Yet another song that fall into the category of “truly impressive if you actually do it right,” this is one of the hardest Jason Mraz songs to play. A few of his other songs have the potential to be more difficult depending on how difficult you decide to make them, but even faking this song is a hard feat to manage. Even if you manage to outsource all instrumental work to other members of your band, most musicians will give up before they have learned all the words. If they survive that phase, they will become woefully aware of how long they have survived without practicing singing with a metronome. Getting the words in this song to lock with the groove is an absolute prerequisite to performing it if you don’t want to appear drunk and incompetent. Then comes the guitar work….
Jason has a couple of strategies for down-shifting his grooves into easy mode. It also gives his guitar style a very understated feeling which only enhances the subtlety. Basically, what I’m trying to say is that if you want to, you can just strum a single bass note to represent each chord throughout the song and you’ll get away with it. That, my friends, would be a cop-out, and a missed opportunity to learn the fastest groove in the entire song series (though I will be clear though that it is still not the hardest…most songs in the funkchuck series with top this in terms of hours-to-mastery). Anyway, the point is that there are several ways to get through the song, but it’s is pretty straightforward to learn the basic groove and just chug it over the various chords. There’s not much in the way of variations or improvisations, but just keeping up with the tempo will be quite enough to keep the most ambitious hands busy. Fasten your seatbelt and get ready, it’ll strip the shoelaces right off your air-jordans…
Learn this groove very slowly. It is highly syncopated and easy to get in the wrong order. Break it down into little groups of 3 or 4 notes, master each group, then add the next and finally string them together. Once you get the basic groove, all you have to do is a little bit of string crossing to adapt to the different chords. The rhythm and the pattern are pretty consistent. I have some exercises that I developed to help build speed on some of the trickier pick hand motions, which I’ll include in the video.
Side note: I actually spent a lot of time using this pattern to increase the speed and accuracy of my pinky chucks. This is a skill whose uselessness is rivaled only by expertise in punch-card programming, but still interesting and possibly with some theoretical application in future areas of guitar technique. Seriously though, this is a really cool groove and it has inspired me to develop a lot of new patterns and new techniques. Anybody who can play and sing this song is a huge boss in my book.
Yet another side note. I would like to congratulate myself on the composite live score for this song, it is truly a work of art. Jason has payed this song many ways with many people, and this composite score has brought so many of the harmonies, techniques and shenanigans under one roof. I am so very proud of this live score that I’m going to perform a version of it as a finale to the series, as a way of congratulating myself for f***ing doing it. I hope you win too.