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Alice's Restaurant: Introduction


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Alice's Restaurant

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Arlo Guthrie's counterculture monologue is a cult classic lasting over 18 minutes! The challenge here is to learn to cheerfully and accurately play the same 16 bar progression while spinning your own version verbally over the top. You might imitate Arlo, or you might indulge your own story or rant, with the key being the ability to have the independence and brain power to play a specific, repeated guitar pattern while speaking free lance over the top.

This is serious multitasking and great exercise for your brain!

The entire 20 minute song repeats a classic ragtime 16 bar chord progression throughout. To play this we’ll learn/use 7 chords, all major and dom7 chords. For our version we’ll be playing this 16 bars through for a total of 5 times as described below.

Each section is the same, the names have been changed to understand the form.

solo x 2 (fill in your personal stream of consciousness here)

The trick is to keep the guitar part going while you tell your own story
get ready to use that left pinky!

This tutorial will be based in Travis picking, which we will discuss briefly, but we will presume you are familiar with using your thumb to rotate the bass in a Travis Picking style. We'll learn to count our pick, and use our rhythmic savvy to add some bass runs, and some slick yet easy riffs to decorate this classic chord progression.

This song is in D Major with a capo at the second fret and played at approximately 120 BPM.