Duane Eddy – Peter Gunn

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Duane Eddy Peter GunnAlong with The Shadows’ Hank Marvin, Duane Eddy has to be one of the most successful instrumental guitarists to emerge from the rock’n’roll era. Born April 26th, 1938, in New York, Eddy began playing guitar at the age of five. He was influenced by such guitarists as Chet Atkins, Les Paul and Barney Kessel. Duane was renowned for his simple melodies (more often than not played on the bottom strings of the guitar) and healthy doses of trem-arm vibrato and reverb. Eddy’s career continued through the 50s and 60s, with this track, ‘Peter Gunn’, being used for the soundtrack to the film The Blues Brothers.

Eddy also collaborated with 80s pop band The Art of Noise for a remake of the same track. ‘Peter Gunn’ is probably Eddy’s most famous tune and includes that instantly recognisable riff. For the purposes of this lesson I have also included some of the saxophone melody, arranged here for the guitar.

Peter Gunn. Performance notes

Exercise 1 is the intro riff, which includes some of Eddy’s renowned tremolo arm techniques. On the original recording, I think the guitar was tuned a semi-tone higher, so the open low E string would sound as an F. Bass player Dave Bronze, who has toured with Eddy, told that they played it live in F. To save yourselves the bother of retuning I have written the riff in F, but-if you prefer to play it in E (using the open E as a pedal tone) shift everything down by one fret. To play the intro correctly, fret the F note on the first fret sixth string and depress the whammy bar so that the F becomes an E. Strike the string and release the bar, creating a smooth slur between the notes.

Pedalling on

Exercise 2 is the main riff. The riff uses the F note pedal tone and draws on notes from the F minor pentatonic with an added second:

Duane Eddy Peter Gunn Pedal Tone

The riff itself is pretty straightforward, but do make sure that you keep the rhythm tight and constant and look out for the symbols indicating that you should bend slightly sharp for that bluesy sound.

Exercise 3 shows the bridge riff, which is more of a break-down section. The guitar is pretty sparse in this section, outlining the chords of F and C by playing only the root notes, with a tight staccato feel. The section concludes with the riff found in Exercise 1.

Peter Gunn – The solo

Exercise 4 features the saxophone melody arranged for guitar. This melody uses notes from the F minor pentatonic scale with an added second, as well as F minor pentatonic with a flattened second:

F Minor Pentatonic

And the F major pentatonic scale:

F major pentatonic scale

This solo should not cause too many problems, but take care with some of the fast grace note hammer-ons, as these are vital in recreating some of the saxophone’s phrasing. There are also some fast sixteenth-note triplet trills using left hand slurs, plus some more bend-slightly-sharp notes for good measure.

Sound Advice

Duane Eddy Peter Gunn Sound Advice

Exercise 1. Intro riff

Duane Eddy Peter Gunn Intro Riff

Exercise 2. Main Riff

Duane Eddy Peter Gunn Main Riff

It’s just a part of Duane Eddy Peter Gunn guitar tab and music sheet.

Through the link below you can download a full transcription of

Duane Eddy Peter Gunn with backing track


19 November 2012 0 comments
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