The aim of this blog is to explain how it is important to understand what you are doing when playing guitar, rather than memorizing a piece and repeating it using muscle memory.
Before we begin, let’s have a look at Spy Tunes version of I’m Yours so we know what we’re talking abut here.
I’m Yours Background
Jason Mraz wrote this tune many years ago and for some reason it didn’t end up on any of his early albums.
The tune caught the worlds attention by being a demo that by public demand made the radio.
This is not the first time this has happened, music history is filled with hits that were never intended to be singles.
Spy Tunes Discover I’m Yours
Guru used to play this tune at gigs (found the demo years ago) and recorded it for Spy Tunes 8 months before Jason Mraz finally released it commercially on his 2008 album “We Sing, We dance, We Steal Things”.
The guitar part and the arrangement is therefore based on that first, now legendary demo recording.
Many people have written to Spy Tunes wondering how to play this since the rhythm sounds and looks simple but is actually pretty difficult to play.
This is because the placement of beat one is not as obvious as you might first think… So let’s look at how the part is constructed.
Understanding Reggae Rhythms
Jason Mraz writes pop songs with a flavor of reggae, the easiest way to hint a reggae influence is to apply a back beat rhythm to a 4/4 time. See fig 1.
To vary this pattern you could use two 16ths instead of the 8th note. See fig 2.
Very often these two concepts are combined, like in fig 3.
For I’m Yours the basic rhythm, throughout the tune is as in fig 4.
To this concept the first beat has been added, fig 5
Finally, to incorporate the jazz guitar lick found on the recording we use the same rhythm and just adjust the notes throughout the progression, fig 6.
Putting all this together and we get the basic groove of the intro, fig 7.
All this put together means that one guitar is playing the whole arrangement of bass (beat 1), the guitar back beat (beat 2 & 3) and the leading lick (beat 4).
So that’s it, the first lick starts on the second 16th of beat 4, you need to start this with an upstroke in order to get it right.
The secret to I’m Yours success
So how does this tune sound so natural? The secret is in the melody, it follows the chords throughout. If the chord is a B major, the melody is only using that chords root, third and fifth, when moving to the next chord (V) it follows that chord.
This means that we get a very melodic effect, but since the chords are “backwards” it sounds new at the same time!
Use the DIY TAB in the Guitar Conspiracy to fully work this out.
Next blog will analyze Stairway To Heaven by Led Zeppelin, did you know it’s based on melodic minor?