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Learn Guitar Online, Chuck Berry - Three Tips for Rock and Roll Guitar
Chuck Berry is, without a doubt, the most influential and imitated
rock guitarist. It's arguable that Rock and roll was born with
Chuck Berry. Whether it's the opening lick from the Beach Boy's "
Surfin' U.S.A." or the guitar riff from Michael J. Fox's "Back To
The Future" movie, Chuck Berry's guitar style is instantly
His hit songs of the late 1950s and early 1960s not only defined
rock guitar, they defined the form and content of early rock and
roll music. Berry's hit "Johnny B.Goode" is one of the most
popular rock songs of all time.
Here are three tips to help you play authentic Chuck Berry style
Tip 1: Learn the twelve bar blues song form in all keys.
Many of Chuck Berry's hits were in the twelve bar blues format,
an example in the key of G would be:
Johnny B.Goode is played using this format. the interesting thing
about Chuck Berry is that he is known for simply walking out on
stage and playing his songs in different keys each night ... this
definitely keeps his backing band on their toes.
To be able to play along with Chuck's songs it's important to be
able to play the blues in all keys, for example you may have a
version of Johnny B.Goode recorded in Bb, and your friend may
have a version of the same song recorded on a different date when
Chuck decided to play the song in the key of F.
Of course this keeps the songs interesting for Chuck who has been
playing the same songs for many years, however it can be tricking
if you don't recognize the unique sound qualities of each
Here's some more examples in a variety of popular keys:
key of F
key of Bb
key of C
Tip 2: Learn the blues scale in each key
Chuck Berry's lead guitar style is based on the blues scale an
example of the blues scale in the key of G would be:
G, Bb, C, Db, D, F.
Chuck who use this basic blues scale and often make slight
variation for musical effect depending on the song Chuck would
either play blues scale with an added 2nd resulting in this
hybrid "G" blues scale:
G, A, Bb, C, Db, D, F.
Berry would also play his same scale , with an added harmony note
a forth below the melody note resulting in a scale played in
example of descending hybrid blues scale in key of G using double
melody note = Bb, harmony note = F // melody note = A, harmony
note = E // melody note = G, harmony note = D etc.
Tip 3: boogie-woogie bass patterns
Berry created his trademark rhythm guitar sounds by adding in the
6th and flattened 7th notes.
Instead of playing a whole bar of a eight note rhythm based on a
single major chord, Chuck Berry would break up the sound be
adding a major sixth chord on the third and seventh eight notes.
This would lock into the snare drum beat and provide a solid rock
example of boogie-woogie rhythm in the key of G shown as eigth
notes (eight notes to a single bar), counted 1&2&3&4& = 1 bar,
when counting in this manner the major sixth chord occurs on the
2 and 4.
GGG6GGGG6G = 1 bar
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