What to Remember When Performing Portugal. The Man's "Feel It Still"

While the main riff for “Feel It Still” was recorded on bass, guitar players can easily adapt it to their instrument, just as lead singer John Gourley does when he performs the song live. Simply read through the tablature for Bass Figure 1 (see bars 1–8) as if it were the bottom four strings of a six-line guitar tab system. This works because a four-string bass is tuned to the same notes as the bottom four strings of a six-string guitar, only one octave lower. And if you want to recreate the notes in the same low register, use a pitch-shifter effect pedal to drop them one octave.

Whether you perform the main riff on bass or guitar, a key component to its sound lies in bassist Zachary Carothers’ deliberate usage of palm muting. The amount of pressure you apply to the strings with the palm greatly affects the sound and duration of the muted notes, so spend some time experimenting with palm placement and varying degrees of pressure. As always, the key is to listen and adjust your technique to emulate the sound of the recording as closely as possible.

Guitarists wishing to perform “Feel It Still” solo should check out our special arrangement for Guitar 2 throughout the transcription. Loosely based on Gourley’s live accompaniment, the tab and chord frames found in this “bonus” part, combined with an adaptation of Bass Figure 1 described above, should provide you with a satisfying way to perform the entire song unaccompanied.

For Jeff Perrin's tab of "Feel It Still," check out the March 2018 issue of Guitar World.

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