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Thread: Did elvis play the guitar?

  1. #1

    Did elvis play the guitar?

    Did Elvis Presley actually play his guitar or was his playing "synced"?
    I came across this question on a web site.
    http://answers.google.com/answers/threadview?id=553526
    elvislady

  2. #2
    Mad Tigers minty's Avatar
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    "I know three cords,believe it or not,and i faked em all for a long time".Elvis looks ok playing the guitar on the 68 Special,played solo guitar on stage 76-77 with Charlie,home recordings and plays guitar on the two records he bought as gifts for his mum.I think he could strum along with the best of them

  3. #3
    TCB Mafia KPM's Avatar
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    He was progressing nicely in the 50s but after getting into the movies big time it probably was not as important since the best studio guys and session players could do it. But if you watch the 68 special he definetly remembered the familiar blues licks to lead into other chords and he had very good strumming, some guitar player for a big rock group commented on the strum he used(but I can not remember the group or name of the player-brain freeze)

  4. #4
    TCB Mafia hounddog's Avatar
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    Elvis played twelve bars blues in the 68 special.
    I've also seen it listed a few times that he played the lead bass in You're So Sqaure Baby I Don't Care because Bill Black walked out of the session.
    Elvis was a very good rhythm player. You can hear that in his home recordings, the 68 special, and some of the studio outakes. Like most things around Elvis he is underatted.

    When you watch him play he knew more than three chords.

  5. #5
    International Level thehillbillycat's Avatar
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    Elvis knew way more chords than three. Watch 68 special and outtakes from TTWII.

  6. #6
    TCB Mafia Raised on Rock's Avatar
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    Just watch this, and no more explanation needed...

    Shake Rattle and Roll
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7BTXU-tQyh0

    I Got a Woman
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S7kKdnL9uks

    Baby Let?s Play House
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GzOBLGBOJ7w

    That?s All RIght
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MgriK1b1484


    Baby What You Want Me To Do
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x163y1MQLic

    Tiger Man
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WGW9jxt1Nlc

    Trying To Get To You
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uv97WDnl8vY

    Little Sister/I Was tHe One/Love Me
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a7CDbgEFCWg

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Raised on Rock View Post
    Just watch this, and no more explanation needed...

    Shake Rattle and Roll
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7BTXU-tQyh0

    I Got a Woman
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S7kKdnL9uks

    Baby Let?s Play House
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GzOBLGBOJ7w

    That?s All RIght
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MgriK1b1484


    Baby What You Want Me To Do
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x163y1MQLic

    Tiger Man
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WGW9jxt1Nlc

    Trying To Get To You
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uv97WDnl8vY

    Little Sister/I Was tHe One/Love Me
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a7CDbgEFCWg
    Thanks for this.
    elvislady

  8. #8
    PINK Cadillac Lisarose's Avatar
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    Johnny Cash wrote in his book that Elvis was a much better picker than most people knew. And he can play more than 3 chords.

  9. #9
    TCB Mafia KPM's Avatar
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    Ithink that comment about only knowing 3 chords was just one of his jokes about himself.

  10. #10
    Backstage Pass waymore44's Avatar
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    Yeah definitely knew more than three chords. He does 6 in "Are You Lonesome Tonight". C, Em, Am, Dm, G, G7. Then "That's All Right" had 3 chords: A, D, E and he may have done a 7th of each of those chords at some time in the song. I know I would. That's just the Elvis In Concert Video. Look at the '68 special, he plays "Love Me" in F. So there's more chords. He was just joking and downplaying his ability.
    "I always liked that hillbilly."

    -Waymore

  11. #11
    Angel utmom2008's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KPM View Post
    Ithink that comment about only knowing 3 chords was just one of his jokes about himself.
    I think so too. At times Elvis had a wonderful self deprecating humor

  12. #12
    TCB Mafia
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    For rock and roll, Elvis was a good rhythm guitarist. His work on the Sun recordings was revolutionary even if it was fairly amateurish.

  13. #13
    International Level rhythmknights's Avatar
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    http://www.elvis.com.au/presley/inte...jandeelen.shtm

    this was a great interview with Scotty Moore that i happened to read today. the following quote is way down at the end.

