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EGS Songbook Level One  The First Time – Rock

Songbook Level One

Understanding the chart

Download and print out the score, so that you can refer to it as you follow the guitar chart.

'The First Time'

Start by going through the chart, step by step, looking at each section and understanding what the chart is asking you to do.

Step One

The first thing you will see is the name of the tune, ‘The First Time’, and the names of the composer and arranger. The title is the important one as, if you had a number of songs to play, it is essential that you play the correct one!

Step Two

At the top left hand side, before the tune starts, you will see the note ‘4 Clicks’. This means that you will hear four clicks before the tune starts. This will help count you into the song.

Step Three

Next is the time signature, ‘C’, which is the sign for ‘common time’, and means there are four beats in each bar. This is familiar territory for you.

You may have noticed that, just before the time signature, is the beginning of a repeat sign — which you looked at in Lesson 1. This is a good time to look for the end of the repeat sign and make a note of its position.

The end repeat is actually at the end of bar 6 (12), so you play Verse 1 twice.

Step Four

The first thing to notice is that these chords are to be played with a clean sound. You will be changing to a distorted rock sound when you go into the Chorus. Now, what do you actually play?

You play the chords to the Verse – which are C, F and G – over a two bar pattern. You play the C for a whole bar, and then the F and G are played for two beats each. The last two bars of the Verse are the chords of Am, for a bar, and F and G again, for two beats each. Remember that you then repeat those six bars.

Step Five

So you have the first Verse played twice, and you are then ready to move into the Chorus. You are going to change from a clean sound to a distorted rock sound.

The rhythm has now changed to steady eighth notes. You should use a palm muting technique to get a nice clear chug, adding definition to the rhythm and creating some excitement.

You play three bars of A5 chords and then, at bar 16, you have a run to play. This consists of two A5 quarter note power chords, followed by G5 and F5. Notice that the G5 and F5 chords are played using eighth notes, and the change from G5 to F5 occurs on the ‘+’ of beat ‘4’. This then runs into three bars of F5 muted rock chords with an eighth note rhythm again.

You play the three bars of F5, and then you have another run (this time using F5, G5 and C5) into the second verse. The rhythm here is the same as at bar 16, and you will notice, if you listen to the music, that the rest of the band are playing the same rhythm.

Step Six

The second Verse continues with a rock eighth notes rhythm and, as a result, is pushing the tune forward more. The first Verse, by contrast, has quite a relaxed feel.

In the first bar you are introducing a mixture of palm muted and un-muted notes. Read the accented notes as un-muted to create the rhythm.

The chords are the same as the first Verse but, in this section, power 5-chords are used. Rhythmically, there is a nice little variation to the first Verse, as the G comes in half a beat earlier on the ‘+’ of ‘2’ — watch that carefully!

The second Verse is written without a repeat. The second time you play the sequence, which starts at bar 27, the A5 chords are played with an un-muted rhythm. This just gives a little more edge, as the song builds into the second Verse.

Step Seven

Chorus 2 is pretty much the same as Chorus 1. However, the runs are played using an accented (muted and un-muted) technique. The rhythms, at bars 36 and 40, are also slightly different. Run round these bars a few times, practising them carefully.

Step Eight

The third Verse is a little different from the second, so go through it methodically. Firstly, you will see the double bar lines at the beginning of bar 41 (end of bar 40), denoting the beginning of a new section. You continue to play a rock eighth notes feel, but this time without accents.

In the fourth bar (bar 44) of the Verse there is a change of rhythm. You hold the F and G for two beats each. You then play the A, at the beginning of bar 45, for a whole bar. You then return to the eighth note rock rhythm, and finish with a C5 power chord — which is held for one bar.

At the bottom of the chart, you will see the word ‘Fine’. This means ‘finished’… ‘the end’.

Step Nine

Now, watch and listen to the multimedia files, and follow the guitar chart through a couple of times. Once you have done that, have a go yourself. You can play with the guitars, or mute the guitarist on the track so that you can play on your own.

Remember to:

  1. Concentrate.
  2. Count.
  3. Look at the chart as you play.
  4. Cycle the difficult bits and practise them.
  5. Slow it down to a tempo at which you can read and play.
  6. Have fun.

Next: The First Time guitar score