Gimme Shelter by The Rolling Stones | electric
An electric guitar lesson on how to play "Gimme Shelter" by the Rolling Stones. It was the opening track on the "Let It Bleed" album released on December 5th, 1969.
One of the Stones biggest songs, "Gimme Shelter" is an epic track. It's hard to believe, but it only has 3 chords. It's really just a jam on C#, B and A.
If you watch any recent live videos of the Stones, you'll see that they play it in standard tuning, but the original version on "Let It Bleed" is in open E.
It has one of the most ominous and powerful intros ever recorded but the highlight of the song for me is the section that features Merry Clayton.
She was brought in at the last minute when Jimmy Miller asked Jack Nitzsche to contact a backup singer. It was around midnight when a very pregnant Merry Clayton arrived at the studio with her hair in curlers as she was just about to go to bed when she got the call.
Check out this awesome video of her explaining the session.
I think a lot of people may know this, but what you might not know is that later that night, Merry had a miscarriage. She attributed it to the exertions of singing her parts on Gimme Shelter.
Sadly, in 2014 Merry Clayton was in a car accident and had both of her legs amputated at the knees. Check out this article for more information about her.
For this lesson I mostly focused on the rhythm parts.
Everyone that's familiar with Keith Richards knows that he's more of a jam/feel type of guitarist that never plays anything the same way twice, but because this intro is so iconic, I did my best to transcribe it note for note.
For my demo, I faked the vocal part in the intro on my guitar. I also put in the güiro which even after listening to this song for fifty plus years, I'd never heard until I started working on the tune! It's actually quite prominent through the song. Now when I listen to it, all I hear is the güiro! Anyways, it just didn't sound right until I put that in there.
All of the guitars are played by Keith Richards on this one. I played some of his solo licks in my demo but after the intro, it's not really note for note as he's jamming throughout the track, so I just focused on the licks that I thought were memorable.
I really enjoyed working on this song, recording my demo and filming the lesson. I think it'll really help you if you're wanting to learn the tune.
I hope that you get something from the video. Cheers
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