Thursday, December 30, 2010

John Mayer - Live Intro to "Neon" from Where the Light is Tabulature

I heard this tune in a cabin with a wood burning stove and no electricity last week and the jazzy intro he did really clicked with me. I went googling this week to see if anyone tabbed it but found mostly well-intentioned but incorrect versions penned by the tone deaf Internet masses. Youtube was worse. There was some guy who had somehow managed to record himself playing the bass riff with the timing backwards. No one was doing the triplets, no one was doing the muted ghost notes.. So...

I went into Guitar Tabulature Obsessive Compulsive Disorder mode and bend my ear around it for a few days. I just submitted it to a John Mayer discussion group to chew on. This is a pet peeve of mine, nice people who post tabs and videos of themselves showing others how to play something totally wrong so that it propegates like a virus and then they make videos and it gets worse. That is kind of why I named my Blog Purple Monkey Dishwasher. It's like rewriting Shakespeare in Pig Latin and telling everyone that is how you perform it. Well UCKFAY ATTHAY!

Here's a link: Neon live intro from WhereThe Light Is.PDF


- In measure 1, he plays all those bass runs with thumbed downstrokes.
- In measure 4, he starts the first chord snatch with a slide in. He only does this once (neat).
- Also in measure 4, the (0) on the 4th string and all that follow from time to time on the 4th and 5th I'm pretty sure are missed muted notes, but they sound cool open like that so no worries. In fact I'm glad he missed a few because that was the clue that he was doing those "muties" on the 4th and 5th strings.
- In measure 6, the (0), x, x, is an example of how Mayer uses his thumb for these "muties" and slaps. The first (0) he misses the mute and plays the 4th string open, the next "X" is a slapped with the thumb and the second "X" is a muted ghost note. The guy is all thumbs man!
- A note on muted slaps or clicks, most people seem to slap the whole face of the guitar (A la "More than Words") or they just slap the low E. A great thing to get into is slapping the wound bass string you are going to play next. It's a great time saver (Antoine Dufour taught me that one).
- In measure 7 he frets the 3 note chords (and almost all that follow) by barring with his pinky on the 3rd and 4th strings
- In measure 8 we get the first of many OPEN 6th string thumb slaps. He slaps some and just plucks the others. Mayer has huge thumbs and this is a skill to learn. Go watch some bass vids on youtube if you don't get the sound you want. You can hit all of these first note in a measure low C's with a slap and it would sound great.
- In measure 9 we get into the triplets that I love (that everyone misses). I believe he plays these T(humb) I(ndex) T(humb) but there are many different ways to achieve this. I even tried a left hand slap but the way I've written it seemed to match the recording the best.
- Just to be sure the Triplet things are preceded by a "T" (mute with thumb on 5th string) and then "T" slap with thumb on 5th string - "I" mute with Index on 4th string - "T" Mute with thumb on 5th string).
- Halfway through measure 11 he changes the 3 note chord slightly. It may have just been a great sounding mistake. I'm keeping this in the version I play because it sounds cool.
- After measure 13, the chord snatches after the first open "C" are all slightly different. These could be simplified if you don't want to sound like a MP3 player and play every variation.
- Halfway through measure 21 he hits the open 5th string instead of the 9th fret on the 6th. You could play it either way.
- Also in measure 21 he hits some harmonic by mistake sliding down the 6th string from the 12 fret. I make it by the 6th fret.

So it's what I heard on the recording, you may not wish to reproduce all of the gory detail. I'm happy with this tab.

And if you want to see WHY I tabbed it. It's mostly because of all these videos below. Watch the real one on top for about a minute and then check out these guys. I thank them for sharing and I'm sure they were all well intentioned. The last one is not to bad. I especially l love some of the comments in their channels, both positive and negative.

(backwards guy, I just notices he plays it right the 1st time and backwards almost every time after that)

Hey, he's giving me the finger!

This guy has slowed it down to teach people his version. He seems very nice.

This guy was they closest..

They keep coming!!!!!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Gloucester Battle of the bands 1986

  My recent re-viewing of Scott Pilgrim vs the World brought back memories of Gloucester Teen Talent Battle of the bands. These are one of those rare times where you wish ill will and heaps of misfortune on your co-competitors. Something bad happens to some band during their act like some amp going down or someone breaking a guitar string and you are like "Yeah! Turn up the 'suck-o-meter'! Let's have more of that!".

I guess it's like watching Olympic figure skating and you're screaming at the non-Canadian skaters to fall on their asses or for some trailer-trash husband to come out of an alley with a lead pipe to the knee(or whatever it was in the Kerrigan affair).

The first year we did it in 1986 we had auditioned with one singer, landed a spot and then had to switch singers for the competition (long story). So we had a new singer and only one song we all knew, a cover of 'Everybody wants to rule the world' by Tears for Fears. We were up against 3 or 4 other bands but the one we thought was the best were a group called 'The Related'. Apparently most of them were all actually related somehow, cousins and so forth. We secretly believed the relations had to do with inbreeding and affectionately referred to them as "The Retarded" (political correctness being non-existant in 1986), because we hated them for no reason. We were called 'After the Fact' and they apparently had a nickname for us involving a slang for homosexuals.

