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The rapid acoustic guitar intro for “Crazy On You” by Heart introduced the rock world to the band in a very surprising way. “Crazy On You” was the first single off of Heart’s album Dreamboat Annie and guitarist Nancy Wilson paired the song which is in their signature hard rock style with a very cool and challenging acoustic guitar intro.
This rapid acoustic guitar intro was originally called “Steel Wheels” and uses a fast quasi Travis picking approach throughout. This fingerstyle approach was how the intro was written and recorded even though through the decades since it’s 1976 release, Nancy Wilson began to play the intro with a pick and a little bit of hybrid picking.
In any case, this Crazy On You Intro guitar lesson will focus on the original recorded version so drop that pick and get ready for a fingerstyle workout.
Upon the first couple of times listening to this intro you may feel that everything is a bit random sounding with different notes flying all over the place. In reality though, Nancy Wilson does use a repetitive pattern within all of this complex picking and she simply plays the pattern then does a variation on it over and over again 3 times in a row followed by an ending.
It can be quite difficult to get every note to ring true in this fast acoustic guitar intro. The pull-offs are going to be especially challenging. As always, it is about breaking everything down into sections and mastering each little detail by itself before putting all of those pieces together to form the entire intro.
Also, the tempo is quite fast but by no means should you practice at that tempo. Especially if you are not used to this style of fingerpicking. It is very important to get the fingerpicking patterns down well enough at a very slow tempo that you don’t even think about them when you speed it up. This is called muscle memory and is what your body uses for pretty much any rapid activity.
The training that you do at very slow tempos is what programs your muscle memory in a certain way. If you keep it clean and controlled it will also be clean and controlled when you speed it up. If you take a few short cuts and don’t practice the parts properly even at very slow tempos, that is also how you will play them when sped up.
In the second video lesson I will show you all of Nancy Wilson’s acoustic guitar chords starting from the end of the intro and progressing throughout the entire song.
You need to grab your pick again for these rhythms because Nancy Wilson does some very aggressive strumming throughout. This constant fast strumming makes for a nice picking exercise!
In the third video lesson I will tackle all of the electric guitar parts. We have that legendary main riff that is instantly recognizable by just about any rock music fan, plus lots of cool little guitar fills thrown into the pre-chorus.
I will also show you how to play both parts of the harmony guitar solo just in case you and another guitar player want to take a shot at it. If you don’t have another guitarist to harmonize with just pick the harmony part you like to play the best. They will both sound great on their own.
After the harmony guitar solo, we have short interlude with a clean guitar solo over it. I will also show you how to play that guitar solo note-for-note. 🙂
We that is about it. Hope you guys enjoy learning this rock epic from Heart!