Hey everyone, today I’m going to show you how to play “Hound Dog” by Elvis Presley. This is not just a popular oldie. It also falls into the category of “12 bar blues,” and we can use this to our advantage. We’re going to use this easy acoustic blues to practice strumming with a swing feel, accenting beats. To further accentuate that feel using very easy seventh chord shapes that’ll help make the harmony way more R&B. And finally, a little riff that you can use to jam along with your friends.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
0:43 – CHORDS + SWITCHING TIPS
2:46 – PRACTICE SWITCHING
4:18 – STRUMMING PATTERN
9:14 – VERSE PLAYALONG
11:00 – “BLUESY” 7th CHORD SUBS
13:27 – “BASSLINE” (a.k.a. RIFF)
18:00 – TIPS FOR BETTER PRACTICE
The lesson begins with the chord shapes C, F, and G. I show you an easy way to play F, so we can avoid the barre chord, and a different fingering for G that makes it really easy to switch back to C. We practice chord switching and then we learn the strumming pattern, which is a spin on the most common strumming pattern ever: down, down-up, up-down-up.
We utilize the basic motions, but they’re not really the whole picture when it comes to rhythm. We also need to change the feel, in this case, to a swing feel. To achieve this, remember: down strokes are longer than the up strokes. There’s a more technical way to look at it but we just keep it simple and work on achieving the “feel” and applying that to the strumming pattern.
After that, we learn to accent a couple beats. We play the first down stroke a bit quieter, and the first up stroke a bit louder. This sounds simple but it makes all the difference.
Once we have the strumming pattern sounding like the real deal. We put it together with the chords and that’s it! You can play hound dog at this point.
But if you want to take it further. We can change our chord shapes into seventh chords, which will make it sound a lot more like the real thing. We change C to C seven and G to G7. We practice playing it with down strokes only just to get the chord shapes.
And then finally, we take a look at a bassline or riff that you can use to jam with your friends. It’s very simple once you figure out the roots of C, G and F. There’s a little melody shape that you can apply to each of those roots. You basically can play the bass line using the exact same concept following the chord shapes, but this time as a riff.
Finally, I explain a really simple and effective way to practice that involves recording yourself playing the chords, and then practicing over those chords, using the bassline, or the seventh chords.
And that’s that! I know this was a bit more than just how to play Hound Dog. But I really wanted to take advantage of the fact that this song had the right components, and is something that can help you get into intermediate territory and do it while playing songs that you love to play.
See you next time!