    How would you rate Elvis as a guitarist? Fair. He had a good sense of timing and rhythm. He didn't know a whole lotta chords, but those he knew, he really could use 'em. And he'd play a little bass, a little drums...He had rhythm in his voice, he just had a natural thing about that. He could hear a song, and he knew what he could do with that song. And nobody else could do it. They're still imitating him today but they just can't do it. They just don't have whatever it is that Elvis had.
    just looking at the YouTube clips that RaisedOnRock quoted, Elvis was more than a fair guitarist, imo.
    All I wanted was a white knight with a good heart, soft touch, fast horse
    Ride me off into the sunset Baby, I'm forever yours


  14. #14
    International Level rickb's Avatar
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    I think he was quite a competent player but didn't pursue that as his major strength.
    His bass playing on You're So Square is a classic piece of rock'n'roll.
    His piano playing is also overlooked.
    Rick

  15. #15
    Coming On Strong
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    Just a handfull of chords can go a long way, its not always how many chords you know but how you use them. Elvis was no great player, but he sure could use the chords he knew.

    From time to time on various Elvis boards i have seem some fans go crazy over Elvis` guitar playing on the 68 special, but that was very basic stuff.

  16. #16
    Graceland Mail Room U.S. Male's Avatar
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    Elvis played the rhythm part on the guitar on nearly all of his 50's recordings and live performances, but also on many of his early-mid 60's studio recordings as well (check out the early takes of Like a Baby).

    Of course it's well known that he played both the acoustic & electric guitars in the 68 Comeback Special on tv, but he also accompanied himself on quite a few numbers during his return to live performing in Las Vegas 1969.

    As the 1970's rolled around, he wanted to be known more as a singer, which caused him to not want to use the instrument very much.

    Charlie Hodge once mentioned that "He didn't really want to use the guitar at all during the 70's, but many of the people around him told him that he should, because he had been associated with the instrument for so long, so Elvis decided to use it for the first 2 or 3 songs in the show only."

    However, later in the 70's (1974, 1976 and 1977) begin to play a couple of extra songs while accompanying himself on the guitar, because according to Elvis "people ask me if I can still play the guitar and so I have to prove it to them." Songs he would do included "Blue Christmas, Reconsider Baby, Are You Lonesome Tonight, and his first hit - That's Alright."

    Unfortunately, we never got to hear him play anything else on this great instrument after August 16, 1977, but it was packed and ready to head out on the tour he was supposed to start that very day.

    One can imagine what songs might have been played had he stayed with us a little longer?
    "Don't tamper with the property of the U.S. Male"

  17. #17
    MissyM
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    Of course he could, but his singing was what was focused on. And the way he moves/dances it would be hard to play guitar at the same time. But he diffinately knew how to play. Now do you know who really taught him to play???

  18. #18
    SleepyJack
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    I think he was much better than most people tought..including himself.It would be almost impossible not to improve,considering some of the great guitarists he was involved with..Chet Atkins,Scotty Moore,James Burton....
    As with his voice he had a great sense of rythm and timing.Many times I`ve heard it said that he preferred playing bass in private...love to hear that!

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by hounddog View Post
    Elvis played twelve bars blues in the 68 special.
    I've also seen it listed a few times that he played the lead bass in You're So Sqaure Baby I Don't Care because Bill Black walked out of the session.
    Elvis was a very good rhythm player. You can hear that in his home recordings, the 68 special, and some of the studio outakes. Like most things around Elvis he is underatted.

    When you watch him play he knew more than three chords.
    thanks for telling this,I never knew this and I LOVE that song
    For him playing the guitar,I don't know if he could play it...I think he did,but maybe he only could play the songs he had to sing...
    I'd like to go to Graceland
    Memphis,Tennessee

  20. #20
    Backstage Pass LovesElvis's Avatar
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    As someone who has tried (and failed miserably) to play guitar, I admire anyone who can even get three chords out without mixing up fingers & frets and all that. I'm a piano girl.

    So you don't see him playing upside down & left-handed a la Hendrix, but it doesn't take a musical genius to see that he knows way more than 3 chords. I agree that it was his way of not bragging. I certainly don't mind watching those beautiful hands play the guitar or piano, but if I had to choose, I'd certainly want the singing any day. Hands down.
    "...You never stood in that man's shoes, or saw things through his eyes, or stood and watched with helpless hands, while the heart inside you dies. So help your brother along the way, no matter where he starts. For the same God that made you made him too...these men with broken hearts." Hank Williams, Sr, as quoted by

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