Johnny Marr Will Teach You A Smiths Classic From His Home Studio

Johnny Marr Will Teach You A Smiths Classic From His Home Studio

johnny marr
Johnny Marr. Photo by Lorne Thomson/Redferns.

If you’ve been looking for an isolation challenge to fill in some of that time at home, you might want to check out Fender’s ‘Artist Check-in’ series. The latest episode features Johnny Marr, speaking from his home studio with his signature “comet sparkle” Fender Jaguar on hand, teaching fans how to play “The Headmaster Ritual” from The Smiths 1985 LP, Meat Is Murder. He manages to make it look surprisingly easy, but we're guessing it's not! 

“I wrote it in a [open] tuning so I had no idea what I was doing when I wrote it and I quite like that,” Marr recalls in the clip. “I think that’s a handy device for cutting out the brain static that gets in the way of coming up with chord changes.”

It’s delightful to hear the classic new wave riff performed on its own, and in Marr’s competent hands it stands alone as a beautiful piece of music. Check out the full lesson below to see him break down the song, step by step. 

Fender have pledged to make a donation to the MusiCares COVID-19 relief fund, which aims to help those in the music industry affected by the pandemic, for every artist who appears on their ‘Artist Check-in’ series. Other episodes include Foo Fighters guitarist Chris Shiflett playing “This Ol’ World”, Rancid bassist Matt Freeman playing “Journey To The End Of The East Bay” and more. 

For more step by step instructions to some fine riffs, check out Fender’s ‘Artist Check-in’ series here.  

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