The Temptations Biography

From My Girl to Papa Was A Rolling Stone

Biography and Guitar Lessons

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The Temptations

Starting out in 1960, formed out of two rival Detroit vocal groups, Otis Williams, Elbridge Al Bryant, Melvin Franklin, Eddie Kendricks, and Paul Williams formed what was to became The Temptations.

Together, they became a remarkably successful vocal group that sold millions of albums, predominantly on the Motown label in the 60s and 70s.

Since the start, the group has had another 19 members as they simply refused to give up touring and recording. Their latest album was released as late as 2018, making them a band with almost six decades of legacy.

Being backed by Motown meant they worked closely with Smokey Robinson, the legendary Holland-Dozier-Holland songwriting team as well as Barrett Strong and Norman Whitfield.

Together they would come to produce a string of legendary hit tunes, including My Girl, Papa Was A Rolling Stone, Get Ready, and Ain’t Too Proud To Beg.

The secret to The Temptations success can be found in their willingness to adapt to new musical styles and the constant flow of new members keeping them going, decade after decade. Otis Williams, a founding member is still active in the band and holds all the rights to the Temptations name.

Two main eras emerge that can be represented by two songs, My Girl is the early 60s sound of Berry Gordy and Smokey Robinson.

In the 70s, The Temptations went for a more psychedelic soul sound in Papa Was A Rolling Stone, written by Barrett Strong and produced by Norman Whitfield.

The Temptations received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2013, fully deserved!

Guitar Lessons

Get Ready – Step 1

Written and produced by Smokey Robinson, Get Ready was originally written for a dance craze at the time.

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)

First of all, you must try playing the riff in all positions. Not only will this teach you to play the riff better, but you’ll also manifest the Minor Pentatonic scale in your hands.

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

To master the chord progression of the chorus, first, we play the chords I – IV – II – V on a loop up and down the neck.

Following this, we look at some ideas for creating a completely new part.

Go to Get Ready step 3.

Get Ready – Step 4

Now that you know the verse and the chorus, let’s put them together and as we do, let’s explore options for that chorus tag.

First practice the two TAB examples exactly as written, then build your own variations.

Go to Get Ready step 4.

Get Ready – Step 5

Today we prepare to steal the sax solo and copy what the strings play during the solo section of Get Ready.

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

When you visualize the string line, see each shape like this: A Major Pentatonic, add the 4 and b7, start on the 3rd of the scale.

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

In this step, I play the complete song from beginning to end. Using the complete TAB, play along with me, aiming to play the same or similar licks.

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

Spend at least half an hour playing the song on a loop. The longer you can experiment with what you’re playing, rather than settle on a part, the better.

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.

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Chords and Guitar Lessons

Get Ready is a song that moves from a repetitive Minor Pentatonic verse riff to a simple four-chord chorus progression.

When the solo comes along, we take the original sax and string ideas and put them on the guitar.

Go to Get Ready chords and guitar lessons.


I never met a girl who makes me feel the way that you do
(you’re alright)
Whenever I’m asked who makes my dreams real I say that you do
(you’re outta sight)

Go to Get Ready lyrics.

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