How to Play Girls and Boys by Blur

In this lesson I look at how to play Blur's Girls and Boys. Graham Coxon's guitar riff is brilliant and unusual and a lot of players don't seem to get this quite right. There's nothing too technical here; it's more a question of playing with the right attack and attitude. The thing I find trickiest is keeping my 1st finger barre firm and accurate, so all the notes ring cleanly.

My trusty flanger

My trusty flanger

One element of Coxon's style which I like is his use of effects. In this song he uses a flanger effect on just the F chord part of the riff, for a swooshing, filtered kind of sound. I'm using my old Boss BF-2 pedal, which I believe is the same pedal that Graham uses. I'm not entirely sure what all the controls on the pedal do, I just fiddle with them until it sounds good. Incidentally, the term "flanger" was apparently coined by John Lennon. Which is mildly interesting.

For the "solo" bit I'm using my Voodoo Lab tremolo pedal, which seems to get quite close to the sound on the recording. Everything's set on full for a nice, extreme effect. 


Slight correction.

 Just listening to the solo again, I think the Bb note in the last 2 bars is played an octave lower on the 15th fret of the 3rd string instead of the 18th fret on the 1st string as I play it in the video. So there we are. I like to get these things right. Below is my transcription of the piece.