Learning the Hardest John Mayer Riff

Learning the Hardest John Mayer Riff

December 3, 2019 100 By Stanley Isaacs


I know a lot of john mayer riffs, but there’s one that’s always eluded me and it’s the neon riff So today, I thought I would once and for all learn the beginning of neon and The reason I’m doing this is because this is sort of like a cult riff You either know this riff cold, or you don’t know it at all. I haven’t really ever tried to play it I know it has standard tuning and a/c I Guess we’ll call this the mayor tuning But other than that I’ve never really tried it I will admit that I went on YouTube and I started to kind of look at different people’s interpretations of what the finger-picking pattern might be because that seems to be obviously the most difficult part of this riff and that’s when I decided I need to record this because I think a lot of people might do this and this could be sort of a glimpse into how I think we should go about learning songs and Typically I use ear training meaning. I listen to the song and I learn it. I don’t use tabs I don’t use any sort of music. I kind of just go off of my ear That’s what I think is the most beneficial for me as a musician not saying. That’s the only way to go about it That’s just the way. I like to do it, but with this certain riff I think it’s important to See the finger picking style because with guitar there’s a lot of different ways to play the same thing But sometimes there’s only one correct way to do it ergonomically So I’m gonna go to youtube and first see what comes up when I type in how to play neon on guitar how? to play neon on guitar Let’s just pick the top one and see what we find first Okay Get that Wait what are those last two one two three four slap three, and then he’s going to ChaCha So one two three four five six in total Did you hear that there’s two more one two three four five six seven eight thumb, two three four slap three Thumb three well, let’s try the correct way to play neon according to Ross Campbell If you like anything on your computer you need to get grounded all right pretty much oh, that’s weird I don’t have grammarly and I don’t need it All right, I can already see this guy’s not using the same Finger picking style as the last dude. Let’s see what he demonstrates it is Really happening there is I’m so he’s saying same strings as the other guy but It doesn’t feel right because there has to be the slap That’s a big part of it. So this is not right either. Okay, so here’s the point Where I am going to use my? Instincts as a musician and actually watch John Mayer play this thing and get a feel for what he’s doing now that I have a couple different opinions on this again Your training, and this is even more intense your training, but it’s really about examining the artists This is the only problem I have with people who teach songs note for note on YouTube if you get it wrong then maybe it works for you playing it But it isn’t going to actually deliver the perfect end result every single time now people like Chris supa He’s actually perfect, but there’s only one Chris’s ooh But isn’t there a man can only transcribe and teach so many songs John Mayer neon live one of the greatest live performances of all time where the light is The groove is heavy with this one It’s sort of a hybrid between both of the techniques that I saw portrayed in the YouTube videos so It does look like he’s primarily using the thumb and index But that slap is also happening the whole time, so he’s going like But he’s almost got like a gun shape And that goes along with any sort of great rhythm guitar player that loosey-goosey wrist It’s what kind of keeps the momentum going that’s why when you’re playing the drums for example you’re not supposed to be real tight You’re just supposed to be real All right, let’s figure this thing out we’re gonna go two notes at a time There we go, and I know it goes up like a minor third Okay, so those fingers stay there That’s where that thing happens, but she’s actually not doing that part in this live performance Which makes me think I’m gonna have to lean on that first technique that I saw from that guy on YouTube The whole point of getting this riff perfect is that part is essential then what’s the turnaround? No way I got to hear that again Yeah, that’s what it is What would it be okay now, let’s see if I can play the chords and the bass Alright, so this is the ergonomic part of the equation obviously, there’s a lot of different ways you can play this Yes now some research on what he’s doing with those fingers, so I know there’s this That is definitely happening to get to get that got Ya, okay now let’s see if I can put that into motion with the chords I Think that’s it, but the key is when to let this bass note ring and when to mute it Because there’s a real percussive thing happening you have to be really articulate with those dynamics So I think the first one is and then the next time I hit that Obviously the slap is muted but also that 7th Strum in the pattern of eight is also should be dead Or very light at least All right, so there’s a note missing in here need to find that note so Yeah, that’s how it goes That’s what it is okay? Back to the original strategy of being able to play these chords before you get mixed up with the finger picking All right Now it’s time for metronome and chill several metronome clicks later Well pretty good for about 45 minutes But I definitely need to practice this one to get it totally up to speed and be able to play it Consistently if you don’t play this riff for like a few weeks And then go back to play it you’re probably going to have some troubles, so this is going to be one of my new Go-to warm-up practice things that I play constantly so I never forget it And I eventually learn how to play it like the master himself by the way, I noticed this thing about John His thumb is not a natural thumb I ended up using my index finger to bar so the first chord we have in the progression here easy and here still easy That one’s pretty difficult, but we come up here I ended up going This here with a bar I was playing it like this mm-hmm, but Turns out that when I’m playing quickly I can actually make this Happen, but here’s the crazy thing that he was doing he would do this and then he would use his thumb to go up here, but he would still play this I Cannot even physically do it like here. Here’s the actual chord But this here where my ring finger is he was dumb, but you’d have to put the So I guess having opposable thumbs could be a secret to success Anyways, I hope you enjoyed this little Dive into the way. I like to learn music and I encourage you to learn that riff. You’ve been putting off Maybe you can use a couple of the tactics that I used in this lesson well until next time guys keep shredding