You can learn how to play Money (That’s What I Want) by Barrett Strong!

On the original recording (Barrett Strong), the guitar plays its own riff and stay on it as the band moves from F to Bb. In cover versions (The Beatles etc) of the song this rarely happens, instead they move with the progression.

What I ended up playing myself was a hybrid of all influences I got as I learned the song.

By being open like this, I look for what the song wants in my particular band setup, rather than how to play what I copied and memorized from a single source.

All this means there’s room here for you to design your own part. Start with what I do, then consider your options.

Once you figured out what to play for the main F riff and over the Bb, there’s another tricky section coming up, the turnaround.

I’m talking strictly original version here with that quickly picked bass line. I love it but it’s not easy to play. I actually changed it to suit me better!


The chord progression is similar to that of a blues, using stops in the verse, play through in the chorus.

Here’s the basic chord progression:

||: F | F | F | F |

| Bb | Bb | F | F |

| C | Bb | F | C :||

The unique part about the main riff is two-fold. It uses both the minor and major 3rd in a Minor Pentatonic framework.

However, it also has a harmony that follows the bass line riff and uses all kinds of notes outside the F Minor Pentatonic.

Minor Pentatonic Blues Language

Playing the melody of this song might be the best way to understand how the Minor Pentatonic is used to create blues language.

In the electric course, before we even start playing the riff, I spend two steps on making sure you understand how you make this scale sound bluesy.

This is essential in order for you to play the solo and riff of the song in an authentic way.

Money (That’s What I Want) – Guitar Lessons

You can learn how to play Money (That’s What I Want) by Barrett Strong!

Step 1 (Bars & Beats)Step 2 (Blues melody language)Step 3 (Blues melody language, part 2)Step 4 (Main riff)Step 5 (Verse & Turnaround)Step 6 (Solo)Step 7 (Complete song)Step 8 (Live band backing track).

Money (That’s What I Want) – Lyrics

The best things in life are free,
but you can give them to the birds and bees,
I need money (that’s what I want).
That’s what I want (that’s what I want).

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

Barrett Strong – Biography

Barrett Strong was the first artist on the Motown label to have a hit. The song was Money (That’s What I Want). Performed by Barrett, it was written by the president of the label and a sign of what was to come.

As well as his own solo career, Barrett also wrote many of Motown’s biggest hits.

Go to Barrett Strong – Biography.

Berry Gordy – Biography

Berry Gordy is the man behind the hit factory that was Motown. The idea behind the label came from working in a car factory.

Housing the label, the studio, and a house band all in the same building proved to be a masterstroke as Berry set out to discover the greatest superstars of our time.

Go to Berry Gordy – Biography.

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