Monkey Man by The Rolling Stones | electric
An electric guitar lesson on how to play "Monkey Man" by the Rolling Stones from their album "Let It Bleed" released in 1969.
I've had a lot of requests for this one over the years so here it is.
Apart from the great piano intro played by Nicky Hopkins, this one is all about the guitar! It's classic Keith Richards, but with a twist. He adds a note to the classic E/B suspended chord, making it an E7/B and that's what gives it that extra bite and it's signature sound.
It's in the key of C#, but is played with a capo on the 2nd fret on the original recording. Although Keith plays it live these days without a capo, the ONLY way to get those riffs in the verses is with a D shaped chord.
I would bet that Kieth wrote this in B, and when Mick went to sing it it was too low. Of course the easiest way to raise the pitch is with a capo, that way you can keep all of the chords shapes the same. So IMHO that's what they did.
In this lesson, although the song is in C#, with the capo at 2 you can play it like it's in B. That way you get to play the E chord in a D shape and it makes getting those verse licks easy.
Transcribing Keith Richards guitar playing is almost sacrilegious as he' never plays anything the same way twice but after listing to this for fifty plus years, I think it's important to try and nail his exact licks. By doing that, you really get a great insight into how he thinks and plays.
If I were playing this is in a band, I wouldn't be as exact and would take it in my own direction. But if you're learning guitar, you just can't underestimate the amount of knowledge and insight you gain by learning songs like this note for note!
I had a great time working on this tune so I hope you enjoy the video and that it helps you to learn this Stones seventies classic. Cheers
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