Rick Parfitt Guitar Methods

author: bass1991guitar date: 06/13/2006 category: guitar techniques
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Rick Parfitt. Possibly one of the best songwriters ever, Parfitt uses the same techniques but still manages to make each and every song unique. As the driving force of Status Quo, Parfitt will sometimes need to continue a lead guitar riff (normally fig. 1) when the lead guitarist takes a solo (which he often does) or they play the shuffle together. So when learning a Quo song in a band, bear this in mind.
Fig. 1 - played under most parts of the song (in G)
Now, here is the part where I could baffle you beginners with loads of guitar lingo but I won't because it will mean nothing to you at this point in your guitaring life. OK then. Just one word. The shuffle. To explain this 'shuffle' simply, I'd like to label your fingers, calling your index finger "1" and so on, calling your little finger "4". Look at the tab above. The 3s are fretted with "1" and the 5s with "3." Playing these notes together gives you a very basic 5th chord. Now, keeping your fingers in this position you hit the 7s with "4". OK so far? Keep practising this technique because it is very hand in your own song writing. The above diagram was the shuffle in the key of G. However many tabs (including some of my own) do not demonstrate this technique very well if not at all. For instance "Break The Rules." The tab shows this:
Spent a long long evening in a low down honky-tonk bar...
The G above the word "long" suggests a G chord which can be interpreted many ways. An open G chord or G5 chord etc. but although this is correct this is rarely how Rick would play it. Rick would play the chord in the form of the the shuffle (what you have just played), but not always. So what if there isn't a G chord in the song? Well let me explain. To move the example you played to another key, you must find the root note of the chord (e.g. F chord = root note F) on your fret board. So keeping the same distance in your fingers, move the shape to another spot. For example:
Fig. 2 - in A
The 5s are the root note.
This can also be played on most strings too. The example shows the shuffle in C. This can (as all others can) be played in more than one place. In this case two examples of this can be starting on the 8th fret of your bottom E or the 3rd fret of your A string.
Fig. 3 - in C
Practice the shuffle in all the keys before advancing. To help you change key, I've noted the notes on the bottom E string (thickest one) to help you with your key finding.
Fig. 4
   E F F G G A A B C C D  D
       #   #   #     #    #
Well you get the idea. Now try and tackle "Rocking All Over The World" in the shuffle.
Oh here we are and here we are and here we go
All aboard and we're hittin' the road
Here we go
G                      C
Rockin' all over the world
However the shuffle is mainly used by Francis Rossi during verses. Rick does use the shuffle but somtimes uses a little riff a bit different from the other parts. A prime examle of this is "RAOTW." Now my mate thinks this is a hammer on but it is a slide. Under the chords Rick plays this little riff. If you have a fellow guitarist to hand the have him/her play the shuffle while you play this riff.
Fig. 5
play this under C

Fig. 6
Play this under F

Fig. 7
play this under G
Rick also uses open chords occasionally for instance "Living On An Island" and "Restless." I could be here all day describing chords used but that is not the lesson. "Whatever You Want", "Don't Drive My Car" to name but a few. Quo are known as the 3 chord wonders which is not actually correct. Yes, some of it is but not all of it. Rick's songs are usually very different to the others. It seems to me Rick tries to get something alternative out once in a while. Now how Rick writes like this I do not know but his Quo-ish sound songs are based around a rocky blues. Now my mate Sam will appreciate this, so here is the typical chord sequence that Quo use. The 12 bar blues. However Quo rarely use the 7th chord used frequently in the 12 bar blues. And Quo don't always use the blues in 12 bars, so lets just call it the blues. If you want to write a song in Quo's style then this chart will come in handy. - Come up with a structure (See fig. 9) - Decide on a key - Use the chart below to find some good chords to use - Play the chords in any order after starting with the key chord to create a sequence - Keep playing the sequence and get it into your head - Fit lyrics into the sequence
Fig. 8
E  | E A B
F  | F A# C
F# | F# B C#
G  | G C D
G# | G# C# D# 
A  | A D E
A# | A# D# F
B  | B E F#
C  | C F G
C# | C# F# G#
D  | D G A 
D# | D# G# A#
If you realy want to get complicated then take a chord in the sequence (obviously not the key chord) and take chords from that sequence as well, but try to practice with three to start with.
Fig. 9 - structure example.

Intros and solos use scales which are accessible via this site so get them there. For you less advanced players just use your chord sequence as an intro and remember that solos are not compulsory! If you do put a solo in then remember to stick to the key of the song. If you want any info on soloing or anything (and I mean anything) music based, e-mail me at quorockergreg@hotmail.co.uk.
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