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New Song: Blue Suede Shoes

Posted on December 26, 2019

Let’s learn this iconic classic! It was originally written and recorded by Carl Perkins in 1955, but it’s been performed by many others too, notably Elvis Presley. You can hear why it’s been such an influential song – it perfectly marries super-catchy musical hooks, the energy of rock n’ roll, the perfect musical structure of blues, and the indelible twang of country. If you’re looking for a song to teach you how all these styles came together, this one’s a great choice.

“Blue Suede Shoes”, made famous by Carl Perkins, is now available in Yousician for Guitar, Piano, Ukulele, Bass, and Singing.

Blue Suede Shoes for Guitar
by: James Neilson, Music Education Designer for Guitar

In the cowboy chords exercise (level 3) you’ll play the main chords of the song, using familiar cowboy shapes: A, D, and E. The strumming should be fairly straightforward, but it can be tricky to change chords quickly enough. Start slow, and give your fingers plenty of time to get used to the chord changes before building speed.

With the basic riff exercise (level 5) you’ll play the guitar riff, simplified a bit for playability. This song features one of the most popular guitar riffs of all time: that little fret-2 to fret-4 move using basic power chords (A5, D5, E5). It’s really the blues riff you need to learn, essential for every jam.

In the rhythm & lead exercise (level 9) you’ll play the original recorded guitar part, which combines iconic rock ‘n roll comping (short for ‘accompaniment’, i.e. chords and riffs) with equally iconic soloing. There are some fast licks to look out for, but they’re based on short repeating loops, so start slow to get the pattern under your fingers.

Blue Suede Shoes for Piano
by: Arttu Juntunen, Music Education Designer for Singing

In the melody exercise (level 3) pay special attention in the fingerings. Each note has a designated finger, so you don’t have to move your hand around as you play. After you’ve got the notes right, you can spend some time practicing to play the song in good rhythm with a rock n’ roll feel!

Solo piano exercise (level 3)
Like many blues and rock songs, this song uses a pentatonic scale. The Am pentatonic is one of the easiest scales to learn, as it uses only white keys. Before you play this song, you can go to the workout section in Yousician, and look for the “Pentatonic Scales” collection. The first scale in that collection is the Am -pentatonic. Just play it a couple of times and see if it makes learning this song easier!

Accompaniment exercise (level 5)
This rock song follows a structure familiar from blues, so it uses only three chords. This makes this song quite quick to learn! After you’ve learned the chords of each part, you can focus on really nailing the rhythm. Playing in good rhythm is an important part of rock n’ roll!

Blue Suede Shoes for Bass
by: Antti Halmetoja, Bass content specialist

In the basic bassline exercise (level 3) you’ll play a simplified version of this rock ’n roll tune. The song has only three chords, but the tempo is quite fast so focus on keeping a steady pulse.

In the original recording, the bass track is very unclear, so this full bassline exercise (level 7) captures the same feeling as the original recording. It’s a rock ’n roll walking bassline and there are a lot of variations, so focus to keep it steady and find the right notes!

Blue Suede Shoes for Singing
by: Arttu Juntunen, Music Education Designer for Singing

With this song, pay attention to rhythm and groove. The rhythm of the text is very speech-like, which gives the song a nice edge, so think of the whole thing as speaking instead of singing. It will also help you nail some of the harder melody jumps when you put more weight on your articulation instead of worrying about the pitch.