What chords is Steve Cropper playing on "Green Onions"?

Discussion in 'Tab, Tips, Theory and Technique' started by CaliTele, Aug 20, 2009.

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  1. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

    Mar 17, 2003
    Lubbock, TX
    Okay, I may keep this thread going until I get it down.
    I have listened to the '64 version and the later live version with the Marshall amps on stage. Different things going on.
    IN the original '64 version, for the intro Cropper is hitting that Bb triad in the treble register...with the Bb in the bass, not over an F....and that is the only chord he is hitting while the bass is playing the F-F-Ab-Bb. The reference to a Bb triad over an F in the first two posts got me confused???? There is no F under that Bb triad. The bass is playing a Bb.
    In the later live version, he doesn't play the same thing. HE is hitting an F chord, and Ab and a Bb in time with the beat on those bass notes.
    I may have to admit/confess to getting a bit complex with my analysis of the rhthym chords going back to a quick stab on the Ab after the Bb. Mea culpa....although it might work..might not.
  2. warmingtone

    warmingtone Tele-Holic

    Aug 4, 2008
    The thing about these shuffles and stuff is that they are not really "chord changes" they are like riffs that use chords to elaborate a single "chord" if you like. So, it is much like a boogie thing (you wouldn't think of chuck berry's E-E6-E-E6 thing as "changing" on every beat?).

    So here, F-Ab-Bb is simply expressing F really and that's why it is so portable to the other changes in the I-IV-V progression. Same thing with higher ground, or things like ZZ Tops 'La Grange' or thousands of other songs that use this kind of thing over a single chord.

    The thing that is different with a lot of these "riffs" from keyboard instruments is that they will often harmonize. a line F-Ab-Bb in the bass say rather than a guitar players tendency to play perhaps those notes as a single line riff. However, there is much that can be 'stolen" from keyboard playing in this regard if you so choose. One thing that I tried to emulate in my "version" above was the kind of "bounce" that you sometimes get between the left and right hand on keyboard playing...so there is a kind of syncopation between the hands and the register. Practice syncing up with a bass player works great, or attempt to find ways of adding that kind of effect in the guitar riffs and such can be really rewarding (especially if you tend to play on your own a lot of the time). The thing to listen for in hammond organ like playing is that it is both a tremendously percussive instrument, but of course has an amazing amount of sustain (unlimited!) and this kind of thing is worth bearing in mind if you wanted that effect. A more funky guitar like sound is used by Wonder in songs like 'superstition' played on a clavichord but again, there are characteristic keyboard techniques that make it stand out from your typical guitar thing. It's a tribute to Cropper that he found a place for the guitar that kept well out of the way of Booker T's fabulous organ sound!
  3. Stylemaster

    Stylemaster Tele-Afflicted

    Jan 9, 2009
    West Orange, NJ
    Wow I was playing it all wrong. Gotta learn TAB!
  4. jefrs

    jefrs Doctor of Teleocity

    Nov 20, 2007
    Newbury, England
    Now I hear it as F major in the bass
    E/F Ab Bb :|
    But Fmin on the treble (the guitar)
    Fm Ab Bb
    Yet towards at the end of the tune it seems to resolve into Fmajor

    So the cheaty fingering becomes

    The XX3111 leaves the digit free for the Bb bend and pull-off...

    imo XX354X (F7) doesn't work where XX654X (Ab) does

    Follow the bass, and watch clips of Cropper playing it..
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