I've been recently having a go at playing the guitar part for 'Catch Me If You Can'. I don't claim to be a high standard guitarist but I have a performance diploma and yet these parts are ridiculously hard for me to play. Any of the melody lines are simple enough but it's when the chord charts come out I fall to pieces. An example would be from the song 'Don't break the rules'. An extract is below: Don't break the rules guitar part

There are some very fast chord changes in bars 62 and 65 (tempo is 210bpm) which makes me question whether, in the pit, a guitarist would actually be expected to play these chords or whether they are for reference from what the piano is doing.

Am I missing a trick? Using smaller voicings rather than playing the full chords or do I just need to sit down and drill these chords into my head?

3 Answers 3


It's typical of stuff I play in big band arrangements. Yes, you're expected to play it verbatim. Often, though, with the awkward to get full chords, a two or three voice chord is enough. With a keyboard or piano player as well, they will sometimes, not always have a very similar chord arrangement, so if you played, say, C#m instead of C#m6, it won't hurt.There's sometimes the need for full-blooded chords, but, dependent on band size, particular arrangement, et al,smaller chords are good.

I notice in bars 62 and 65 there's a sort of push going on, with the chord coming in on the quaver before the bar following. Bars 60 and 64 aren't too clear as to where the change happens either. I'd have to go with the flow if I was sight reading it for a live performance. But, to be fair, unless the MD is really listening to everything (while conducting, playing, watching for cues, etc. etc.) he may forgive a dropped quaver chord or two. Let's hope so! But pros will play it perfectly first time. After which, the MD may decide that's not how he wants it anyhow...

Dip. level LCM would include this sort of level reading, from memory.

EDIT: I'd have to question the second half of bar 65. G#7b9/D# for three and a half beats, or is the slash there to make sure D# and C#m6 both make up the last two quavers. These are the bits that make it difficult even for a pro to read!

  • I think the G#7b9/D# is just for a quaver but is offset slightly so that it doesn't collide with the C#m6 chord. That's what the recording appears to do and I've found an alright voicing of it to jump between the two so I just need to get it memorised now. Commented Nov 14, 2016 at 16:08
  • @TimHargreaves - 3rd fret barre, I'd use. I'd like to listen - what is the reference?
    – Tim
    Commented Nov 14, 2016 at 16:22
  • 3rd fret barre? Could you link a chart for that? I would have used this voicing: chordgenerator.net/.png?p=x64545&f=-42131&s=8 Here's the link to the song: youtu.be/zNJxHVJtAVw?t=1m6s. I think it is on the 3rd beat of bar 65 that the piano plays it. Commented Nov 14, 2016 at 16:34
  • @TimHargreaves - sorry, I don't know how! Too old, stupid, and whatever! Tried your chord, and could only hold the barre on 4th fret with index finger! I should have said 4th fret barre, forgot it's G#, thought G and C...
    – Tim
    Commented Nov 14, 2016 at 16:44
  • Just realised my chord chart has the fingering mixed up. Think we're on about the same voicing. You mentioning the 3rd fret confused me but I'm following now. Commented Nov 14, 2016 at 23:23

The chords that are played make a huge difference in a song. In their own way, they are more important than the melody for the backup. If you have other players (like on the keyboard or whatever) you can get away with playing the easier versions as long as your not playing the wrong chord altogether.

  • Pretty well what I answered. Welcome. As a new poster, read through a lot of the answers, to find out how we work on this site. We try to be specific, complete and accurate.
    – Tim
    Commented Nov 13, 2016 at 9:01
  • But it's a nice summary, don't you agree? Commented Nov 14, 2016 at 23:39

I'd suggest that you almost never use barre chords. They muddy your sound, slow you down and in theory the bass and piano are going to handle what you leave out. You might find something similar to the feel of your example in the chart for 77 Sunset Strip and you can find the tune itself on youtube. I don't know anything about playing at the bpm you're talking about, sorry!

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