Learn to play Bon Jovi’s “Wanted Dead or Alive”

The 2017 Bon Jovi tour started this week – catch up on all the dates at the band’s website – https://www.bonjovi.com/. And if you’re in a local band, there’s still time to submit your band’s video to get a shot at opening up a Bon Jovi show in the city in which you play most often. It’s a great idea to get local musicians excited about the Bon Jovi tour and to build social media buzz around the tour. Many other major acts could learn some cool things about building a base of fans for touring from this marketing tactic.


While we’re on the topic of Bon Jovi, why not learn to play guitar for one of the band’s classic songs from our Scottsdale Music Academy leader and guitar instructor John Davis. In the video below, John walks you through the different acoustic layers that make up Bon Jovi’s “Wanted: Dead or Alive”. He refer to the different sections as ‘shaped’ and we’ll describe them below the clip. Have a listen first!


In the clip, John describes how to play the intro on an acoustic guitar, sounding just like the Bon Jovi recording. First get your guitar tuned up (John plays an Ibanez in the clip), and then listen as he describes the two shapes he plays, without playing the B string.


Shape 1 starts with an open D, then the second finger should be placed at the 14th fret on the G string – play that note arpeggio style with the open D, then skip over the B string and play the high E string on the 13th fret. As John puts it in the clip, pick the D string, G string and E string.


Shape 2 involves shifting the 2nd finger down to the 12th fret on the G string, and the 3rd finger comes down on the high E string’s 12th fret. You should use the same picking pattern, without picking the B string. Then use the same finger shape to the 10th fret for the next step.


The second part is using a new Shape 1 – the 2nd finger goes down a half-step (one fret) on the G string’s 9th fret, and the 3rd finger on the E string’s 8th fret. Next, you’ll move down to the 5th fret, with your 2nd finger at 5th fret G string and 3rd finger on the high E string’s 5th fret.


Next, you’ll move down one more fret to the 4th fret and pick up the same Shape 1 you used above. Then pick the note with your 2nd finger and slide down for the next turnaround part.


With a little practice and listening to the song, you’ll have the general idea of how to play the acoustic intro, and let those strings ring while you’re playing it.


That’s how we teach guitar at Scottsdale Music Academy. We break down complicated parts into easy to play parts that make sense once you put them together. Our instructors can work with you in individual or group lessons to learn how to play songs you want to learn.


We’re Scottsdale’s leading music instruction academy in Scottsdale, between Scottsdale Road and Hayden Road. Find out more at our website. Call Scottsdale Music Academy on 602-751-3527 for a free lesson and intro tour.


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