this site for many yea2014-12-25 00.10.38rs in my public school guitar teaching and have been very happy with it. One of my current students, Michael, is working on “The Mountain Stream” for an upcoming evaluation at his high school. He is doing very well so far and we both absolutely LOVE this piece. I have included a recording that we did of the first minute or so of the music. Once Michael completes the piece we will record the entire four pages. The score for the work is available on the website. Here is the sound clip of the first section of Michael’s performance of “The Mountain Stream”. WE recorded it on Pro Tools 9 using a Shure 137 condenser mic about one foot away from his guitar’s soundhole angled in towards the bridge slightly.

The following is a brief look at how Michael has influenced me. Far be it for a teacher to be influenced by a student right? Wrong. If you are not learning from your students then something is out of balance.

oldyamahaTHE STUDENT INFLUENCES HIS TEACHER

You know I love to create music. Just create. No music on paper. Just a guitar and an idea. However, my conservative side, which is much larger that it may appear, was honed in the early days of my playing when technology was in book form. No aids, no shortcuts, just the music. I learned to play on a Yamaha classical guitar, which I still have at my studio. It is worn, beaten, doesn’t play well, and is fading fast. But, in it is the beginning of a lifetime of guitar playing, studying, and teaching that has brought me further than I could have ever dreamed.

My student, Michael, is discovering this same joy. Michael is dedicated, serious, task-oriented, and talented. I say this because teaching Michael keeps me keenly aware of my roots in music. I love to study music in all forms and to be honest I miss that part of my musical life. The reality is that when you teach and have successful students, you teach more. Your “alone time” with the guitar becomes scarce. It starts to dwindle down to spasms of random time. You begin to realize that you have to fight to stay on top of your musical goals. In the end, I have realized that I must be more like Michael. I must become more focused and driven in terms of working on more structured guitar music. I’ve created a lot of original acoustic music that I’m very proud of, so I am in the process of a shift of priorities in a sense. I want to be Michael again.

Mark