New Song: Complicated for Guitar, Bass, Ukulele, and more

Posted on August 2, 2019

Let’s learn to play this catchy pop tune! You may notice it has a fairly simple 2-part structure: verse and chorus (plus an intro that’s similar to the chorus). Make sure you pay attention to this repetitive structure when learning the song – it’s much faster to learn Chorus 2 when you recognize it’s largely the same as Chorus 1, plus it helps you understand how the song fits together as a whole.

“Complicated”, made famous by Avril Lavigne, is now available in Yousician for Guitar, Piano, Ukulele, Bass, and Singing.

Complicated for Guitar
by: James Neilson, Music Education Designer for Guitar

In the basic riff exercise (level 1) you’ll play along with the underlying guitar & bass riff. It uses notes in the first 3 frets, all on the E, A, and D strings (the 3 thickest strings). Start by learning one section at a time (slowly if needed), and pay attention to the repetition – it makes it much faster to learn the whole song.

In the main melody exercise (level 4) you’ll play along with a slightly simplified version of the vocal melody, plus some instrumental guitar melodies. Look out for the high fret numbers, they can be confusing to read! Use the fretboard markers (dots on your guitar fretboard) to help you find your way – they’re usually on frets 3, 5, 7, 9, and 12.

In the cowboy chords exercise (level 5) you’ll play along with the chords in the song: Am F C G (plus an occasional Dm). This particular group of chords is extremely common in music – you’ll find them together in thousands of songs, so this is a handy song to practice. It’s written with a capo on fret 5, but you can hit “transpose” to play along without a capo if needed.

Complicated for Bass
by: Vellu Halkosalmi, Music Education Designer for Bass and Ukulele

The basic bassline exercise (level 2) offers you a perfect opportunity to practice locking in with the bass drum. Try to focus more on listening to and feeling the drums, than watching the ball to know when to play. It’s a great feeling to get in the groove, and managing to hit your notes perfectly together with the drums.

The main bassline exercise (level 4) contains all the important bits of the recorded bassline. The chorus has a bit challenging syncopated rhythm, in the end, each C chord, so pay some extra attention to how drums play it to stay locked in. Also, let all the connected longer notes ring out for the full duration until the next note starts. At moments like this, the duration of the bass notes has a big impact on how the energy of the music carries on to the next bar.

The full bassline exercise (level 8) has lots of interesting things happening. Mainly the focus is in the groove and articulation (note lengths), plus getting a full round tone. The Drop D tuning allows you to play those low D notes at strategic spots. Note that these low notes are not overused so that they can deliver maximum effect. Finally, there are some juicy melodic licks to play, both located little over halfway into verse 2 and verse 3.

Complicated for Ukulele
by: Vellu Halkosalmi, Music Education Designer for Bass and Ukulele

The melody exercise (level 4) is a simplified version of the main lead vocal part. It is all in the 1st fretting position except for the very beginning, where you need to stretch your pinky just a bit to reach those few notes on the 5th fret.

Basic chords exercise (level 4): Here you will strum all the chords of the song. All the written strums are downstrums, which feels natural in this tempo. Feel free to try out adding some upstrums between the indicated downstrums, the app won’t mind you playing more than what’s written in the exercise. Note that this exercise is in the key of G major (and not in the original recorded key of F major) so that it only contains chords that have been introduced by level 4.

The full chords exercise (level 6) is like the level 4 one, but this is in the original recorded key of F major. A great exercise to master the Bb major chord, where you need to fret both E and A strings on the first fret with your index finger. This technique of fretting more than one string with one finger is called “barre”.

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