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Shake Your Money Maker: Introduction


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Shake Your Money Maker

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In this tutorial you're going to learn how to play the rowdy blues song "Shake Your Money Maker" as made famous by the one and only Elmore James. This is a fun and upbeat Texas blues song that features some great and authentic blues guitar. The song is kicked off by a swampy sounding rhythm guitar riff. Then after the intro the song starts without a double chorus. At the end of these choruses the slide guitar plays a forceful rhythm fill that almost sounds like it's mimicking a horn section.

The slide guitar is in an open D tuning, and the parts in this song are a perfect example of how simple it can be to use open tunings in a blues context. He's just playing simple rhythmic phrases following the harmony with the slide and it works like a charm. For example in the verses where he answers the vocal phrases with a rhythmic double hit- again sounding like a horn section.

If you wanted to play this song with just one guitar part you can combine the two parts, so you play the rhythm part on the bottom 2 strings while the vocals are going on and then jump in with the slide fills in between.

After the 2nd chorus the slide guitar plays a solo. This solo is based on a melodic theme that follows the harmony. Today we'd call this an instrumental "hook". This solo or "instrumental hook" also reoccurs at the end of the song and leads to the actual ending. The song is only two and a half minutes long, but in spite of it's short length it's packed with universally applicable lead and rhythm parts that you can use all night long. If you need more practice with any of these classic blues elements, go check out our great blues course here on Guitar Tricks. The song is in the key of D with an upbeat shuffle groove in 4/4, and the recording speeds up gradually throughout the whole song. In the beginning of the song the quarter note equals 170 bpm and by the end we'll be all the way up to 190 bpm. So let's get started!