Q&A: How to Add Depth to a Simple Riff? (feat. Stuff That Works by Guy Clark)
Lesson #483 • Apr 12, 2023
Note: I also made a full-song tutorial for Stuff That Works… view it here »
Ever learn a song that uses a melodic riff, and find yourself wishing it had a bit more substance? You’re in luck! In today’s video I’ll answer an audience question on this topic, where I’ll look at the Guy Clark song Stuff That Works — and explain how to add some depth to the riff heard in the intro.
This is a technique you can use in just about any song where a simple riff is played… simply remember to look for the surrounding chord shapes! Any notes you happen to pick, pluck, brush, or strum will generally sound great when combined with the riff you’re playing.
Here’s the question I’ll answer, sent in by Wendy:
Ever since I watched the lesson for Dublin Blues, I’ve done a deep dive into Guy Clark’s work. The more I hear, the more I like him, so thank you for that. I’m working on the song Stuff That Works (love it) and as usual, I’m having trouble figuring out the strum. I wonder if you could help me with that?
Also, I’m pretty confident that I worked out the intro (notes only) but struggling to figure out how to add more depth. Maybe you could point me in the right direction?
Watch my video to see my reply! With what I explain, you’ll be able to beef up the intro to Stuff That Works – or any other song that uses a similar riff.
Instructional PDF 2 pages
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My Full Song Lesson
If you’d like to learn how to play Stuff That Works from start to finish, check out my lesson below! I also made a print-friendly song sheet (including lyrics) which you can get via my lesson #516 page.
Guy Clark’s Album Recording
GC Vincent’s cover (Key of G)
Peter Gorgas’ cover (Key of C)
Carson McKee’s cover (Key of D)
Note, Carson is tuned down a whole step — so technically, he’s in the Key of C. But, he’s using the Key of D chord family – and it looks like he is tuned to double drop D.
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