Worked on the intro this past weekend off of Mar’s Hotel. To date, I have never heard anyone play this intro accurately on acoustic guitar. I’ve heard it played “well enough” plenty of times, but never where it really captured the syncopation accurately. I’ve never gotten it down, myself, and I’ve been playing this song since about a year after its release.
So, I took the JamMan looper, put it on auto record with center cancelled and maybe something else cancelled, and after maybe ten times of trial and error was able to come away with a perfect loop by finding a good starting point on the CD. The loop is seamless. It sounds like as soon as half of the intro phrase is completed it then begins anew without any lapse between the phrase and the start of itself anew. You can actually jam to this without going any further since it sounds so crisp. From this you can clearly hear Bob’s single syncopated chord insertion in its proper time, over and over and over.
These chord insertions are extremely difficult to get right. For one, if you just try to do Bob’s part, which seems to be nothing more than one chord every second or so, B///E///B///A, then with practice you can get it perfect to where you won’t even hear Bob when you do it because you’re right on top of his playing. (I’m finding it to always be on an upstroke for each of the chords.) It actually may be something like ///B///E///B///A due to the odd beat of the sync. But take away the background recording and you will lose your way almost instantly and fall back into any way you used to do it, anything that is comfortable though probably incorrect. And I still haven’t found a natural rhythm stroke that will effortlessly reproduce his rhythm on it, you know, to the point where it is simple and you really don’t even have to think about it. Not found yet.
From there I slowed it down as far as possible and started working on the simultaneous Jer and Bob parts. I am making slow progress, but progress nonetheless. Jer’s part is a little difficult to get out of the mix accurately since Bob’s single chord insertions sound so loud and obscure Jer’s lifting/rising note sequence, but you can get it eventually.
Then, putting the two together is worse than rubbing your stomach while patting your head. Haven’t quite gotten it but I am starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel, at least at slow speed. One thing I can tell, it does sound really, really good. Looking forward to another few weeks of experimenting with it, hoping to have it indelibly etched in my mind and also have some muscle memory with the fingers.
If you get this part worked out, the rest of the song becomes child’s play. This is the crux move.