Anderson .Paak’s name has a dot.
The dot stands for detail.
It’s a reminder to himself to pay attention to detail, because “people take you as seriously as you take yourself.”
Oftentimes we’re in such a hurry to develop our badassery that we forget it’s the sum of paying attention to thousands of little details.
It’s easy to get discouraged by just how many details need our attention.
You’ll never attend to them all. But you can get started. And you can keep moving.
Pick something that’s small enough that you can fix it today.
Do it again tomorrow.
He says we get overly focused on subjects that are easy to talk about. If the teacher can write it on the blackboard, it makes a good lesson topic, so we’re more likely to learn that idea.
But there are other more nuanced subjects that get the short shrift, despite being of equal or greater importance.
He recommends working on your time feel by slowing things waaaay down.
He sets his metronome to 60 bpm.
He THINKS and VOCALIZES the rhythmic subdivision before he tries to play it.
He starts with 16th notes:
- 1e+a 2e+a 3e+a 4e+a
- (or if you’re hip to rhythmic solfege: takadimi takadimi takadimi takadimi)
Then he takes it to 8th notes
- 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +
- (or Tadi Tadi Tadi Tadi)
And then to quarter notes
- 1 2 3 4
- (Ta Ta Ta Ta)
Bob is a professional, operating at the peak of his craft. And here he is playing the most beginner of exercises, a major scale at an “easy” tempo. And yet…
“In four notes, one note was late, one note was early, another one was late. It’s all there for me, if only I’m listening. Those quarter notes were sloppy. ‘Major scale’ doesn’t mean ‘beginner,’ and an advanced piece of vocabulary doesn’t necessarily mean advanced… if you’re playing them slowly enough.”
Reminds me of something Bob Palmieri once told me: “you should never try to beat your fastest speed without also trying to beat your slowest speed.”
This month in GuitarOS: The System, we’re tackling British Invasion songs.
One of them is Waterloo Sunset by The Kinks.
There are a bunch of little things to learn from this tune.
Let’s start with the INTRO.
The electric guitar is playing a 16th note pattern on the note B:
- it’s mostly 1 +a 2 +a 3 +a 4 +a / Ta dimi
- with 1e+a / Takadimi on the first beat of the second measure.
Here, the acoustic guitar is strumming a static B chord.
So what’s the deal with all these slashes?
- It’s because the bassist is changing the lowest note.
- (He’s going down the E major scale.)
- But if neither guitarist plays this…
- …why do we have the bassist’s part written in our chart?
It’s a courtesy. If you’re standing on stage strumming that B chord and you hear the bass line moving, you’re going to have a moment of panic where you wonder if you’re doing something wrong.
(Of course, if you’re playing the song solo, you should probably figure out a way to incorporate the bass parts into your arrangement.)
Here in the PRECHORUS there’s a spicy chord we should look at.
- It’s an F#m(maj7), or “F sharp minor major seven”
- Minor major? How can it be both?
- The chord has the flat third, which makes it minor.
- But it contains the note one fret below the octave/root, which is what makes a major chord into a major 7 chord.
- It’s a minor chord… with the major seventh.
We hear this all the time in Cuban montunos.
(Click the image to hear it.)
In Waterloo Sunset, the bassist is walking that note down with us, so I’ve notated it with /F and /E (“over F” and “over E”).
And if there weren’t enough varieties of F# chord for you, the CHORUS features the F# major chord.
If I were calling these changes out to you, I’d say “two major.”
- It’s the chord built off the second scale degree of our key (E major),
- but instead of the expected minor chord…
- it’s major.