“Piece Of My Heart” by Janis Joplin

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Difficulty: Easy

Composer – Berns / Ragovoy

Where to find this song – I Got Dem Ol’ Kozmic Blues Again Mama track
# 11

Release Date – May 1969

The Bio:

This gem was one of the greatest female rock singer of the 1960s. Janis Joplin
was also a great blues singer, making her material her own with her wailing,
raspy, super chunky emotional delivery. First rising to stardom as the frontwoman
for the San Francisco psychedelic band, Big Brother and the Holding Company,
she left the group in the late ’60s for a brief and uneven (though commercially
successful) career as a solo artist.

Verse

The verse has 2 guitar parts. Here’s what they sound like together:



Here you will be focusing on using your thumb a little more than usual. Some
people have trouble with this, but it is mainly due to the way that some people’s
muscles feel when they stretch over the neck as required. It may be a little
uncomfortable, but by working on it with this riff, you are still able to barre
certain notes if you are having trouble using the thumb. Even if your hands
are smaller than usual, you should still try to learn a little on how to do
this. One big key in using the thumb is NOT focusing on how your fingers usually
sit on the strings. You may have to angle them a little different, and you
may have to turn your elbow a bit more in or out, but either way, you CAN still
do it. A major advantage to using the thumb is the understanding that ultimately,
as simple as this may sound, it’s true – you simply have more use of other
fingers. Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimi Hendrix, and Jimmy Page, were very big on
using their thumbs. Many blues guitarists and jazz musicians also do this.
Give it a try – you just may never play a barre chord the same!

There will be a “trill” in this lesson. You may or may not have
worked much with trills, but what you do is pretty simple. All you have to
do is take the first note and the second note and alternate them rapidly on
the frets. For example, when you are on the fifth fret, and you see a smaller
fret number ( in parentheses – for example – 5 (6) ) beside the fifth fret
on the tablature, you will go as fast as you can from the fifth fret to the
sixth fret over and over. It actually feels much like a hammer-on, and is also
treated much the same, as far as only striking the first note(s) being played.
You also know that there will be a trill because of the ribbon-like strand
that is on top of the tablature. You also know because in front of the ribbon-like
strand, there are abbreviations “tr”. Parentheses ALSO note that
this is a trill.

Guitar 1



Begin the first measure of this riff by placing your 2nd finger on the second
fret on the “D” string. Place your 1st finger on the first fret of
the “G” string. Play the “low E” open once, and then play
the second fret. Now, here is the trill. Notice that it shows the open fret
in parentheses. That just means that right after you strike the first fret,
lift on and off repeatedly for one beat, and then play the “B” string
open once. Next, you will need to use your thumb. Wrap your thumb over the
neck of the guitar so that it looks like the tip of your thumb is closest to
you. Put it on the fifth fret on the “low E” string. Now, place your
3rd finger on the seventh fret on the “D” string. Place your 2nd
finger on the sixth fret on the “G” string. Last, go ahead and barre
your 1st finger on the fifth frets of the “G” string and the “B” string.
That will allow you to perform a trill much easier. Now all you have to do
is play accordingly, and when you get to the trill, just lift your 2nd finger
up and down on the sixth fret, as long as you kept your 1st finger barred on
the fifth fret on the “B” string and the “G” string. If
you don’t feel good about this, just omit the thumb, and barre all of the fifth
frets on the appropriate strings to be played.

For the second measure, all you are doing is using your thumb again as a root.
Place your thumb on the seventh fret on the “low E” string. Barre
your 1st finger over the “high E” string and the “B” string
on the seventh frets. Place your 2nd finger on the eighth fret on the “G” string,
and your 3rd finger on the ninth fret on the “D” string. Play the “low
E” seventh fret, and then strum the other chords twice. Do the same thing
again, but this time, move up to the fifth fret and adjust accordingly.

Guitar 2



For the second guitar part, the second measure is identical to the second
measure in the first guitar part. Let’s focus on the first measure of this
part.

For the first measure of this part, place your 1st finger on the fourth fret
on the “high E” string. Place your 2nd finger on the fifth fret on
the “B” string. Play that according to the tablature twice, and then
just move your 1st finger to the fifth fret on the “high E” string
to end the measure.

Riff Resources

Complete Transcription To “Piece
Of My Heart” (PDF)

Complete Transcription To “Piece
Of My Heart” (Power Tab)