Intermediate Electric Guitar Songs

Learn Motown/Soul songs by Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, Sam & Dave, Dusty Springfield, The Supremes, Stevie Wonder, The Temptations, and more!

When playing songs on the electric guitar, we must learn all our CAGED barre chords in order to build rhythm parts all over the fretboard.

We must also develop these CAGED chord shapes into pentatonic scales so we can incorporate licks and play improvised solos.

In the intermediate electric guitar course, we do just that – at the same time as we learn songs!

As you practice playing chord shapes and creating licks along to live band loops of every section of each song, there is little need for boring exercises to a metronome.

Upon completion, you will have mapped out the fretboard as well as gained an understanding of how to create a guitar part. You will also have gotten yourself a Motown/Soul repertoire and be ready to jam or even join a band.

Many of these songs are written with having a horn section in mind, this leads them to be in key signatures we are not used to playing on the guitar such as Db and Ebm.

This gives us an excellent opportunity to think in roman numerals instead of chord names as we remember chord progressions as V – VI, instead of, for example, G – F.

Thinking of chords as roman numerals in combination with playing all chords all over the neck in an improvised way is the best way to understand music and how it’s laid out on the guitar fretboard harmonically.

Below, you find a link to every electric song available in the course. There are chords, guitar lesson previews, a full performance of every song as well as lyrics and artist biographies available for all of them.

Be My Baby

Be My Baby is an early “Wall Of Sound Production” by Phil Spector.

When playing this with a band, we need to create a big-sounding guitar part to compensate for the lack of an orchestra.

Go to Be My Baby chords.

Can I Get A Witness

Can I Get A Witness is a fast blues format song in the key of Eb.

Over each chord in a blues, you quickly switch between three chords, creating an energetic riff.

Go to Can I Get A Witness chords.

Get Ready

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.

I Heard It Through The Grapevine

I Heard It Through The Grapevine is a Motown classic with a very clever chord progression.

All chords are as if from the key of Eb with just one chord being different, the Eb is a minor.

Go to I Heard It Through The Grapevine chords.

Jimmy Mack

Jimmy Mack is a song written by Motown’s main songwriting team, Holland-Dozier-Holland. Penned especially for Martha Reeves and The Vandellas.

This song invites us to discuss how you can substitute instead of extending chords to create more interesting sounds.

Go to Jimmy Mack chords.

Master Blaster (Jammin’)

Master Blaster was released on the Motown label, but unusually played in a Reggae feel. Written by Stevie Wonder, it is a tribute to Bob Marley.

In the course, I’ll break it down for you with live band loops to practice along with. Before you know it, you’ll be Jammin’.

Go to Master Blaster (Jammin’) chords.

Money (That’s What I Want)

Money (That’s What I Want) is a song written by Motown Record Executive Berry Gordy. First performed by Barrett Strong, it has since been covered by many.

As you learn this, I’ll reveal several ways you could play this song, including how to improvise a solo.

Go to Money (That’s What I Want) chords.

My Guy

My Guy was an early Motown hit from Mary Wells who was the first female Motown star.

Using more jazz-influenced harmony, when you learn this song you’ll get an introduction to “playing over changes” as the licks use new scales for each chord.

Go to My Guy chords.

Rescue Me

Rescue Me has a simple but very clever chord progression. Learn how to play it all over the neck and you’ll be able to improvise the rhythm part.

Improvising means using pentatonic scales to build licks, slide into chords, add extra rhythms, as well as move between chord shapes.

Go to Rescue Me chords.


Respect is the most famous soul song ever recorded. Breaking up the standard blues chord progression we play G7 – F7 for the verse and C7 – F7 as a chorus.

The biggest showpiece of the song is the sax solo, let’s learn how to play it note for note on the guitar.

Go to Respect chords.

Son Of A Preacher Man

Son Of A Preacher Man was first recorded and released by Dusty Springfield in 1968.

Since then, few artists have recorded their version, however, most have probably had it on their setlist more than once.

Go to Son Of A Preacher Man chords.

Soul Man

Soul Man is a song first recorded and performed by Sam & Dave on the label Stax. The band behind them was the legendary Booker T. and The M.G.’s.

Steve Cropper was a member of this Stax house band. Let’s play it as Steve did!

Go to Soul Man chords.

You Can’t Hurry Love

You Can’t Hurry Love has a great chord progression using only chords from the key of Bb.

By starting some of the chords earlier than expected, You Can’t Hurry Love gets its famous bouncy feel.

Go to You Can’t Hurry Love chords.