How to play I’m Yours by Jason Mraz SpyTunes version

How to play I’m Yours

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.

In the case of I’m Yours, Jason Mraz must have been surprised when the entire audience would sing along to I’m Yours as if there was no tomorrow at his gigs all over the world.

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

Now for the melody… So the chords are IVVIIV. This is a bit backwards, usually V leads to I, VI usually goes to V and IV usually comes after I…

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?

Guitar Conspiracy

About Guru

I have made up my mind: You Can Learn Guitar!
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17 thoughts on “How to play I’m Yours by Jason Mraz SpyTunes version

  1. thomas

    thanks for all your work. I’ve been playing for 15+ years and you have tied it all together. AWSOME!

    Thomas.

  2. Nal

    Hey Gu,

    Any tips on mastering the dampening of the strings in this song?

    Could you show us a bit more close up how you are muting and getting the dynamics happening over the rhythm with your left and right hand?

    CheersN

  3. Nal

    Yeah I’ve seen that one. I’m getting closer, but not close enough.

    Could you break it down over the rhythm pattern?

    I hear quite a bit of dampening in between main beats and licks.

  4. Nal

    I’ve got the rhythm etude too :-) . But hey I try to use my detective ear as much as possible.

    Yeah so what I’ve been hearing is mostly an 8th note mute on 2. 2x16th notes dampened on beat 3 and the 1st 16th on beat 4 dampened as well.

    There are subtle variations, but that’s what I’ve been hearing anyway. If that’s right, I guess I just have to keep guessing at the technique until I get it right.

    Thanks Gu

    1. Guru Post author

      Yeah there are loads of little details. Just loop one chord and experiment with different mutes yourself.

      You kind of need a bunch of them before it starts to become natural.

      Everybody’s hand is different as well so maybe you’ll end up doing more muting with left hand, who knows?

      Listen to the sound rather than look at your own hand, there are always more than one way to create a sound.

      I do like the palm mute, personal favorite.

  5. Nal

    I can do palm mute ok, but on the 16ths I’ll probably rock off the strings with my left and brush past with the pick on the right. That’s how it’s shaping up anyway.

    1234 is actually a little harder.

      1. Nal

        I think it’s a few things. Partly the shuffle. It’s fine to clap, but with this strumming you have to be real consistent cos if you miss just one beat or up stroke it sounds choppy, messy and incomplete.

        Add to this that it’s not a super fast song, the dampening / percussive effects plus switching switching between strumming and picking, and well it’s quite hard to make it sound any good :) .

        Just my 2 cents worth. What do you think?

        1. Guru Post author

          Yeah I guess consistency is a tricky thing to practice.

          Maybe that part is something you train best by gigging since it’s hours on end, can’t really think about technique.

          It’s much easier to practice funk rhythms than shuffle, that’s for sure.

          Shuffle is something everyone does slightly differently.

          I guess the ultimate tip is to play with different blues drummers live but that might be difficult to achieve…

          Maybe playing along to blues records is the second best option.

          Do you have Spotify in the land down under?

  6. Nal

    Har, maybe :) . I’ll write tomorrow. It’s the witching hour here in Aus. And I’m in bed with my iPad. How silly is that?

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