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  • 30 Days to Better Guitar Playing

  • 30 Days to Better Guitar Playing

  • john mayer

    Riff of the Week: Belief by John Mayer

    by Simon James

    The first riff of the week comes from vocalist and guitarist John Mayer and involves some really cool blues 6th slides across the 5th and 3rd strings, a little bit of thumb work on the 6th string and some hybrid picking.

    The riff is in four parts each of which is a bar long and is based around chords Dmin7, Gmin, and C before returning to the Dmin7.

    All of the root notes of the chords are played on the on the 6th string with the thumb of your fret hand and involve sliding up and down the neck for positioning. This allows you to play two note chords a string apart without too many awkward changes. Warm up by playing the root notes first as the two 1/8 notes at the beginning of each bar.

    John Mayer is known for incorporating a good deal of hybrid picking to his playing. Often he uses thumb and finger but in this instance he is using pick and ring finger. For your pick hand play the root notes and the 5th string notes using your plectrum and with your ring finger play the notes on the 3rd string. This technique will allow you to play the fingered notes softly as well as adding texture to your sound by enabling you to slap and pop the string against the fretboard at will.

    The two note chords go in intervals of 6ths on the 5th and 3rd strings. I recommend you play the higher notes of each two note chord with your 3rd and 2nd fingers thus allowing you to slide into the second two note chord with your 2nd and 1st fingers.

    Timing the slides here can be tricky and sometimes the notation for slides and bends on the guitar can be a little confusing. Begin by playing the lower note of the high two note chord first on the second 16th note of the 3rd beat. The higher note can then be played on the 1/8 note whilst keeping the first note still playing. Then slide them both down together to the second two note chord on the 4th beat. The higher note can then be played to end the riff on the second 1/8 note of the 4th beat.

    This is the same for all of the four changes except for the final Dmin7 chord where you slide upwards a tone on the last 1/8 note. The timing of the slides is very important so spend lots of time working slowly on the intonation to the make changes clean so that your riff will sound as sweet as when John Mayer plays it!

    john myaer belief    
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