Magazine article Guitar Player

Stevie Wonder's "Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours"

Magazine article Guitar Player

Stevie Wonder's "Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours"

Article excerpt

HOT ON THE HEELS OF THE "RAGA Rock" craze fomented by the appearance of the Indian sitar on the Beatles' "Norwegian Wood" and the Rolling Stones' "Paint it, Black," the Vinnie Bell-designed Coral Electric Sitar caused quite a ruckus when it first hit the market in 1967. The revolutionary instrument--which features a faux-snakeskin-covered Masonite body, two Danelectro lipstick tube pickups, Bell's "buzz bridge," and 13 sympathetic drone strings--eventually appeared on numerous hit records, including the Lemon Pipers' "Green Tambourine," Freda Payne's "Band of Gold," and Gene Pitney's "She's a Heartbreaker" (all featuring Bell), Joe South's "Games People Play," the Box Tops' "Cry Like a Baby," B.J. Thomas' "Hooked on a Feeling," and, of course, the source of this month's classic riff, Stevie Wonder's 1970 chart-topping single, "Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours."

The song features a signature intro and re-intro electric sitar riff, plus improvised F pentatonic major and minor licks peppered throughout the verses and choruses, all reportedly performed by Motown session guitarist Eddie "Chank" Willis, who also played electric sitar on Wonder's "I Was Made to Love Her" and the Supremes' "No Matter What Sign You Are."

Ex. 1 reveals that there's more to the four-bar intro riff than meets the ear. What first appears to be a simple descending F Mixolydian scale played in quarter notes minus its 2 (F-E[flat]-D-C-B[flat]A-F) is actually enhanced with a few extra details and notes that often go overlooked. …

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