When "Gimme Shelter" was released in 1969 off of The Rolling Stones' Let It Bleed album, the Vietnam War was in full swing and The Rolling Stones wanted to make their own protest song. So Mick Jagger and Keith Richards set out to write this legendary track.
"Gimme Shelter" was never released as a single but has still become known as perhaps The Stones' greatest work.
In this Gimme Shelter guitar lesson, I will show you how to play all the chords to this rock classic. Guitarist Keith Richards' rhythm guitar style is very unique and will provide some nice challenges for the player that is unfamiliar with his playing style.
You will need to tune your guitar to "Open E" in order to play all of the chords of this Stones classic. Starting from the 6th string, tune your guitar to E B E G# B E. Keith Richards employs open tunings throughout a lot of The Rolling Stones' repertoire to great effect. He is a true master out of conjuring interesting guitar riffs that are rich in detail.
The lesson opens with me performing the lengthy guitar intro. This section can seem very complex, but in reality it is based around a few basic chord shapes. These chord shapes are made possible and relatively easy to perform because of the open tuning.
Like I mention in the video lesson, it is important not to get too hung up on trying to recreate each note of every riff exactly like the original recording. Keith Richards never plays it the same way twice so why should you have to? To recreate it make sure you understand the chords all of the melodic content is based around and stay in that steady 8th note groove and everything will sound fine.
As the full band begins to play and the verse section enters, the feel of the music becomes much looser. Once again everything is based around some simple chords and the most important thing here is locking into the groove and recreating that loose rhythmic feel that Keith Richards is so well known for.
The chorus has a much more precise feel about it that repeats in a pretty consistent manner. It is also probably the easiest part of the song to consistently recreate due to this fact. However, you will have to play some quicker 16th notes strums during the chorus to help propel this more energetic section of the song.
During the second verse the rhythm approach used by Keith Richards is also a lot more consistent than during the first verse. I will demonstrate this second verse as well and you should aim to play it the same way every time throughout the rest of the song. 🙂
Well I hope you enjoy learning this classic rock masterpiece by The Rolling Stones!
If these free lessons help you, please donate to keep new ones coming daily. Thanks!! 🙂