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!!!!!


Drazcmd said...

Thank you very much, I learned the rest of the song a while back, but have been having a lot of trouble with the very last part of the opening intro... this finally helped me finish up learning this song :) Thanks!

Drazcmd said...

And yes, on a sidenote I agree about greenshirt being really close.. I was actually trying to that video after I gave up on figuring the stuff out with my slowdowner before I saw this lol