Your Most Influential Musical Ability feat. Despacito (Luis Fonsi)

What is your most influential musical ability? What ability as a musician (if fully developed) will lead to your ultimate musical success. A skill so powerful it would cause you to be seriously in demand? Any guesses?

This past week I had an interesting thing happen in the studio. It all started when one of my students wanted to get a handle on the intro. riff and the chord structure for the pop song Despacito (by Luis Fonsi).

In case you haven't heard of this song, it's a huge hit right now. It was covered by Justin Bieber, and just to give you an idea of the reach that this piece has received, the YouTube video has over 2 Billion views, (YES, that was BILLION). It's a major hit.

My student wanted to review the chords and the intro. at the end of one of his guitar classes and since time was tight, we figured, let's jump online and grab a TAB chart to quickly be done with it. Well, as you'll find out (in the video below), it wasn't as easy as we thought it would be. Even with a hit pop song as huge as Despacito...


When we took a quick look over the guitar TABs for this piece (on everyone's favorite guitar TAB website ""), there were a few breakdowns of the song for chords and lyrics, and for the songs intro. But, nothing was really accurate.

This really surprised us, because the song is huge, so you'd figure that there would have been a solid well made chart posted already. It's been on the charts soaring away for 6 months.

Here's where we get to tie into the title of this post. In situations like these, you'll need to rely on your most influential musical ability, and that is your ear. If you can listen to a song and fully comprehend how to play it, (notice I used the phrase "How to Play it"), you'll be at that point as a musician where you're autonomous. You can completely function on your own. It all comes together once you have this ability down 100%.

So, back to this pop song. First of all, it's a simplistic piece, (as most pop songs are). The chord changes are common fair, and once you know what they are, there's no complexity whatsoever.

This songs intro. is the reason why guitarists have an interest in learning it. The riff at the start of the tune is all guitar. It has a Spanish flair and offers some interesting sound. However, we could not find a decent break down of it that actually sounded like the recording anywhere.

Again, here's where that most important musical attribute comes in again. Your ear! If you spend a few minuets messing with the intro. riff and then move on to how the chord changes sound after it wraps up, you discover that placing a capo at the 7th fret solves all of your problems and the tune is easy to jam on all the way through. It becomes a "No-Brainer."

Knowing the various boundaries and limitations of the guitar helps. Knowing how the scale tones sound, and when to apply the use of a capo will all go a long way to helping you nail down song parts - fast.

This business of lifting off song parts (quickly) is a critical skill. When you get that call asking you to learn 20 new songs for a gig the following week in a club, or private function - you better be able to pull it together and make yourself a pile of song charts. Because put it this way... you'll never learn three sets of material fast enough any other way, and the likelihood of a band supplying you with TAB and chord charts to read at the gig is almost nil.

Calls like the one I mentioned above happen a lot to a busy working musician, so having a great ear makes all of the difference in the world when you need to learn songs - and learn them fast.

If you're an aspiring pro, and paying your rent depends on getting gigs, a great ear is a must have skill. When household bills are due, you need to have the cash on hand to get them paid. And, a fantastic ear will get you known, it will keep you working and keep those bills paid every month.



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