Walk Don't Run by The Ventures

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It seems that Walk Don't Run was The Ventures first widely released single. It appears to be their flagship hit song that propelled them on to international fame with an amazing career longevity.

A little research shows that The Ventures are apparently the best-selling instrumental band of all time with over 100 million records sold. I never knew that! Walk Don’t Run has lived on throughout and still gets a lot of play to this day.

While they predated the advent of the terms surf guitar or surf rock, and they do not consider themselves a surf rock group, they were a major building block of surf music, if not the first to play the style.

Guitar Player magazine, in an article titled "20 Essential Rock Albums", cited elements of their 1960 Walk, Don't Run album which foreshadowed the coming surf trend.

The Technique

The technique required would be suitable for almost anyone who is willing to start at a tempo appropriate for their own comfort zone and level. Saying that this is a great song for upper level beginners.

The melodic source scale for Walk Don’t Run is simply A Natural Minor. This all the natural or “white key” piano notes from A to A. I have transcribed this as usual to keep it beginner friendly in the open position.

The chords can be played with any fingering comfortable for individual players. All open position chord fingerings will work fine. You may have to find an open solution for the F major chord that many times is taught as a bar chord exclusively. The final ending has a fret position eight C triad on the top four string set.

You can play the melody of Walk Don’t Run completely with single note lines or with peppering of double stops in thirds that appear on most versions I have heard.

The Theory

Walk Don’t Run It is based on a simple line cliché in A harmonic minor with the borrowed I major chord (A major) interchanged with the expected harmony of the I minor chord (A minor).

A, G, F, E

The tune shifts at times into the related C major

I IV V cadence: C F G

and a I VI IV: C, Amin, F chords leading to the

V chord: E chord cadencing back to the returning

A major/min line cliché: A, G, F, E

You may notice the analysis (especially for the A min chord) can be looked at in two ways. Neither to me is wrong however it can be said that chords are more accurately named by their harmonic function in the moment.

NB * the V min chord becomes V (E maj) or V7 (E7) in the A harmonic minor scale.

A Natural minor Triads

I min II minb5 bIII maj IV min *V min bVI bVII

A min Bmin b5 C maj D min *E min F maj G maj

C major Triads

I maj II min III min IV maj V maj VI min VII-b5

C maj D min E min F maj G maj A min B min 5b

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