The Wallflowers are hardly what their name suggests. This energetic group has caught everyone’s attention by playing tight, no-nonsense American rock for a new generation – in the tradition of The Band, Tom Petty, The Traveling Wilburys, and mid-60s Bob Dylan. If pedigree accounts for anything, you can factor in the fact that Jakob Dylan. Bob’s son, is at the helm, and you can also point to the success of their 1996 album, Bringing Down the Horse. Bleeders is a leading cut from the record, loaded with plenty of crashing, jangling electric guitars, soulful organ touches, and a cooking rhythm section groove.
All the guitars in this arrangement are capoed at the 2nd fret – which means that the strings are clamped down at the 2nd fret with a barring device, called a capo, to change the “open key” of the instrument. Clamping down with a capo at the 2nd fret transposes the 2nd position into a higher-pitched open position. The 2nd fret becomes the “new nut” [Fig. 1]. Playing what would normally be an open A chord, for instance, actually results in the sound of а В chord in this new open position.
Capoing enables you to play in different keys using familiar open chord shapes. It is also often used to create a distinctively jangly, brighter tone. And the higher up the neck you capo, the brighter the tone becomes, because you are shortening the string length. When capoing, make sure to check your tuning after clamping down the strings. Often the capo’s pressure will cause the strings to go sharp or even flat. In this transcription, the actual-pitch chord is notated on top, and the open chords (what they would be named if they were played without a capo) appear in parentheses underneath. In this breakdown, I’ll be referring to the chords by their actual pitch names.
Bleeders is rhythm guitar based and rhythm guitar driven. The jangly, ringing, strummed chord approach of Rhy. Fig. 1 is exemplary. Here, the progression C#m-B/D#-E-F#m7-A-B7sus4-B7 makes for a well-constructed chain of different open and barred forms – rendered all the more sparkling by the capoed 2nd fret position. The strumming pattern is a constant eighth-note rhythm using even upstrokes and downstrokes. When you switch chords in this sort of progression, particularly with a constant eighth-note strum rhythm, be sure to look for common fingers and similar shapes as an aid to smooth left-hand movement between chord changes. For example, check out the E-F#m7-A-B7sus4 portion of the changes [Fig. 2]. Notice that the E note on the second string is common to all four chords and that it can be played through the changes using the same finger, the third finger. Notice also the commonalities in shape between the different forms, as in the physical similarities between F#m7 and A [Fig. 3].
A variation of this idea is found in the move from A to E/G# to F#m7 in the last measures of the chorus. Note that the forms are again connected by the common E tone on the second string [Fig.4].
It’s a part of The Wallflowers – Bleeders guitar lesson.
Below you can download PDF guitar tabs and sheet music of
Bleeders with backing track
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