Welcome to the Guitar-Muse.com weekly challenge! Each week, we’re going to offer you a song that once learned – will make you a better guitarist. They will be in a multitude of different styles and genres, and each one should be a whole lot of fun!
We’re not going to teach you how to play these songs – we’re going to give you songs that should have a positive impact on your progression as a guitarist, and teach you something new. We’ll outline the “why” for you, and “what” you should look for as you learn the songs, but the “how” is up to you. Learn it the way you learn songs!
Learning Sting’s “I’m So Happy, I can’t Stop Crying”
We know that a lot of our readers are into hard rock and metal, but regardless of your personal taste in music, give this song a spin. The whole point of the “Weekly Guitar Challenge” is to challenge yourself, and a lot of times that includes learning something you wouldn’t normally learn how to play.
You’ll find the guitar in this song is a challenge because it never stops – there is an endless cycle of playing – and then at the end, a key change that will challenge you even more.
Let’s start out by checking the song out:
Tips for learning this song
I’m So Happy, I can’t stop Crying is an interesting one to learn because it’s totally playable with or without a capo on the first fret. Most of the riffs in the verse can be played with your index finger barred over the 1st fret, or you can use a capo on the first fret to get it down, then try it without a capo later. I’d recommend using a capo to begin with, especially if your left hand pinky isn’t quite where you’d like it to be. Once you’ve learned it with a capo, it’s an excellent exercise for that little finger.
There is a lot of movement in this song, and for the first two minutes, there really isn’t much breathing room, so you’ll want to learn it in chunks, and progress slowly until you can play it all the way through, up through about the two minute mark, where you’ll get a break with some slower, nice flowing arpeggios.
After this section, we’re going to change keys, and be prepared for another bout of non stop playing!
It’s important to get the rhythm down as well, and there is a lot of feeling involved to get it just right. The song has a pretty steady rhythm throughout. The electric guitar for example plays consistent 1/8 notes which sound deceptively simple, but after a few tries you’ll come to respect the practice it takes. Playing a song like this will get your picking hand locked into a tight, consistent rhythm while your fretting fingers have to synchronize perfectly while moving all over the neck. Learn the song, then adjust your focus to feeling the rhythm and you’ll nail it.
I also want to point out the technical benefit. While learning the song from tablature is viable, if you listen to the song you’ll hear Miller isn’t just strumming consistently like a wind up monkey. A lot of his moves introduce hammer-ons and pull-offs as well as seamlessly moving from single note melodies to intervals and back. Then as you listen you’ll notice his use of dynamics. Very often he’ll play very quietly almost to the point you’d think he stopped, but no. He’s still going. He’s just giving the other musicians some space as well, but he’s still in it.
Let us know in the comments below how it goes for you!
He’s been Sting’s right hand man and guitarist for years, and is an incredibly talented and accomplished musician. If you haven’t already, check out our Artist Spotlight on Dominic for more samples of his work and playing style. He’s been playing since he was 9 years old, and was playing in the Pretenders when he first met Sting. After a 3 hour “Jam Session” Sting offered him the job, and Dominic and Sting have been working together ever since.