Honky Tonk Women by The Rolling Stones | electric
An electric guitar lesson on how to play "Honky Tonk Women" by the Rolling Stones. Released as a single on July 4th, 1969.
Mick and Keith wrote this when they were staying at a ranch in Brazil. It started out as a country song ala Hank Williams and that version (Country Honk) appears on the "Let It Bleed" album.
Here's a Rolling Stone article and video where they talk about it. It's great and also very funny! You can see why the Stones have been around so long. Although I'm sure they've had their moments, those two just seem to get along really well. Here's another video of Keith talking about the song.
Anyways, as good as the country version is, the rock and roll version is to me one of the greatest tracks ever recorded.
It's just such an iconic sound, with the cowbell and Charlie's great drum sound with Keith playing those classic open G licks! Just awesome! One interesting thing about the original track is that it starts out at 110bpm and by the last chorus it's up at 126! Haha, you gotta love that! That would NEVER happen today, with everyone so addicted to click tracks, but back then bands just played it the way they felt it.
In my demo I played with a drum machine and programmed the intro at 110, then 112 when the first guitar riff comes in then 116 for the rest of the track. I tried bumping it up to 124 but it just didn't work in that short space. It's amazing how that slow increase in speed affects the song. If you played the whole thing at 110 it just wouldn't work. Just like if you played the intro at 126 you'd completely lose the feel!
In my lesson I go over the intro, first verse and chorus, and the second verse and chorus. Although Keith's style is based entirely on feel, I've tried to get the part down exactly as he played it on the original recording. For my demo version, I had a bit of slap-back delay at around 150ms on my guitar. I faked the Honky Tonk piano part in the chorus with guitar although I didn't include the visual of that. I also over dubbed two electric guitars playing the fills in the chorus.
I had a blast working on these videos. It's just such a killer song! I hope that you get something out of them. Cheers
If you find this video useful, please consider making a donation. Thank you.