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  • 30 Days to Better Guitar Playing

  • 30 Days to Better Guitar Playing

  • john mayer

    Lick of the Week: Gravity by John Mayer

    by Simon James

    In this lesson we will be looking at how to play the intro to Gravity by John Mayer taken from the live version on the Live from Abbey Road EP.

    This tune is particularly effective for practicing Blues Phrasing as you have small sections of single note phrases punctuated by chord fills. This means that your improvisations have to be concise and your rhythm play solid so that you can interchange satisfactorily between the two. The emphasis in this piece should be on leaving the space between the phrases thus allowing the tune to breath.

    john mayer gravity  

    The first key element to note in this study is the 12/8 time signature which is a way of playing the blues shuffle that is much slower and heavier that the more common 4/4 shuffle.

    The licks are formed around a C Caged shape of a G chord and an inversion of a C major chord. An important point to notice now is which notes are used to construct each phrase. Each of these single note improvisations are based around three notes E-G-A that lie within with the G Major Pentatonic Scale. Begin each phrase by playing up through those three notes. When playing over a G, the A is bent up to a B, or returns from a C to a B (as in Bar 5). The B being the Major 3rd of the G allows for a balanced conclusion to each lick which is pleasing on the ear.

    When playing over the C the licks finish on either an A or a G (the 6th and 5th of the chord) which although they are strong notes of the chord they do not complete the licks as definitely as the Major 3rd. This creates tension and release in the phrase which is resolved effectively when returning to the G and by the double stop licks in between.

    The two note chord or double stop licks are based around the C Caged shape of G and the inversion of C. Phrases like these appear in much of the playing of Jimi Hendrix on tunes such as Little Wing, Electric Ladyland, Angel and Castles Made from Sand and are tremendous fun as well as being fairly simple to play. It is very important that you time them well. In the notation you will see they do not always come into the lick at the same point in each bar. Listen very closely to the recordings and study the notation well so that you can really work on playing them in a way that ensures that your phrases drift in and out in the same way as those played by John Mayer do.

    The final points to look out for are the use of accents and dynamics. These are real key elements in Blues phrasing that add texture and contrast to your solos and must not be overlooked. Some of these techniques have been marked in the notation below but to really get the feel right listen very carefully to the recording and try and copy exactly what you hear from the guitar part on the recording.


    Related Posts:

    1. Riff of the Week: Belief by John Mayer

    2. 4 Must Know Ronnie Earl Blues Turnarounds

    3. Double Stops and 6ths: Using Two Strings to Improvise

    4. 3 Essential Jimmy Page Blues Licks

    5. Using Minor and Major 3rds in Blues Soloing