By: Guided By Voices
Appears on: Earthquake Glue
During the Universal Truths and Cycles and Earthquake Glue tours, I managed to attend quite a few Guided By Voices shows. I didn’t follow them around the country, but I did head out of state a few times to see them. During this time, Nate Farley and Doug Gillard were on guitar duty, and I used to keep my eyes glued to their hands as much as possible, trying to learn how to play as many of the songs as I could remember.
It was also around this time that I was a frequent contributor to the Chords page of the old GBV website (now archived as part of robertpollard.net). Rich Turiel, webmaster at the time, received many an email from me; every few days or so I’d learn how to play another song and I’d tab it out and send it his way to share my knowledge with the GBV-lovin’ guitar community (or maybe that should be the guitar-playin’ GBV community).
At times, of course, I’d submit a mistake. One such example was “The Best Of Jill Hives” from Earthquake Glue. I had learned how to play it my way and rushed to write down the chords and sent them to Rich, only to witness the band play it live later and realize I had been playing it incorrectly! I use this song as an example because I’ve watched musicians cover this song and upload it onto YouTube, and I see that some of them also play it incorrectly. I can’t help but wonder if they learned it from my erroneous contribution.
So today I’m going to post a 100% accurate tab for “The Best Of Jill Hives,” and I encourage everyone to learn to play it the way Bob wrote it!
The song starts out with just drums and a very bouncy bassline; the guitars come in at 00:24 along with the lyric, “Mr. Skip to all or none.” Both the guitars and the bass use a Pollard guitar technique I like to call “drop the bass.” You can see in Figure 1 that you are fretting an E5 chord in the seventh position, but then removing your index finger—the one fretting the bass note of the chord—and leaving the remaining notes of the chord fretted, while the bass note “drops out” to a lower note. In this case—and, quite often in Pollard’s writing, in fact—the lower note is played as an open string. This playing technique continues throughout the verse over different chords, and occurs again in the chorus.
Here in the chorus (00:41), the bass note drops down a half-step (from E on the seventh fret of the fifth string to Eb on the sixth fret of the same string). I consider this as part of the same “drop the bass” technique we saw in the verse, even though the note it drops to isn’t an open string.
Those are the only parts you need to learn in order to play this song. During the second verse, there is some lovely noodling performed by Doug Gillard, but I’m just not going to try to figure it out. Anyway, enjoy!