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Wille Nelson's Crazy - A Guitar Lesson

Guitar Lesson and arrangement by Kirk Lorange

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The video with un-blurred virtual fretboard can be downloaded from a link at the top of the TAB


Crazy ... what a great old tune. Written by Willie Nelson, it was made famous by Patsy Cline way back in 1962. I'm sure you'll recognize the jazz/bluesy melody.

I've done this in (you guessed it) the key of G. I wrote out the tab in 12/8 only because I was pulling my grey hair out trying to fit the lilting feel into 4/4. I always wind up playing a sort of hybrid straight/swing feel that -- for me, anyway -- is impossible to transcribe into Guitar Pro. I came pretty close in 12/8. Think of it as 4 sets of three.

I found this one fairly tricky at first. The melody line uses some big, wide intervals and it took some practise to get the muscles to remember the moves. But, as always, a few hours of playing it and refining the arrangement was all I need to get to the point where I could just play it. I always marvel at the process.

I wrote in a little intro, the actual tune begins at bar 3. The trickiest bit, and the bit that took me while to put together, is that bit that fills bar 8. It's a fun line to play once you get it, though, so persevere.

You can dispense with the little-finger tap I do at bar 15, it's just my way of anchoring the time down.

The middle section starts at bar 19 ... here again there are some wide intervals to negotiate. Just follow the tab, cross reference with the video for finger positions, and stick at it. Remember who's the boss of those fingers.

As always, the trickiest and most important aspect is to keep that flow going. There is no need to be metronomic, to keep it strictly in time. You'll hear in my version that I speed up and slow down here and there. That's on purpose. I do that to inject some feel into it, some emotion. The word 'feel' that we musicians use, I guess comes from the bigger word 'feeling'. I think we all know what it means when someone says 'Play it with feeling'. It's a subtle thing, and it's the thing I miss most about music today. It's very hard for a computer to play with 'feel' (although they try to program it in!) ... Most of today's music is devoid of feel. But, as I've said many times in these lessons, the flow IS the music; the music IS the flow. So, get all the moves down, adapt them if necessary to your own taste and dexterity, and then reassemble them all 'with feeling' and get that flow happening.