How do I organ solo like The Zombies' "She's Not There"?
March 7, 2013 1:18 PM   Subscribe

Hi all. I'm trying to learn how to play the organ solo in "She's Not There" or alternatively "Sticks and Stones" by the Zombies. I'm not sure what they are... the blues scale? I have moderate piano experience.
posted by Shasta to Media & Arts (9 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
in "Sticks and stones," yes, thats just noodling up and down the blues scale in tonic and dominant, as far as I can hear. I fail to hear an organ solo in "She's not there."
posted by Namlit at 2:59 PM on March 7, 2013

Just play pentatonic scales in every key you can. Play along with the record until you know it so well you want to ask it for a divorce. And don't overthink it. Once you get used to those scales they will just flow. Think of it this way, what takes more time, tying your shoe, or trying to think out every step involved in that. Just have fun
posted by timsteil at 3:01 PM on March 7, 2013

I fail to hear an organ solo in "She's not there."

Well, technically I think it's an electric piano, but the solo starts at around 1:39.

It sounds to me like he's just noodling around the minor pentatonic, and occasionally throwing in a major 2nd.
posted by Guernsey Halleck at 3:32 PM on March 7, 2013

Electric piano indeed. And I cast vote with the minor pentatonic group.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 3:37 PM on March 7, 2013 [1 favorite]

noodling around the minor pentatonic, and occasionally throwing in a major 2nd

Over C minor, you can also play the Bb major pentatonic scale (Bb-C-D-F-G), which gives you the major 2nd and the 4th of the C minor tonality. Try throwing that in from time to time, it cuts the monotony. That really amounts to just lowering the b3 of the C minor pentatonic scale, come to think of it, but suggesting that Bb major chord sounds nice.
posted by thelonius at 4:03 PM on March 7, 2013

I think it's a blues scale with a natural 7th thrown in. As a scale, it has a nice symmetry between the two chromatic runs from 4-b5-5 and b7-7-8. Honestly, I always have called this the "blues" scale and regularly use the natural seventh when jamming in a minor pentatonic or blues scale. They're all the same to me.
posted by grog at 4:45 PM on March 7, 2013

Response by poster: Thanks so much everyone! Time to learn some new scales.
posted by Shasta at 4:55 PM on March 7, 2013

On the original recording of "She's Not There", keyboardist Rod Argent is playing an unusual instrument, a Hohner Pianet. It's kinda like an electric piano, but the keys are stuck to the tines with sticky gum, and they make that distinctive pinging sound when they unstick. These keyboards were popular in the mid 60's because they were cheaper and more portable than a Rhodes or Wurlitzer piano.

(I actually found one in the garbage about ten years ago, but it was pretty messed up.)
posted by ovvl at 8:59 PM on March 7, 2013 [1 favorite]

The verse of She's Not There goes like this:
[Am]Well no one [D]told me a[Am7]bout [D]her
[Am]The [F]way she [Am]lied [D]
[Am7]Well no one [D]told me a[Am7]bout [D]her
[Am]How many [F]people [A]cried
You could play A minor pentatonic over the whole thing (until the last chord, when you'd need to switch to A major), but that wouldn't really be taking advantage of the possibilities. The main vibe of the section is provided by the Am D progression, which gives you the A dorian mode. The dorian mode is a minor scale with a major sixth, so A B C D E F# G. But when the F major chord appears, you'd switch back to A minor, which has an F natural.
posted by ludwig_van at 8:03 AM on March 8, 2013

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