Today’s acoustic guitar tutorial from Scottsdale Music Academy founder John Davis has him mastering the acoustic pickings, bends, and hammer-ons for the big 1998 Everlast hit “What It’s Like”.
“What It’s Like” hit the #1 spot on several Billboard Rock music charts that year, and reached #13 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart as well. The song struck a chord with listeners as it offered a questioning view (“God forbid you ever had to walk a mile in his/her shoes…”) about persons who judge or deride others based on appearances or circumstances.
In the video below, John will show how a pretty simple chord structure (Dm, Fmaj7, C major) can sound incredibly cool by using a variety of hammer-ons and pull-offs in his acoustic playing.
John explains to viewers that using these three chords can be embellished when you play the chords as an arpeggio. While playing the Dm chord, pick from the D string, then hit the G, B and E strings, and use your pinkie finger to hammer down and pull off on the 3rd fret E string.
Then the chord sequence shifts into the Fmaj7 and the C major. In this part, John shows how to pick the arpeggio of the chord, then follow that up by simply plucking the first two notes of the chord, then downstroke the rest of the chord, the upstroke, then a strum, strum upstroke on the same notes coming back up. Watch the video for that last sentence to make sense! That’s the playing structure for the main chords.
It’s really a lovely minor-chord acoustic guitar sequence that works for the melancholy lyrical bent of the song. Practicing this part over and over should get you on your way for learning the rest of the song over its multiple verses and choruses.
We’re happy to share John’s guitar tutorial clips with you. If you like what you see, and want to get better on guitar playing, then set up your first free lesson at Scottsdale Music Academy! We’ll help you improve your guitar-playing ability. Contact us at Scottsdale Music Academy at 602-751-3537 today for your FREE first lesson!