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Learn Guitar: Play Creedence Songs On Guitar
Anyone who has bought an "easy-play" guitar book and tried to
play a Creedence song on guitar will know the frustration and
disappointment as the sound of the first wrong chord echoes
across their practice room.
The problem is Creedence songs seem easy to play (that's why they
turn up in so many beginners guitar books), however like every
thing, there is a trick to getting something so simple to sound
like the recorded version.
John Fogerty is the lead guitarist and songwriter behind the
popular Creedence songs. John is a master of understatement on
guitar who understands that true technique is the ability to be
able to create a simple memorable musical phrase (guitarist's
often call these phrases riffs) that people can immediately
identify with a particular song. Guitarist's often call these
Within the first three seconds of any Creedence song you can tell
which song you are listening to. These guitar riff's are like
musical "number plates" that help the audience identify the song
... and they work!
Listen to the first five notes of "Down On The Corner", the riff
un mistakenly belongs to that song. Whereas a guitarist of lesser
caliber than John Fogerty could waffle on with dozens of notes
that would have little impact on the listener.
John is also the master of the basic three minute radio song.
Most Creedence songs range between three to four minutes in
duration which is ideal for radio airplay. Three minute songs
are the favorite length for radio stations as they allow for the
maximum number of advertisement slots per hour that can be sold
thereby creating the most revenue for the radio station and of
course the more radio friendly the song is the more likelihood of
the song getting played on air.
The first issue when playing Creedence songs on guitar is how to
get that Creedence sound. The chord progressions look simple, why
don't they sound like the record?
There's two main reasons why most guitarists don't get that
Creedence sound on their guitar: (a) Most Creedence songs in the
"easy play" style books are written in a different key than the
recorded version. (b) for certain songs John Fogerty uses a
guitar that is tuned differently than standard tuning.
Standard guitar tuning is:
6th string = E
5th string = A
4th string = D
3rd string = G
2nd string = B
1st string = E
John Fogerty's guitar tuning for songs such as "I Heard It
Through The Grapevine", "Run Through The Jungle", "Midnight
Special" etc., is:
6th string = D
5th string = G
4th string = C
3rd string = F
2nd string = A
1st string = D
Basically it's your standard guitar tuning a whole step lower
(two frets), this creates a big, rich, dark guitar sound and also
makes the strings easier to bend because there is less tension on
Another tip for playing Creedence songs on the guitar is to use
an effect called "tremolo", you can hear great example of what
the tremolo effect sounds like if you listen to the first chord
of midnight special.
Tremolo is an electronic effect that was standard on many
amplifiers built in the 70's amps such as the Fender Twin reverb
and Kustom amps had two controls in the tremolo section of the
One control was "depth", which was the amount of the effect you
could mix with your original sound. The other control was "rate"
which was used to control the speed or rate of repeats of the
effect per minute.
When you play Creedence songs on the guitar keep this in mind
some songs are standard tuning and other songs use the whole step
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