How to Play Evil Ways by Santana

evil waysEvil Ways is played in the key of G Minor Dorian. G Dorian is a mode of F Major and both scales share the same notes.

This time, we are going to learn how to play “Evil Ways” as performed by Santana on their self-titled debut album in 1969. The song was written by Clarence Henry, and was originally recorded by Willy Bobo in 1967. It has been said that Carlos Santana detuned his guitar one whole step to play the chords in an open position for the recording.

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How to Play Black Magic Woman by Santana

black magic womanIf you want to learn how to play Black Magic Woman by Santana, this is a great place to get started

Now we are going to take a look at, and try to learn how to play, a song called “Black Magic Woman,” as performed by Carlos Santana in 1970 for the record Abraxas. The song was originally written by Peter Green in 1968 for his band at the time, Fleetwood Mac. The Santana version also blends in a song from 1966 called “Gypsy Queen,” by Gabor Szabo which adds much of the polyphony rhythm to the song. Black Magic Woman is one of Santana’s most popular songs.

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How to play Under my Thumb by The Rolling Stones

under my ThumbIf you want to learn how to play Under my Thumb by The Rolling Stones, this is a great place to get started

“Under My Thumb” was written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards for the 1966 record “Aftermath.” This record was the first to be recorded in the United States and is notable for the instruments not usually associated with the Rolling Stones, such as the Marimba. BIll Wyman uses (most likely) a Maestro Fuzz pedal on the Bass guitar for this song.

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How to play Layla by Derek And The Dominos

Layla by Derek And The DominosIf you want to learn how to play Layla by Derek and The Dominos, this is a great place to get started.

This time we are going to look at the song “Layla” by Derek and the Dominoes. Released in 1970, Layla was written by Eric Clapton and Jim Gordon separately, with Clapton composing the guitar heavy first half, followed by Gordon’s composition of the piano heavy second half. Duane Allman is also featured in this song, playing slide guitar. The final recording of Layla was sped up a small amount, so if you try to play along with the recording your guitar will be (almost but not quite) ½ step flat.

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How to Play Purple Haze by Jimi Hendrix

purple hazeIf you want to learn how to play Purple Haze by Jimi Hendrix, this is a great place to get started.

Purple Haze was written by Jimi Hendrix in 1967 for the record “Are You Experienced.” This was the first single by The Jimi Hendrix Experience that was written by the band. An earlier single titled “Hey Joe” was (possibly) written by Billy Roberts, but Purple Haze became an instant hit and introduced the world to Jimi’s amazing playing, inventiveness, and psychedelic imagery. We can hear Jimi’s Fuzz Face and Octavia pedals in this song, in addition to tricks such as the way he recorded some of his guitar at a slower speed so that when he played it back at normal speed it produced very high notes not otherwise possible on the guitar.

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How to play Voodoo Child by Jimi Hendrix

 voodoo child by jimi hendrixIf you want to learn how to play Voodoo Child by Jimi Hendrix, this is a great place to get started.

This time, we are going to look at the song “Voodoo Child (Slight Return),” by Jimi Hendrix. Voodoo Child was recorded in 1968 for the record “Electric Ladyland” and it has become one of his most popular songs. “Voodoo Child (Slight Return)” is a modified version of “Voodoo Chile,” a 15-minute song Jimi Hendrix recorded the night before “Voodoo Child (Slight Return).” Both songs are said to have evolved from the song “Catfish Blues,” which Jimi played regularly, to honor Muddy Waters.

Key And Scale

E Minor Aeolian is used for the bulk of the song. E Minor Aeolian is a mode of the G Major scale and it is one from which both the Pentatonic and the Blues scales are created. Jimi uses the Blues scale for all of his playing in this song.

E Minor Aeolian = E, F# ,G, A, B, C, D,
G Major = G, A, B, C, D, E, F#, G
E Minor Pentatonic = E, G, A, B, D
E Minor Blues = E, G, A, A#, B, D

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How to Play Cocaine by Eric Clapton

Cocaine by Eric ClaptonIf you want to learn how to play Cocaine by Eric Clapton, this is a great place to get started.

This time we are going to look at the song “Cocaine,” by Eric Clapton. The song was actually written by J.J.Cale in 1976 and Eric Clapton made it popular in 1977 on his record “Slowhand.” I chose “Cocaine” because it is very easy to play and dissect, while still containing many of the important points to remember when writing a great song.

Key And Scale

This song is in E Minor Aeolian, which is a mode of the G Major scale.

E Minor Aeolian = E, F#, G, A, B, C, D
G Major = G, A, B, C, D, E, F#

Eric Clapton uses the Blues scale for all of his guitar playing in this song. The Blues scale is a modified Pentatonic scale and we build a Pentatonic scale by using the 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 7th notes of the Aeolian scale. We omit the second and the sixth notes, leaving us with five notes to choose from and the name “Pentatonic.”

E Minor Aeolian = E, F#, G, A, B, C, D
E Minor Pentatonic = E, G, A, B, D

We create the Blues Scale by adding a Blue note that is outside of the Aeolian scale — a note between the fourth and the fifth (a flatted fifth) — to the Pentatonic scale. This Blue note is the only note that is outside the Aeolian scale that is used in this song by any instrument.

E Minor Aeolian = E, F#, G ,A, (A# Blue), B, C, D
E Minor Pentatonic = E, G, A, B, D
E Minor Blues = E, G, A, A#, B, D

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How to Play Soul Sacrifice by Santana

soul sacrificeIf you want to learn how to play Soul Sacrifice by Santana, this is a great place to get started.

This is the start of a new series of articles in which we choose a song and then break it down harmonically to look at the theory behind it. Though we will show you how to play the song, and there will be tabs and music notation, these are not meant to be note-for-note tabs of the songs. These articles are meant to show you how to play the song, introduce you to music theory, and show you how you might apply it to your own music. This series might also be good for guitarists who are in a cover band and need to play these songs, but want to do it while retaining their own identity and originality.

This time we are going to look at the song “Soul Sacrifice” by Santana. Written in 1969, Soul Sacrifice was one of the band’s first songs. They performed it the same year at the Woodstock festival in Bethel NY and it was considered by many to be one of the highlights of the entire three day festival. The live performance of this song turned Santana into an instant success. This is an instrumental song loaded with powerful drums and guitars. We are going to look at the studio version of Soul Sacrifice from their debut album “Santana.”

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