Help with a Riff. The artist's playthrough video included. ("Chick Magnet" by MxPx)

While this is a bass part, I have actually practiced this riff on both my regular guitar and my bass. I’ve used tablature, as well as this playthrough video, to learn most of the song. There is one little part that is tripping me up. I was hoping that someone here could help me tease out the exact rhythm and notes going on. The tablature online all disagree with one another, and they are the simple kind, not the kind accompanied by standard notation or rhythm marks, so they don’t help with the rhythm at all.

This is probably the best possible video. It’s the artist who wrote the song, and has performed it for decades, with close-ups of both of his hands. The way he holds his hands, though, don’t always make it easy to see where he is fretting.

There are two riffs that make up the first part of the video, until about 1:17. I have them down. The chorus then starts, with a different riff at that point (1:17 or so). I have the first part of the chorus down, which repeats a couple of times… but then there is an… exit to the chorus? (The bit right before it returns to the intro riff.) That’s the part I’m having trouble with.

So, the chorus, it’s this same riff repeated 3? times, but then with this different ending before returning to the main/intro riff. So, the whole chorus is from about 1:17 to 1:41. The part I can’t figure out is the final three seconds or so, from 1:37 to 1:41.

The basic chorus riff, that repeats, seems to be A on the 5th fret of the E string x 8 (8th notes?), then F on the 3rd fret of the D string x 6 8th notes, then single 8th notes on 3rd fret of the A to a G on the 3rd fret of the E string

Chorus. This, x3, but with an extra ending tacked on the third time.


This little bit is the part I am unsure about, and it only lasts a few seconds. I think it’s a G, but up one octave, so… Fret 5 of the D string.

D String: =5=5=5=5=5=5=5=5=

I think he plays it twice the speed of those previous groupings, so maybe 16th notes? I just can’t tell if there’s more of a rhythm to it, other than just straight 8th notes. And, I thought maybe he’s hitting some other notes too? I don’t know. Any help would be great. I’m really racking my brain here.


Here I am, in all my glory, trying to get this down, and pointing out the part of the chorus I haven’t figured out yet.

Skip to about 2:00 to avoid my introduction and get right to the playing part.

Sounds like straight 16ths, up and down picking. I think it’s all one note, whatever he’s fretting on the D string? It’s behind a wall of distorted guitar so hard to hear it.

BTW - work on your muting game!

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Thank you, JK! I think you’re totally right. I believe that note is the G, fret five. That’s what someone else told me on Twitter, and I think it sounds right. So, basically, going from those 8th notes that make up the rest of the chorus, to straight 16ths for this transition bit. For some reason I thought there was a bit more of a pattern to it, but, it’s hard to tell. As you said, he’s got the full record track playing behind him, so, I’m also hearing the drums and guitars.

I was probably just making this a lot harder than it had to be. Thank you again for your help! :slight_smile:

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No worries. What is this weird 4 stringed guitar you’re playing though? It’s like a giant ukelele, let’s see some 6 string action :wink:

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Well, maybe I plan to learn this song for both, then record both! :slight_smile:

Speaking of ukeleles, have you seen the bass ukes? They are so popular right now. Most of them are the size of a baritone ukelele, but with these big rubber strings that allow it to get down to the bass register.

I saw one at the music store the other day that really caught my eye, because it was… really just an acoustic bass guitar, but slightly smaller, like comparing a concert to a dreadnaught guitar. I really don’t even know why they called it a “bass ukelele,” it was exactly like an acoustic bass guitar, just slightly smaller. It seemed like a fun way to practice bass, like “couch guitar” except, well, bass. But, you’re right… who wants to play a measly four strings. :rofl:

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I have not seen bass ukes! I’ve had fleeting thoughts of getting a baritone uke, they are quickly replaced with the desire to just get a smaller acoustic guitar, though. Same skills rather than learning something new :grin:

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I, also, have toyed with the idea of the baritone uke, or at least a tenor; I’m a fairly large guy with large hands. My understanding is that baritone ukes are often strung just like, well, a bass, but in a higher octave. So, you don’t have to worry about the different tuning of a traditional ukelele. So, at least your knowledge of the notes on the four strings would carry over from guitar. That is somewhat attractive. Then again, part of me thinks that would take a lot of the ukelele-ness out of it, not having that high string on the top. lol.

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One other point, and I should probably get in bed. It’s 2:26AM here. lol. (I work evenings though, so, I’m often up late. I’m trying to be better about it, though, since I’m back in college and have to be up earlier.)

Anyways, I also want a smaller acoustic. I’ve played a couple of the Fender Malibu acoustics at shops, and really like them. Aesthetically, I also like that they have the strat head on them, and come in some cool colors. lol. But, I really do like the concert-size guitar. I am disappointed in my purchase of the dreadnaught. I really feel it is just so big it’s not comfortable, so, I never play it. I’m considering selling the dreadnaught to help pay for a concert-size.

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I’m looking at a thin line 808 (OM?) size acoustic from Maton, a guitar builder in Australia. Called the Maton Performer. I like my dreadnought but the thin guitars are so much easier to play.

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This Todd.

When the guy is playing the chorus you can see him lifting his fingers to mute the strings between each note played.

And this. :smiley: