Tab, Sheet Music, Backing Track, Lesson, & Analysis
If you’re new here, this should help you make sense of this new/different/unusual lesson format:
- how these lessons work
- what are stem packs? why would I want that?
- the five-minute daily practice routine
- how to actually get better at guitar
And if you wanna jump ahead to any particular section, here’s the ToC:
When we talk about “the form,” we’re talking about the sections of a song…
…how long each of those sections are…
- how many measures are in the chorus?
- does the first verse end differently than the second verse?
…and in what order those sections are arranged:
- verse / verse / chorus
- intro / verse / pre-chorus / chorus
The INTRO of Just What I Needed is eight measures—four each of these two slightly different rhythms.
VERSE 1 is twelve bars—three times through this four-bar progression.
The PRE-CHORUS is four bars…
…and despite its name, the first time through it doesn’t go to the Chorus:
That SYNTH HOOK section is similar to the VERSE progression, but the last chord is different the second time (A5 instead of G#5).
Then we head into VERSE 2. Since it’s the second time we’re seeing this section on the chart, I’ve condensed it into a single “system.” (We musicians are already using the word “line” to describe a melody, so we call a line of notation a “system.”)
And then the CHORUS throws us a slight curveball by being nine and a half measures long:
We’ll talk about those rhythms and 2/4 bar in a minute.
But for now, we can spell out the order of the sections:
- Verse 1
- Pre-Chorus 1
- Synth Hook
- Verse 2
- Pre-Chorus 2
- Chorus 1
- Verse 3
- Pre-Chorus 3
- Chorus 2
- Chorus 3
You see that thing your brain did when it looked at that list?
Your eyes glazed over and you kinda went yeah, sure, whatever.
That’s a thing that brains do.
If I asked you to memorize this string of letters…
CI AF BI NS AU SA
…you’d have a really hard time doing that.
But if you chunk it together into pieces that have meaning & relevance to you…
CIA FBI NSA USA
…you can remember that much easier.
So instead of that undifferentiated list of song sections I bulleted out above, think of it like this:
- Intro – Verse – PC – Synth break
- Verse – PC – Chorus – Solo
- Verse – PC – double Chorus – Outro
Waaaaaay easier to grasp.
(And believe it or not, the whole purpose of writing charts is to make music easier to understand.)
Just What I Needed is all power chords, which (in theory) takes away some of the clues we normally use to determine a song’s key.
But in practice, the key is pretty obvious.
We have E, A, B, C#, & G#…
That’s five of the six chords that are naturally in E major:
Music theory is just giving names to commonly occurring things.
But here’s the rub: if you don’t have a visceral, non-intellectual feel for the thing you’re giving a name to, you’re wasting your time.
“Hey that thing you just did—did you know it has a name?”
is a million times more powerful than
“Raising the fifth of any major triad by a whole step transforms it into its relative minor.”
Having an explicit understanding of rhythm is a HUGE lever for sounding more badass.
But that’s nearly impossible to do by starting with notation and time signatures and whatnot.
For example, we can break this down like so:
…but if you’re not listening to the sounds while you look at the dots, those concepts are unlikely to stick in your mind.
So I’ve created synchronized notation for the intro & chorus:
You can loop sections & slow them down, and the cursor will remain in lockstep with what you’re hearing.
It’s an excellent way to get clarity on the rhythms, which in turn will make your playing sound more confident.
Elliot Easton plays a perfect solo on this: aggressive and energetic, but so melodic that non-guitarists sing along.
It’s not exactly easy, but it’s perfectly manageable… if you go slowly and take it one measure at a time.
Luckily for us, SoundSlice makes it a breeze to:
- …a section, measure, or beat…
- …and slow it down as necessary.
The Backing Track
“Backing Track” doesn’t really do this justice.
But “stem pack” is a term I made up, so no one knows what the hell that is.
Basically, it’s a painstakingly recreated cover of the song:
- arranged in the DAW (Logic, Studio One, or DIY)
- with each instrument on its own track
- so you can solo (isolate) parts to learn them
- mute parts to create “guitaraoke” tracks
- loop sections
- slow things down without affecting the pitch
And there’s a professionally made chart that corresponds with the DAW file 1:1—the stuff that happens in measure 47 in the DAW is written in measure 47 on the chart.
I want to give you better tools for learning songs (and then show you how to use them).
If you click here, you can grab (for free):
- professional chord chart (pdf)
- DAW session files (Logic & Studio One)
- individual mp3s + MIDI tempo map (if you want to DIY in Reaper/Ableton/GarageBand/etc)
- my patch for HX Stomp/Helix
I’ve Eliot Easton play a few different guitars:
- Lead III
- Les Paul
Of these the Les Paul seems to get used the most.
No matter which guitar he picks, it’s pretty much always into a Marshall half stack.
Here’s an HX Stomp patch with dirty Plexi sounds & some of my go-to enhancers. Kick on the Heir Apparent for the solo.
I’ve tested it with a Tele and a Melody Maker; you’ll probably want to adjust based on your guitar.
The Wrap Up
If you’ve read this far, it’s time to pick up your guitar and get playing!
You can grab all the files and whatnot (for free) here: