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Substitute - The Who.


(@vic-lewis-vl)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 10340
Topic starter  

Conversation with Dan T last week - we agreed there's not enough Who songs in the ESD. Dan got on the job pretty quickly and tabbed "Can't Explain" - my end of the bargain was tabbing Substitute. I'd have had it done earlier in the week, but I managed to get a few days work stripping and re-decorating a kitchen - a BIG kitchen, so by the time I'd done a day's work, got home, eaten and showered, I've been too tired to do anything. Hardly touched a guitar all week. BUT - I've made up for it tonight. So here's my latest contribution.....

Substitute - The Who

This is a song I've been playing for a long time; no one actually told me it was quite a hard song
to play, so I went and worked it out anyway! I actually phoned a friend to find out how he played
the intro riff - which is also used in the chorus - and he e-mailed me with what sounds like a
pretty accurate tab for those parts. The main part of the song is pretty easy - you'll only need
four chords, D (plus a hammer-on for a D6 chord) G A and Em. The rest of is all what I think of
as "twiddly bits" - little riffs and fills that'll take a bit of practise, but once you get 'em
right, it'll sound great!

So - let's start at the very beginning, that's a very good place to start. Ummm, sorry, I had a
Maria von Trapp moment there - but she is right, when all's said and done!

INTRO (and let's call this riff#1, as we'll be using it again....)

This sounds pretty close....
D* D A/D G/D D D D* D A/D G/D D D

E |-5--2--5---3-3--2-2-|-5--2--5---3-3--2-2---|
B |-7--3--5---3-3--3-3-|-7--3--5---3-3--3-3---|
G |-7--2--6---4-4--2-2-|-7--2--6---4-4--2-2---|
D |-0--0--0---0-0--0-0-|-0--0--0---0-0--0-0---|
A |--------------------|----------------------|
E |--------------------|----------------------|

Now that may look pretty daunting, but don't let the quick changes put you off - basically, all you
need to do is put a half-barre across the top three (G B and E) strings with your first finger. The
first chord - D* - is that half barre, plus your ring and pinky on the G and B strings. For the
second chord - D - you slide the index finger down to the second fret, keeping the same half-barre
shape, and use your middle finger on the B string. For the A/D chord, move the half-barre up to the
fifth fret and put your ring finger on the G string; for the G/D chord, keep exactly the same shape
and move it down two frets; then move the half-barre back down to the 2nd fret and play the D chord
twice.

Have a good practise at this before moving on - it's a bit tricky at first, takes a bit of getting
used to but honestly, once you get it you really will sound like a proper guitarist! Make sure to
let that open D string ring out, though....and either mute or miss out the bottom two strings.

OK, after the intro, there's a short pause before the song comes in; I think Pete T. just plays D
chords here, but there IS a way to flesh out the song a little, especially if you're playing this
solo on an acoustic guitar. Try this:
D D6 D D D6 D D D6 D D D6 D D D D6 D
E |-2--2--2--2---2--2--2---2--2--2---2--2--2--2--2--2---|
B |-3--3--3--3---3--3--3---3--3--3---3--3--3--3--3--3---|
G |-2--4--2--2---4--2--2---4--2--2---4--2--2--2--4--2---|
D |-0--0--0--0---0--0--0---0--0--0---0--0--0--0--0--0---|
A |-x--x--x--x---x--x--x---x--x--x---x--x--x--x--x--x---|
E |-x--x--x--x---x--x--x---x--x--x---x--x--x--x--x--x---|
d d u d d u d d u d d u d u d u

....and let's call this fill#1, as it'll come in handy during the verses.

So, to start with, play riff#1, then play fill#1 TWICE. Then the vocals come in:

Verse 1....

(D)You think we (G)look pretty good to(D)gether, (play fill#1 here)
(D)You think my (G)shoes are made of (D)leather, (play fill#1 here)

Next comes the pre-chorus; if you're not that great at changing chords quickly, you can just about
get away with strumming an Em chord throughout this next section; but, in the interest of adding a
little variety, here's a couple of ways to spice it up.

