Need help with Jamerson lick!

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by spooner2112, Oct 20, 2005.

  1. spooner2112


    May 24, 2004
    Arlington, Va
    I'm working on the Gladys Knight version of "I Heard it Through the Grapevine" and need help playing the following (and similar) riffs, which occur during the chorus:

    Chorus I

    Specifically, I'd like to know how my left hand should finger the first measure. I've tried it two ways, but in neither case can I play it cleanly yet.

    The first way, I keep my middle finger anchored at the third fret, and play the C-G-C-F-C... with my middle and pinky fingers, followed by the E with my index. In other words, my hand never moves.

    The second way, I first place my index finger at the third fret, and play the same passage with my index and third fingers, until I get to the E on the second fret, where I need to shift my hand so I can play that note with my index finger.

    For those of you who have mastered this tune, do you finger it one of these two ways, or some other method? :confused:

    Thanks in advance...
  2. Murf


    Mar 28, 2001
    Jamersons right hand technique was one finger ie he played everything with just his index finger:eek: another jamersonism (hey I invented a new word :D ) is he used a lot of open strings so try playing the g on the fifth fret of the d string as an open G..similarly for the d on the fifth fret of the A string..(play an open D).

    Anyway Carole Kaye played the basline on that tune.

  3. Jamerson started out an upright player, and upright players generally use a different left hand technique than straight electric players. I would personally finger the C-G-C-Bb-C 1-3-4-1-4, then shift for the F-E-C-E(low) to 2-1-2-0, then shift again G-F-A (4-1-0) shift to B-C-D (1-2-4). I hope this makes sense, but, as I've learned from upright, shifting well can make some passages that don't nessisarily need shifting actually smoother.
  4. I remembered reading an interview, years ago, which stated that Jamerson never played the same line twice in the studio. And, he really hated charts.

    If it were me, I'd come up with a line that sounded cool, then go for it.
  5. AGCurry


    Jun 29, 2005
    Kansas City
    I'd definitely play this with one shift to get to the F with my middle finger, play the E with first finger.
  6. narcopolo


    Sep 12, 2005
    richmond, va
    i believe she used a pick.
  7. Dan1099

    Dan1099 Dumbing My Process Down

    Aug 7, 2004
    Jamerson played everything with the index finger of his RIGHT hand. He still, AFAIK, used normal technique with his left.
  8. bucephylus

    bucephylus Supporting Member Commercial User

    Aug 18, 2002
    General Manager TecPadz LLC
    Straight up or are you pulling chains?