How to Play a Guitar Boogie Riff by Arthur Smith

Hey, how’s it going this is Jon McLennan with Guitar Control, we’ve got a great lesson on a song called “Guitar Boogie” by Arthur Smith.


Click on the Tabs button to follow chords and tabs.

The Intro starts with an e5, I’m basically playing two notes an open E- string and 2nd fret sliding into it and then the rest of the strings are just muted. Then you start with the main line and that’s just alternating with my right hand going down, up, down, up, down, up, down, and I’m really swinging hard on this this song, it’s a lot of fun to play so you do twice on each note. So we’re going to do two open E’s and then we’re going to slide up to the 4th fret on that same string, then move down to the 5th string and play the 2nd fret then to the 4th fret.

The first measure is 1, 2, 3, 4, and then we go to the 4th string 2nd fret and that’s our note E, it’s an octave of where we started and we walk back down so it’s up get to this note and go back instead of going. You could do this little lick on the end and you’ll hear this on your original recording.

That’s three hammer to four and play the 2nd fret of the 5th string and that’s all. Just hammer one pluck down and then up on the 5th string 2nd fret. Again coming off that E chord, I’m thinking maybe of an E7, so I do that twice and that’s going to take up the 1st four bars which is again just the one chord then we move to the A chord and I’m going to play that as similar riff based off the 5th string. So down one string same thing, this time I’m going to go up to five instead of playing the 2nd fret and then you go to that 4, 5, 4, 2, 4, on the 5th string on the 4th string another thing you’ll hear sometimes they an open string. I’ll give you an example; I go to the 4th and instead of going 4, 4, 5, its 4, 0, 5, and back to the 1st riff so I got from the beginning.

Now we hit what’s called the turnaround, this goes up to a B7. Again this whole song is really just three chords it’s like E7, A7, and a B7, so on the five chord I’m going to play the next chorus, again each time Arthur Smith play it a little differently but this is transcribed from the original recording that I came up with 2, 2, 4, 0, 5, that open on A. Now this just walks up all of them 0, 2, 3, 4, do three chords, kind of cool and then you go 2, 4, 2, 4, there’s an opening on the recording. It sounds like he’s just transitioning and kind of hitting the open strings to transition to the next part so from the five chord, let’s play the whole 1st chorus.

This next chorus here is a really cool lick and basically what we’re going to do is repeat the same thing on each chord, the 1st one is E and I go and then you hammer 2 to 3, and play an upstroke on 4 on the note C#. So it’s down, up, down, up, down, up, down. I think that’s the articulation it sounds, that’s you’re going to repeat for 4 bars on E. Now I’m going to copy/paste and move down one string and play the A-string twice. I’m going to hammer-on and play the 4th fret same thing down one string.

Now this is a little different off the five chords here can you do the root and go up to the 3rd. I’m playing the 2nd fret 5th string then I go diagonal with my 1st finger and do the same, like one hammer to two and pluck up stroke on the 3rd fret back to E. I’m going to follow that same 12 bar blues. Let me play that one chorus for you to show how it sounds like. In context 1, 2, & 3, okay let’s try from the b9 and that’s how you play the 1st two chorus of Arthur Smith’s “Guitar Boogie”.

I hope this lesson inspires you and makes you want to pick up the guitar and play it every day, it’s such a cool instrument. Make sure to subscribe on our You Tube Channel and we’ll see you in our next video lessons, thanks for watching.

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