Money (That’s What I Want)

Learn How To Play Money (That’s What I Want)

Chords and Guitar Lessons

Watch This Video

Complete song – Electric guitar and live band

Original And Cover Versions

On the original recording, the guitar plays its own riff and stay on it as the band moves from F to Bb. In cover versions of the song this rarely happens. 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 one source.

This gives you options for designing your own part.

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!

Chord progression

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

||: 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.

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.

The first of these lessons are available as a free preview below.

Guitar Lessons

Money (That’s What I Want) – Step 1

Today we start learning Money (That’s What I Want). Written by Barry Gordy and performed by Barrett Strong.

This is an early Motown hit with an easy to recognize guitar riff that has been covered by many artists and bands since.

Go to Money (That’s What I Want) step 1.

Money (That’s What I Want) – Step 2 (Free Preview)

Before we get into all the different ways we can play Money (That’s What I Want), we need to clear something up.

We need to talk about and understand, Blues melody language. We will do that by looking to the king of scales, the Minor Pentatonic.

Go to Money (That’s What I Want) step 2.

Money (That’s What I Want) – Step 3

Today we learn the remaining two shapes of the Minor Pentatonic before we connect all five shapes.

By doing all this hard work now, when it comes to playing the solo, you won’t trip over on not knowing your shapes well enough.

Go to Money (That’s What I Want) step 3.

Money (That’s What I Want) – Step 4

In this step, you’ll learn ten ways to play the main riff. The aim is that you learn these in order to develop your own version(s) of the riff.

Should that not happen, pick your favorite version(s) from the ten.

Go to Money (That’s What I Want) step 4.

Money (That’s What I Want) – Step 5

In this step, we have lots to go through. So far, all you’ve got is a bunch of variations of the main riff, the minor pentatonic shapes, and that initial melody.

By the time you finish today, you’ll be ready to play the complete song.

Go to Money (That’s What I Want) step 5.

Money (That’s What I Want) – Step 6

To notate in TAB what I play in the video is largely counterproductive, Blues is not a style that uses notation.

The goal is not to repeat but to constantly vary the licks, to improvise, to follow the song, to be in the moment.

Go to Money (That’s What I Want) step 6.

Money (That’s What I Want) – Step 7

In the video lesson, I play the entire song in an improvised way.

I’ll give you the TAB, but please only use this as a starting point as you too should be improvising.

Go to Money (That’s What I Want) step 7.

Money (That’s What I Want) – Step 8

In this final step, we finish our study of Motown’s Record Executive (Berry Gordy) who has told us about his motivation and what he really wants: Money.

We do this as you play the entire song with a recorded live band.

Go to Money (That’s What I Want) step 8.

Related Pages


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 having his own solo career, Barrett also wrote the lyrics to 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.


Learning how to play guitar is best done through playing and learning from songs.

These Motown/Soul songs require you to learn how to play fractions of barre chord shapes and build improvised licks using pentatonic scales.

Go to Intermediate electric guitar course.

Intermediate Electric Songs

You can learn how to play these intermediate songs on the electric guitar.

Be My Baby, Can I Get A Witness, Get Ready, I Heard It Through The Grapevine, Jimmy Mack, Master Blaster (Jammin’), Money (That’s What I Want), My Guy, Rescue Me, Respect, Son Of A Preacher Man, Soul Man, and You Can’t Hurry Love.

Go to Intermediate electric songs.

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