5

Long story short, we are going to be playing an instrumental accompaniment to this song at school. I can play either a guitar or bass. I know that the lead riff is a clavinet and there is a bass line:

Is there a separate electric guitar or is it just bass and clav? Or is there a good way to work in an electric guitar part?

The current ensemble is:

  • Piano
  • Reeds
  • Drums
  • Bass
  • Possibly electric guitar

Edit: Thanks for everyone's help! I ended up playing the lead guitar riff and we have another bass player.

  • 2
    If you mean the song by Stevie Wonder I will say that my band does that song with two guitars, a bass and drums. We don't have a clav or any other type keys or any horns. We do a quite authentic and recognizable rendition with just the guitars. – Rockin Cowboy Jan 5 '16 at 3:48
  • 3
    By chance, I happened to see a few days ago a clip of Stevie Wonder performing this song, circa 1972. There was a guitarist who seemed to be doubling the riff. – No'am Newman Jan 5 '16 at 5:37
7

I don't know why nobody else has mentioned this, but Stevie Wonder originally wrote "Superstition" to be a guitar song, not a keyboard song. Stevie Wonder wrote "Superstition" for guitarist Jeff Beck and his band Beck, Bogert and Appice in 1973.

Jeff Beck recorded the original version (with slightly different lyrics) which had no keyboards at all. Because of the record labels' schedules, the Stevie Wonder version was released first and became a bigger hit, but that is not how Stevie Wonder and Jeff Beck intended it to happen.

Listen to Jeff Beck's guitar-centric version.

Furthermore, guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan and his band did an excellent cover of "Superstition" in 1986. Behind the lead guitar are keyboardist Reese Wynans playing both Clavinet and Hammond organ. Stevie Wonder made a cameo appearance in the video, lending his approval to this version as well.

Update: I just realized that in 2010, when Stevie Wonder performed at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame concert, he performed "Superstition" together with Jeff Beck on lead guitar.

So yes, guitars and "Superstition" are a natural.

5

The original recording is actually two clavs, bass, drums, 2 brass tracks, vox.
If you have a keyboard player for the main hook riff, the guitarist could comp the 2nd clav line, which is much more chordal.

Though if it's a choice between guitar or bass, then the bassline is far more important, imo.

I uploaded a few bars to Soundcloud showing just drums, bass, 2nd clav line.
[perms for extracts for educational use only]

4

In funk there is always room for electric guitar! (Or two, as in this live in the studio video of the song.) Try 1-2 string "chords", heavily muted, playing rhythm.

2

As tetsujin says, take the second clav part, or double up the first, or even make up a second riff that works against the first. Then, after the riffy bit, play chords to help fill out the horns part. I've done that in several bands which played this great song.

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