The vice president of Motown
Biography and Guitar Lessons
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Smokey Robinson live
Smokey Robinson is a singer, songwriter, producer who started working with Berry Gordy before Motown was even founded.
Smokey’s band, The Miracles, was actually one of the first signings to the label.
During the 60s, Smokey Robinson and his Miracles released smash hits such as Shop Around, You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me, and The Tears of a Clown.
Smokey also worked as a songwriter and producer for Motown. In this role, he is responsible for My Guy, My Girl and Get Ready. He also wrote songs for Marvin Gaye and witnessed the development of little Stevie Wonder.
As if that wasn’t enough, Robinson also filled the position as the Vice president of Motown from 1965.
This was seemingly too much on Smokey’s plate as in 1972, he announced that his singing career was over and that he was to be only Vice President and a devoted father from now on.
A year later Smokey announced his comeback with a new album but by now, his former students, Marvin Gaye, and Stevie Wonder had become so successful that anything Smokey released paled in comparison.
The sweet, somewhat innocent sound of the 60s that Smokey was king of was gone, popular music had become more political.
What started out as “black music for white radio” had grown up and was now rebelling.
The new kings in town were Smokey’s students, Marvin and Stevie.
Get Ready – Step 1
Performed by The Temptations, it was released in 1966 and made it to the number 1 spot in the R & B charts.
Go to Get Ready step 1.
Get Ready – Step 2 (Free Preview)
Moving a riff around like this is a much better idea than just practicing the scale up and down.
Go to Get Ready step 2.
Get Ready – Step 3
Following this, we look at some ideas for creating a completely new part.
Go to Get Ready step 3.
Get Ready – Step 4
First practice the two TAB examples exactly as written, then build your own variations.
Go to Get Ready step 4.
Get Ready – Step 5
These two tasks come with pretty complicated techniques so before we get to that, I’m gonna give you some technical exercises.
Go to Get Ready step 5.
Get Ready – Step 6
Seeing the fret board and theory like this is the key to mastering the guitar.
Go to Get Ready step 6.
Get Ready – Step 7
When you feel ready, move on to the next step where it’ll be your turn to play with the band.
Go to Get Ready step 7.
Get Ready – Step 8
Get Ready is a Motown classic you’re very likely to come across should you join or jam with a soul band.
Go to Get Ready step 8.
My Guy – Step 1
With one foot in jazz rather than blues, we get more maj7 and 6 chords than dom7 chords.
Go to My Guy step 1.
My Guy – Step 2 (Free Preview)
Right now, this is not about performing the song, this is practicing getting good at moving around the neck. First, we develop, then we refine.
Go to My Guy step 2.
My Guy – Step 3
Should you do this in less than half an hour, spend the remaining time improvising what shapes you play.
Go to My Guy step 3.
My Guy – Step 4
Perhaps you spend today practicing the licks. If you do, remember, the guy who played it just came up with it, he didn’t practice it.
Go to My Guy step 4.
My Guy – Step 5
Luckily it is the same concepts repeated, and they all build on what you’ve done before so it shouldn’t be too difficult to get through it all.
Go to My Guy step 5.
My Guy – Step 6
In these last three examples, we play licks instead of chords. Notice how the licks follow the chords.
Go to My Guy step 6.
My Guy – Step 7
Use the TAB to play along with me before you tackle the song on your own.
Go to My Guy step 7.
My Guy – Step 8
Instead, aim to explore the fret board as you play the song. This is what will create your most organic and best sounding “part”.
Go to My Guy step 8.
Chords and Guitar Lessons
When the solo comes along, we take the original sax and string ideas and put them on the guitar.
Go to Get Ready lyrics.
Chords and Guitar Lessons
Using more jazz-influenced harmony and playing, when you learn this song you’ll get an introduction to “playing over changes” as the licks use new scales for each chord.
Nothing you could say could tear me away from my guy
Nothing you could do ’cause I’m stuck like glue to my guy
I’m sticking to my guy like a stamp to a letter
Like birds of a feather, we stick together
Go to My Guy lyrics.
Including detailed, but bite-sized explanations on how the music theory of each song is applied to the neck.
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