Johnny Marr teaches fans how to play a Smiths classic from his home studio

'The Headmaster Ritual', taught by the man himself

Johnny Marr has shared a video teaching fans how to play one of his finest riffs, The Smiths‘ ‘The Headmaster Ritual’.

Speaking from his home studio with his signature Fender Jaguar guitar, Marr took fans through a quick playthrough of the opening track to their 1985 LP ‘Meat Is Murder‘ before breaking it down section by section.

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“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 thats a handy device for cutting out the brain static that gets in the way of coming up with chord changes.”

The video was released by Fender as part of their ‘Artist Check-in’ series, which has also featured Rancid bassist Matt Freeman playing ‘Journey To The End Of The East Bay’, Foo Fighters guitarist Chris Shiflett playing ‘This Ol’ World’, and Best Coast‘s Bethany Cosentino covering The Replacement‘s ‘Swingin’ Party’.

The guitar manufacturers have pledged to make a donation to charity MusiCares’ COVID-19 relief fund, which aims to help those in the music industry affected by the pandemic, for every artist who appears in the series.

Meanwhile, shortly after the UK entered lockdown, Marr hosted an Instagram Q&A in which he revealed the songs he wishes he’d written and more.

He also went on to play a snippet of one of those tracks, Iggy and the Stooges ‘Raw Power’, as well as a few bars from his recent collaboration with Billie Eilish on the No Time To Die James Bond theme song. 

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