Truth be told they were a better band than us. They had a horn section and everything. They also understood about image. They showed up to events (movies, rock concerts they were not playing in) as a group and were kind of all wearing the same clothes (Duran Duran suits of different pastel colors. The guitarist had a 'duster' remember those?) so they beat us handily. I'm not sure what happened to the band but their football linebacker drummer showed up at my door once sell me a vacuum cleaner. If he sold another two he was going to win a trip to Disneyland (we did not buy it). My friend Mike's mother made the guy clean half the house as part of the demo and didn't buy it either! Muhahahahahaha!

The next year we were much more polished and stood a good chance to win but our main competition was a great band called "Back to Front". They had a sampler. GAME OVER! (Ooh my god they have a sampler!). They had a great song called "I'll Wait" and they started the song with the sampler going "I"ll Wait.. I' - I' - I'll Wait!". It was pretty awesome. It looked like they were gonna beat us too, but on the second night, their sampler broke down and the guitarist blew something in his amp and the whole song had no guitar. He basically air-guitar-ed the song. HAHAHAHAHA! There's hope! We went out and nailed a great performance but WE STILL LOST!

Our drummer went out and bought a sampler the next week.

Monday, December 06, 2010

When guys kiss & the Victoria Secrets fashion show on TV

The other day at break one of the guys was discussing the Victoria Secrets Fashion show on TV. This was a TV special where all of the VS models paraded down a big runway on TV in the latest lingerie fashions accompanied by live music from various artists. I missed it because in the same time slot, Bog Sagget was on TV looking for Bigfoot (ok, I forgot Victoria Secrets was on).. This year, Katy Perry was one of the musical guests. I like Katy Perry. I really like the middle 8 section in her Teenage Dream song. Nice lines and hooks in that one (the models too). 

I asked if she did her 1st hit "I kissed a Girl and I liked it", considering the event, and the circumstances, they could have had some fun with that one, but alas.. No.. It was not to be.. At this point one of the guys chimed in with a tidbit of information gleaned from his niece in Calgary Alberta. Apparently word is that in the dance clubs, girls kiss each other to freak the guys in attendance out and garner their interest. Ok. I can see how that would work - then suddenly I was reminded of something from my childhood.

I was in a band at the time, probably 16 or 17 years old, and the drummer and the singer (both guys) were really close friends and they had this bit they would do where they would fake kiss sometimes (another funny tidbit is that their names were also girl names, Like Sandy and Leigh (Lee), but I digress). The trick involved one of them placing his thumb on the other guys eye teeth and then planting his lips on his own thumb. It looks like you are holding the other person's face and the hands hide the fact that there is no touching of the mucous membranes..

I was never comfortable when they'd do that to each other back then. Maybe if it was two Victoria secret's models I would have felt differently.. . ;-)

Eddy Van Cockroach

GROTDFAY 104 2010-11-29 Eddy Van Cockroach by Zartimus

Eddy, my friend Lisa's Madagascar Hissing cockroach (she is into bugs) died last week. She posted something to facebook and condolences poured in. Some guy said he was going to dedicate a poem to Eddy. I thought I'd dedicate a guitar riff of the day to him.

Eddy reminded me of Eddie Van Halen , whose music and guitar playing I grew up with, and so it's something in that style. Eddie has a formula of sorts. Start off with a fast shuffle double-bass drum-beat. Do a pick slide/scrape into a two-handed hammer-on lick on the bass strings, insert wacky verse riff, noodle with pentatonic box patterns low on the neck, throw in some three note per strings scales that make no musical sense but still sound good for some reason. Kick the whole thing up an octave 12 frets and do more pentatonic box licks with more bends this time,  Insert more two handed tapping and do some tremolo picking followed by random whammy-bar action. Dive-bar harmonics and artificial pig squeal harmonics go here. Lather rinse repeat.

Recorded on a Line 6 pod X3 Pro with my Kramer Pacer Deluxe 2.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

The People of Walmart

Scary SCARY site I stumbled across. These are scary frickin' people that shop at Walmart wearing clothes that should have been thrown out after Halloween or burned after the wearer was processed at the police station/shelter/mental hospital. And the bodies make the clothes in this case, not the other way around. Holy Crap! Whoever supplies the captions should be writing for David Letterman...

Check it out in all it's ghastly glory...

Here are a few of my favorites with photo and captions taken from the site. 


He is wearing… a trash bag… as a skirt. I can’t even fathom a reason why! – “Well maybe it was some sort of an emergency.” Who knows what he is going to use the Tupperware for.


Flannel Pimp

(1) Sweet hat. (2) Sweeter sideburns. (3) Yes I believe it Voodoo.


The Incredible Jorts

Let’s hope this new Incredible Hulk style of wearing your jorts doesn’t catch on….or if it does that it at least comes with less fupa.

