This hooky melody is a staple of balkan music, and luckily for guitarists it’s in a convenient place to play. It has eight bar sections that all fit together and within that there will be parts that everyone can play.
You want to at least try out all of the parts: the offbeat rhythm, the melody (section B) in the open position, and optionally depending what type of guitar you have, the melody higher up the guitar. When it comes to playing it live, even if it goes fast you’ll be able to play muted offbeat strumming and the walk down section. (Sections lettered C D E and F).
Start with practicing the offbeat rhythm with muted strings. It is essential to start this slowly and to tap your foot – your body has to get used to the movement and to retain your knowledge of where the beat is. If you skip this, you might feel like you’re able to do it fast, but when you’re trying to play with anyone else you may get off track with.
Here is a slow audio you can play along with. Don’t worry about the chords until you can do it with muted strings. There is a count for the first part and then you can just hear the foot tap and muted strum. Do this as a warm up. Even though it’s apparently simple, you’ll need full concentration to hear it.
MUTED STRUMMING SLOW – Start with this, tapping your foot where you hear the beat and hitting the strings where you hear the muted guitar. You can also mute the strings and play along with the chords audio below.
SLOW WITH CHORDS – When you have the rhythm, you can add in the chords. For the Gm and Cm, you will need to play barre chords, and if you haven’t learned these yet you can play G and C power chords (G is third fret on the sixth string, C is third fret on the fifth string). Once you can play this reliably with the audio that just has chords, move on to the audio which has chords and melody. When you can do that, try playing with the audio that JUST has melody and drums – this will give you more of a sense of what it will be like to play your part against other parts happening at the same time. While you’re working towards being able to play all the chords, you can start by just playing the D chord.
The chord progression is ||: D | Gm | D | Gm |
|Cm | Gm | D | Gm : ||
Even if you are quite new to guitar, this is a great melody to try out because it will develop your fingers and the coordination between left and right hand. *Important: use the same fret number as finger. Ie finger 1 for fret 1, finger 2 for fret 2, finger 3 for fret 3. This will be easier in the long run.
Everything together! Once you’re comfortable with the melody, you can play it along with this audio that has chords and melody. After that, play it against the audio above that ONLY has chords and rhythm, to see if you can keep your place when there’s no guide audio.
Getting this far on any of the parts is great! To take it further, below you can see faster versions of all the parts above. You can use them in the same ways as above – to play along with the same part you’re working on, or to play along with the audio that doesn’t have your part, so that you can replicate the situation where you have to keep doing your part and other parts are going on at the same time.