Firstly, you can try it with partial chords on the bottom three strings; that'll sound pretty much
like what Pete T's doing. If you're playing the song on electric guitar, the rest of the song's
pretty clean, but it sounds like he's using a little overdrive on this section. To my ears, anyway!
Em G D/F#
E |----------------| (The whole of the)
B |----------------| (pre-chorus section)
G |----------------| (is just this riff,)
D |----2-----0-----| (almost to the very)
A |----2--2--0-----| (end when it changes)
E |-0--0--3--2-----| (to A & Asus4.)

Secondly, if you're playing it on acoustic, it's (IMO) better to use full chords.

This couldn't be much easier: first, hit the open E string, then play Em G D (with or without the
F# in the bass, that's up to you!)
Em G D(F#)
E |----0--3--2-----|
B |----0--0--3-----|
G |----0--0--2-----|
D |----2--0--0-----|
A |----2--2--0-----|
E |-0--0--3--2-----|

Putting either of these riffs together with the lyrics, it should sound something like this:

Pre-chorus 1.....

But I'm a (Em)substi(G)tute (D) for a(Em)nother (G)guy, (D)
I (Em)look pretty (G)tall (D)but my (Em)heels are (G)high, (D)
The (Em)simple things you (G)see are (D)all (Em)compli(G)cated, (D)
I (Em)look (G)pretty (D)young but I'm (Em)just backdated (A)yeah,(Asus4)(A)

Now here comes what I find to be the trickiest bit of the whole song....the change from an open
A chord back to riff#1 for the chorus. From x02220 to xx0775 - there's no easy way around it.
But....if you can play the A chord with your first finger across the D G and B strings, that'll
get you half-way there - you just have to move that mini-barre up to the fifth fret across the top
three strings and throw your ring and pinky on as quickly as possible. Anyway, here's the chorus -
refer back to riff#1 for the fingerings and chord designations.

Chorus 1.....

(D*)Sub(D)sti(A/D)tute, your (G/D)lies for (D)facts,
I (D*)see (D)right (A/D)through your (G/D)plastic (D)mac,
I (D*)look (D)all (A/D)white but my (G/D)dad was (D)black,
My (D*)fine-(D)lookin' (A/D)suit's really (G/D)made out of (D)sack.

Brief pause - hold that last note for a couple of beats.

Play fill#1 once.

Verse 2.....

(D)I was born with a (G)plastic spoon in (D)my mouth, (play fill#1 here)
The north side of my town faced east and the east was facing south. (play fill#1 here)

Pre-chorus 2....

And now you (Em)dare to (G)look (D)me (Em)in the (G)eye,(D)
Those (Em)crocodile (G)tears (D)I (Em)watch you (G)cry,(D)
It's a (Em)genuine (G)prob(D)lem (Em)you won't (G)try,(D)
To (Em)work it out at (G)all (D)just (Em)pass it by, pass it (A)by,(Asus4)(A)

Chorus (2)

(D*)Sub(D)sti(A/D)tute, (G/D)me for (D)him,
(D*)Sub(D)sti(A/D)tute, my (G/D)coke for (D)gin,
(D*)Sub(D)sti(A/D)tute, you (G/D)for my (D)mum,
At (D*)least (D)I'll (A/D)get my (G/D)washing (D)done....

Play fill#1, then we're into the solo. Well - when I say solo, what you actually play are the same
chords as the verse....D, G, D, D, G and D. There is a way to add a little variety to this as well
if you're playing it on acoustic, though....simply incorporate Entwhistle's bass line into the
chords. Like so......
D G D D
E |-2--2--2--2---3--3--3--3---2--2--2--2---2--2--2--2---| (play)
B |-3--3--3--3---0--0--0--0---3--3--3--3---3--3--3--3---| (this)
G |-2--2--2--2---0--0--0--0---2--2--2--2---2--2--2--2---| (riff)
D |-0--0--0--0---0--0--0--0---0--0--0--0---0--0--0--0---| (twice)
A |-0--0--0--0---2--3--2--3---0--0--0--0---0--0--0--0---|
E |-2--3--2--3---3--3--3--3---2--3--2--3---2--3--2--3---|

All we're doing there is alternating between F# and G for the bass note in the D chords, and
between a C and a D note in the G chords. Another way of doing this, although it won't sound quite
as good, would be to play D and Dsus4 chords in place of the D/F# and D/G chords respectively, and
substitute (oops!) G and Gsus4 chords for the G chords.

