Money (That’s What I Want) chords



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

Money (That’s What I Want) was the first successful single released by Motown in 1959.

Written by the founder of Motown himself and performed by Barrett Strong, it would mark the beginnings of the most important musical movement in the history of popular music.

On the original recording, the guitar plays its own riff and stays with it as the band moves from F to Bb. In cover versions (The Beatles etc) 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! Find out more in the course.

Since we are mainly playing riffs, rather than chords, I’ve provided you with riff boxes instead of chord boxes below.

You could use these and the video above to work out how to play this but really, it would be better to study the TAB you find in the course.


Money (That’s What I Want) chords and lyrics


Riff boxes for Money (That’s What I Want)

||: N.C :|| x4
||: F riff | F riff :||
| C | Bb | F riff | C5 |

| F N.C | N.C Bb C |
The best things in life are free,
| F N.C | N.C |
but you can give them to the birds and bees,
| Bb (F riff) | Bb (F riff) |
I need money (that’s what I want).
| F riff | F riff |
That’s what I want (that’s what I want).
| C | Bb | F riff | C5 |
That’s what I want (that’s what I want). That’s what I want (that’s what I want).

| F N.C | N.C Bb C |
Your love give me such a thrill,
| F N.C | N.C F |
but your love don’t pay my bills,
| Bb riff | Bb riff |
I need money (that’s what I want).
| F riff | F riff |
That’s what I want (that’s what I want).
| C | Bb | F riff | C5 |
That’s what I want (that’s what I want). That’s what I want (that’s what I want).

| F7 | F7 | F7 | F7 |
| Bb7 | Bb7 | F7 | F7 |
| C7 | Bb7 | F7 | C7 |

| F N.C | N.C Bb5 |
Money don’t get everything it’s true,
| F N.C | N.C F7 |
but what it don’t get, I can’t use,
| Bb7 | Bb7 |
I need money (that’s what I want).
| F7 | F7 |
That’s what I want (that’s what I want).
| C | Bb | F7 | C5 |
That’s what I want (that’s what I want). That’s what I want (that’s what I want).

| F7 | F7 | F7 | F7 |
Money (that’s what I want). Lots of money (that’s what I want).
| Bb7 | Bb7 | F7 | F7 |
Whole lot of money (that’s what I want). That’s what I want (that’s what I want).
| C | Bb | F riff | C5 |
That’s what I want (that’s what I want, that’s what I want).

| F riff | F riff | F riff | F riff |
Money (that’s what I want). Give me money (that’s what I want).
| Bb riff | Bb riff |
Ah, lots of money (that’s what I want). That’s what I want (that’s what I want).
| C | Bb | F riff | C5 |
That’s what I want (that’s what I want). That’s what I need (that’s what I want). Whoo.
| F riff | F riff | F riff | F riff | to fade
Money (that’s what I want, ah ha ha).


Money (That’s What I Want) chord progression

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

Since the chords are played using a riff, just using a chord to describe it is slightly misleading, especially since it’s a major chord but the riff is mainly using a m3rd!

The intro starts with the piano on its own for four bars before we play the main F riff.

||: N.C :|| x4
||: F riff | F riff :||
| C | Bb | F riff | C5 |

The first verse uses stops, no riff for the F. Strangely enough, when the band goes to Bb, the guitar stays on the F riff!

| F N.C | N.C Bb C | F N.C | N.C |
| Bb (F riff) | Bb (F riff) | F riff | F riff |
| C | Bb | F riff | C5 |

Verse 2, again uses stops, although this time I move the riff up to Bb, rather than staying in F.

| F N.C | N.C Bb C | F N.C | N.C F |
| Bb riff | Bb riff | F riff | F riff |
| C | Bb | F riff | C5 |

This is followed by a solo, now without stops or riffs as the guitar plays the solo. The band plays a 12 bar blues.

| F7 | F7 | F7 | F7 |
| Bb7 | Bb7 | F7 | F7 |
| C7 | Bb7 | F7 | C7 |

Verse 3 is up next and we’re back to playing with stops but without riff, instead, chord licks are introduced.

| F N.C | N.C Bb5 | F N.C | N.C F7 |
| Bb7 | Bb7 | F7 | F7 |
| C | Bb | F7 | C5 |

Next up we keep playing over what can only be described as a chorus, There are no stops but no riff either, instead we play chords imitating the piano riff. You need TAB to get this right.

| F7 | F7 | F7 | F7 |
| Bb7 | Bb7 | F7 | F7 |
| C | Bb | F riff | C5 |

Finally, the outro and we’re seemingly back to playing the riff, now throughout, moving it to Bb and back. There is a modification in the note choices used here. Turn to the course for full TAB.

| F riff | F riff | F riff | F riff |
| Bb riff | Bb riff | C | Bb | F riff | C5 |
| F riff | F riff | F riff | F riff | to fade


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 lessons 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.


Course preview (Guitar Lesson – Step 6)

In the video above, starting at 2:36, you find a preview of Money (That’s What I Want)’s guitar lesson, it’s the beginning of step 6 from the course.

In this step, we discuss how to improvise a solo for this song. As I speak about in the video, the best way to construct any solo is to base it on the song it’s played in, not by trying to fit your favorite licks in.

Do this by working out what intervals are used in the riff, following the chords, and most importantly, the melody of the song!

In the course, you get a loop to practice this with the band. Here’s TAB for what I ended up playing as a solo for this song. Can you see how various elements of the actual song are incorporated here?

TAB for Money (That’s What I Want) solo – Spytunes guitar course

Money (That’s What I Want) – 8 Guitar Lessons

As well as learning the very interesting main riff of Money (That’s What I Want) there’s plenty more going on in these lessons.

As well as varying the turnaround, we also have a solo to get our teeth into.

Go to Money (That’s What I Want) – 8 Guitar Lessons.


Money (That’s What I Want) – Lyrics + Original recording

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

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

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.


Intermediate Electric Songs

Learn all these Motown/Soul songs and you will have gained yourself a repertoire so you can jam or even join a working band.

Study these songs in-depth and you will map out the fretboard, master the CAGED system and learn how to design a rhythm guitar part that works in a band.

Go to Intermediate Electric Songs.


The Professional Guitarist Song Book

As a guitarist, a repertoire is the greatest asset that you can acquire.

Learn these songs and you can progress from being a bedroom player to working with acoustic duos, Jazz trios, Indie/Rock/Party bands as well as large Soul/Motown ensembles.

Go to Song Book.


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