Jimmy Mack Guitar Lessons and Backing Track

Jimmy Mack

Live Band Backing Track

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Jimmy Mack Guitar Lesson and Backing Track

Learn how to play Jimmy Mack

In the step by step course, I’ll first take you through how to play each section, all over the neck.

There are four lessons and nine videos as well as TAB, and live band loops to practice along to.

Step by step, you’ll learn not just how to play the song, but also map out the fretboard with barre chord shapes and Pentatonic scales. We also work on using chord substitution to achieve bigger sounds such as maj7 and min9.

After practicing all sections individually, including how to play the horn section solo! I play the full song from beginning to end, in an improvised way. This way you can see all the ideas and concepts applied.

The final stage is for you to play with the band.

Chord progression

The chord progression of ‘Jimy Mack’ is played in the key of Db.


Ebm | Gb | Dbmaj7| Gb |

Ebm | Gb | Dbmaj7| Gb Ab |


||: Db Gb :|| x3 | Gb Ab |

||: Db Gb :|| x8

To make the arrangement more exciting, we can extend some of these chords. For example, a Db chord to a Dbmaj7.

Extending VS Substituting chords

There are two ways to extend a chord. The first is the traditional way, it works like this:

By picking every other note from a scale we get a chord. Keep doing this and your chord becomes bigger.

For example, to achieve a Dbmaj7, instead of Db, you could look for the next ‘every other note’ in the scale and include it, now you have a maj7 chord.

Next up would be a maj9 chord, etc.

In the key of Db, Db is chord I and the scale is the major scale (1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13). No sharp or flat intervals.

Due to the intervals of the scale, the chords available become Db, Dbmaj7, Dbmaj9, Dbmaj11 and Dbmaj13.

The problem with this way of constructing chords is that we get too many notes to fit on the guitar. Few guitar parts sound good with more than three strings…

A solution to this dilemma is to substitute. Instead of building up the scale using ‘every other note’, we move to the next ‘every other triad’.

These are the triads of Db major:

Db (I) Ebm (II) Fm (III) Gb (IV) Ab (V) Bbm (VI) Cdim (VII)

  • To build a Db chord, we play Db
  • To build a Dbmaj7 chord, we play Fm
  • To build a Dbmaj9 chord, we play Ab

As long as you know what key you are in, and all the roman numerals available, you can extend your chords in this way.

In the step by step course, You get to try this experiment with a real band, playing a real song, namely ‘Jimy Mack;.

Related Pages

Jimmy Mack – Lyrics

Jimmy Mack, Jimmy. Oh, Jimmy Mack, when are you comin’ back
Jimmy Mack, Jimmy. Oh, Jimmy Mack, when are you comin’ back
My arms are missing you, my lips feel the same way too
I tried so hard to be true, like I promised I’d do
But this guy keeps comin’ around, he’s tryin’ to wear my resistance down

For complete lyrics, go to Jimmy Mack lyrics.

Martha and the Vandellas – Biography

Martha met her Vandellas as she was a secretary at Motown’s hit factory where her soon to be backing singers sang for Marvin Gaye.

Together they had seven years of hits including ‘Jimmy Mack’, ‘Nowhere To Run’ and perhaps Motown’s biggest hit of them all in Dancing In The Street’.

To find out more, go to Martha and the Vandellas biography.


Learning how to play guitar is best done through playing and learning from songs.

These Motown/Soul songs require you to learn how to play fractions of barre chord shapes and build improvised licks using pentatonic scales.

To see all lessons, go to the Intermediate Electric Guitar Course


Learn how to play famous Motown & Soul songs.

‘Be My Baby’, ‘Can I Get A Witness’, ‘Get Ready’, ‘I Heard It Through The Grapevine’, ‘Jimmy Mack’, ‘Master Blaster (Jammin’)’, ‘Money (That’s What I Want)’, ‘My Guy’, ‘Rescue Me’, ‘Respect’, ‘Son Of A Preacher Man’, ‘Soul Man’, and ‘You Can’t Hurry Love’.

To preview each song, go to Intermediate Electric Songs

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