The rhythm guitar parts of "Let's Dance" were written and performed by Nile Rodgers. He took the original idea that David Bowie had for the song and turned it into a very unique and instantly recognizable guitar part.
On the album version of "Let's Dance", you will also hear multiple extended guitar solos played by the incredible Stevie Ray Vaughan. The single version only contains a couple of guitar of his guitar licks. I have focused on just the rhythm guitar work in this lesson since I feel not only is it very unique, but that it will quickly allow you to play along with the more well known single version of the song.
"Let's Dance" is in the very uncommon guitar key of Bb minor. That was used in order to make the music less resonant and a bit brighter sounding for the tight delay effect drenched chord voicings.
"Let's Dance" starts with a Eb7 chord that gradually builds ala The Beatles. From there Nile Rodgers launches into the classic riff that we all know and love. That riff contains some of the most uncommon chords voicings that you will ever find in a hit pop song. There is also a liberal amount of delay added to the riff. Nile Rodgers actually plays a minimal right hand rhythm and the delays create the rest of the sound. I will show you exactly what he plays and another way to play the rhythm in order to closely match the sound of the delays if you don't have you own audio engineer following you around in order to lock these delays into your playing. 🙂
This main riff is also a great left hand muting exercise. Take your time when trying to get this riff down at first. It will really help you lock into a funk style riff no matter what song you are playing.
The pre-chorus uses a more laid back feel and common major, minor and dominant 7th chord forms. However, musically it is probably the most beautiful part of the song. At least to me. 🙂
I hope you guys enjoy learning this fantastic guitar driven song from the immortal David Bowie!
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