Phew! Quick pause for breath if you've managed to get this far....the rest is plain sailing.
Everything you do from here on in is just a replay of something you've already played....

Next bit....repeat the first pre-chorus.

But I'm a (Em)substi(G)tute (D) for a(Em)nother (G)guy, (D)
I (Em)look pretty (G)tall (D)but my (Em)heels are (G)high, (D)
The (Em)simple things you (G)see are (D)all (Em)compli(G)cated, (D)
I (Em)look (G)pretty (D)young but I'm (Em)just backdated (A)yeah,(Asus4)(A)

Now repeat the intro riff - TWICE.
D* D A/D G/D D D D* D A/D G/D D D

E |-5--2--5---3-3--2-2-|-5--2--5---3-3--2-2---|
B |-7--3--5---3-3--3-3-|-7--3--5---3-3--3-3---|
G |-7--2--6---4-4--2-2-|-7--2--6---4-4--2-2---|
D |-0--0--0---0-0--0-0-|-0--0--0---0-0--0-0---|
A |--------------------|----------------------|
E |--------------------|----------------------|

Quick pause - hold the last note for a couple of beats, then repeat verse two, pre-chorus 2,
chorus 2 and finish with chorus 1...

(D)I was born with a (G)plastic spoon in (D)my mouth, (play fill#1 here)
The north side of my town faced east and the east was facing south. (play fill#1 here)

Pre-chorus 2....

And now you (Em)dare to (G)look (D)me (Em)in the (G)eye,(D)
Those (Em)crocodile (G)tears (D)I (Em)watch you (G)cry,(D)
It's a (Em)genuine (G)prob(D)lem (Em)you won't (G)try,(D)
To (Em)work it out at (G)all (D)just (Em)pass it by, pass it (A)by,(Asus4)(A)

Chorus (2)

(D*)Sub(D)sti(A/D)tute, (G/D)me for (D)him,
(D*)Sub(D)sti(A/D)tute, my (G/D)coke for (D)gin,
(D*)Sub(D)sti(A/D)tute, you (G/D)for my (D)mum,
At (D*)least (D)I'll (A/D)get my (G/D)washing (D)done....

Chorus 1.....

(D*)Sub(D)sti(A/D)tute, your (G/D)lies for (D)facts,
I (D*)see (D)right (A/D)through your (G/D)plastic (D)mac,
I (D*)look (D)all (A/D)white but my (G/D)dad was (D)black,
My (D*)fine-(D)lookin' (A/D)suit's really (G/D)made out of (D)sack.

Phew - and another deep breath! Any questions, feel free to ask...

:D :D :D

Vic

"Sometimes the beauty of music can help us all find strength to deal with all the curves life can throw us." (D. Hodge.)


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(@dan-t)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 5072
 

Very nicely done Vic! :D I like the extra fills or "twiddly bits" as you call them. 8)

As they say at the concerts; Who, Who, Who, Who, Who!

Dan

"The only way I know that guarantees no mistakes is not to play and that's simply not an option". David Hodge


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(@dogsbody)
Honorable Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 726
 

Good work there Vic,

Well broken up and explained.

Chris

The guitar is all right John but you'll never make a living out of it! (John Lennon's Aunt Mimi)


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(@vic-lewis-vl)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 10340
Topic starter  

Just an afterthought (as suggested by jase36 and Dan T) - I recorded myself playing this as practise for some possible open mic nights. I've played it pretty much exactly as I tabbed it out.....

Substitute

Jase said the video clip helped him sort out the fingerings for the intro riff - it's always nice to get feedback like that!

:D :D :D

Vic

"Sometimes the beauty of music can help us all find strength to deal with all the curves life can throw us." (D. Hodge.)


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(@dogsbody)
Honorable Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 726
 

Good rendition there Vic,

Loved it!

The others a very good too especially "Behind Blue Eyes" I would say you must go open miccing ASAP

Chris

The guitar is all right John but you'll never make a living out of it! (John Lennon's Aunt Mimi)


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(@athnel)
Active Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 8
 

A Classic.


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