Hairy Situation

Ughhh, it looks like you got into a fight with a stubborn octopus like 12 years ago that wouldn’t let go. Knock him off already will ya?


Animal from the Muppet Show

Now all we need is Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem for a reunion tour.


I see blue! He looks glorious!

Oh damn, Santa is workin’ it!

Acoustic Fingerstyle Guitarists I really dig!

Here's my who's who of extreme acoustic fingerstyle/body percussion/Heavy Wood guitarists who use alternate tuning.

Thomas Leeb. Discovered him quite by accident by word of mouth at a guitar seminar. Got to meet the man a year later at a Cannington guitar weekend seminar thingy. Amazing player. I love his blend of slap and tap. Wonderful sense of timing and I love the Scratch pad he has taped on the lower bought to get some of his funky sounds! I taped one on my guitar shortly afterward. Here is a vid of "Desert Pirate", one of my faves. You have to see his version of "No woman No cry" and he can get quite mellow too, check out Akaskero.

Andy Mckee. Andy is an awesome guy from Kansas who I got to know through Don Ross's yahoo group and email list. It wasn't long before people on the list began talking about Andy's playing and I soon found myself ordering his latest CD and being blown away by his cover of "Africa". So good were his compositions that pretty soon I had all of his stuff and TAB books from Taiwan. Apparently Taiwan discovered what we would all learn later. Andy ROCKS! They love him there. I also had the occasion to study with him a few times over the years (Big hair Andy and short hair Andy). It was wonderful to be able to sit down and ask him exactly how he did what he did, and to have him show us, and me video it so I could take it back to the woodshed to learn later. A fellow video game-aholic as well. My favorite tune if his has to be "Keys to the Hovercar" (below). He is famous for Drifting and be sure to check out Africa (he is definitely using all the parts of his brain on that one) and his cover of Everybody wants to rule the world.

Antoine Dufour. Antoine is the most technically gifted guitarist I have ever met and seen play up close.Every thing he does with his fingers has a purpose and fngering and fretting selection has been so well-thought out in advance that he always plays his tunes in the most efficient way possible. When I learn tunes like these, I always second-guess the fingering when indicated. EXCEPT for this guy. Just do what the master says an, and you'll be ok. He taught me to do dampened thumbslaps on the bass string you are ABOUT to play. What a good friggin idea! He plays ahead! he also made me re-think fast alternating lines, borrowing right-hand technique from banjo players because the anatomy of the hand is made such that adjacent fingers are not as fast as opposing digits. BOOYA! One of my favorite songs of his is "Song for Stephen" (below) because it is a perfect analysis of his fingering construction. Check out Spiritual Groove, his mellow Catching the Light, and my new favorite "the Drive within".

Preston Reed ( is a guitarist I found out about through Andy Mckee as he is one of his guitar heroes. Preston kind of pioneered the "Over the top" body percussion I think, although many guitarists do a form of it. Preston takes it to the next level. My favs in his roster include "Ladies Night" (below), Slap Funk, and Tribes. One my other favorite Preston reed song is Accelerator, but there's no vids of him playing it, here's a link of an awesome cover by someone else.

Erik Mongrain I only like one song from Erik, I'm not really into his other stuff, but his one song, Airtap, is such a monster awesome tune, that all you really have to do is stand back and just watch the video. I got the music to this last summer (a guitar buddy transcribed it) and I hope to play it one day. Funny story about when I I met Erik at the Canadian Guitar festival a few years ago. I help film these events and when I was between shoots I spotted him on the side stage and walked up to tell him how awesome I thought Air Tap was and his handlers started piling press-kits and CD's in my hands because I was wearing a pass and big can headphones and they thought I was someone important. Doh!

Michael Hedges is a pioneer of finger-style alternate tuning. Before his untimely death in 1997 he helped bring it into the mainstream a bit. He was kind of weird and would do yoga onstage and stuff, and his onstage presence was that of a Stephen Wrightish comedian. he also did strange covers, which was very neat. Buffalo stance by Neena Cherry. Go figure. Jitterboogie is one of my favs, along with Sofa number1 (a Frank Zappa tune) and Layover. Also, Eleven Small Roaches! He has a great bunch of dedicated fans who have tabbed all of his stuff over at

Don Ross is the big guy on my list. Way back in the early 1990's, I had just kinda quit the music scene and was starting college, I happened to encounter a late-night radio program in Ottawa called open air. The DJ, Mike Juunta played a tune by Don called First RideCD's and sent away in the mail for the 3 tabs he had at the time and holed up in a hotel room in Montreal for three days and learned it. I had not dabbled in alternate tunings at all and it really kicked my butt.Check out The First Ride, Dracula and friends, Afraid to Dance, Thin Air , Robot Monster, and Catherine.

Since hearing that tune all those years ago I've been fortunate enough to become a student. Don is Da man when it comes to this kind of guitar playing and he's still cranking out tunes!

There's many more out there, but these guys are my favorites.