by Jamie Kime
With his pensive, whispery vocals and jazz influenced pop-guitar sensibilities, singer/songwriter John Mayer serves up a lighter alternative to the standard Gen-X offering of testosterone fueled rap-rock, generic "mallcore", and hyped-up producer driven "products" pretending that their young, privileged lives are full of angst (as well as making believe they write their own songs). Apparently the formula is working, based on healthy sales of his latest effort, Room For Squares, and a Grammy for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance (for "Your Body Is A Wonderland"). Since the album's 2001 release, he's gained legitimate "street cred" with everyone from teenage girls that have outgrown Brittany and who need a cute, sensitive boy's poster to hang on their dorm room wall come September; to MOR radio consumers hungry for some new "adult" fare to digest; to serious guitarheads impressed by his Berklee-approved command of the instrument.
Here's a "Wonderland" inspired chord sequence that features a static F biad (2-note chord) with a moving bass note underneath. To facilitate the bass line walking up from D to E on the fifth string in measure 2, keep your index finger barred across the first five strings at the 5th fret throughout the example. Use your picking hand fingers to grab the broken eighth-note rhythm of the F on the second and third strings, and either your thumb or pick to outline the bass notes.