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Head Over Heels – Detailed Notes on the Guitar 1 Book

Songs: The Go-Go’s
Book: Jeff Whitty / James Magruder
Year 2018 (Broadway)

In this article I take a close look at the Guitar 1 book for Head Over Heels, the Go-Go’s jukebox musical, which I played for the show’s premiere Seattle production at ArtsWest, in the winter of 2019. I make some general comments on the book, and describe the basic electric guitar sounds I used for the show, before diving into an in-depth review of each number in the book. The detailed review section will be most useful to guitarists preparing to play the Guitar 1 book, and will make more sense if you have a copy of the book available for reference. Without the book, much of the article will seem a little cryptic. In a previous article (Playing Head Over Heels – Guitar 1 and Guitar 2), I reviewed the show’s music, orchestration and equipment requirements.

This is a busy, energetic book that’s a lot of fun to play. The parts are well defined, but leave you some room for interpretation. There are some great solo breaks. It’s 90% electric guitar, with a little mandolin and acoustic guitar. The show isn’t sung through, but there are very few gaps in the music. The cues come thick and fast, leaving you tired but exhilarated at the end of each performance.

What Dost Thou Feel?

What Dost Thou Feel? Image courtesy of & © ArtsWest 2019

The book makes liberal use of slash rhythm notation, but most of the rhythms are spelt out, rather than having just pages of slash marks and chord symbols. Guitar 1 is a more precise book than Guitar 2, and has a lot of fully written out melodic sections, which are exposed and have to be played as written. It’s not particularly difficult, but crispness and accuracy is necessary. This isn’t a book I would recommend trying to sight read, but a modest amount of preparation time should be enough. Guitar 1 is also not an easy book for a sub player, for all of these reasons; it’s less risky to sub out Guitar 2, if subs are needed.

Errors: the only error that I have identified in the book is in #19. The title page calls for Ukulele, but there is no Ukulele in the number. Presumably a section of the number was cut and the reference to Ukulele was left inadvertently.

Page turns: the book is well laid out, with only two problematic page turns and two that I would class as “tricky”. There are no page numbers, so the following notes assume that the first page of music (#1: m.1-4) is page 1.

  • #3 – “A Vison of Nowness”: bad page turn from 2nd to 3rd page (p.15 to p.16).
  • #8 – “Automatic Rainy Day”: bad page turn from 2nd to 3rd page (p.39 to p.40).
  • #10 – “Vacation”: tricky page turn from 1st to 2nd page (p.46 to p.47).
  • #12 – “Our Lips Are Sealed”: tricky page turn from 1st to 2nd page (p.55 to p.56).

For the bad page turns, it’s a bit of a giveaway that both #3 and #8 have “Open 3 Pages” notes on their first page. I solved the problem by making p.16-17 and p.40-41 fold-out pages on the right hand side of the book. I also added a nice cover, a contents list and page numbers.

Guitar 1 setup - Head Over Heels, 2019

Guitar 1 setup – Head Over Heels, 2019

I provide fuller details of equipment and sounds in my companion article, Playing Head Over Heels – Guitar 1 And Guitar 2. However, before getting into the details of each song it’s useful to provide a brief summary of the basic sounds used in each song.

I used three basic sounds for most of the show – Clean, Overdrive (Light Distortion) and Distortion. The Overdrive sound was heavy and fairly distorted, rather than a light bluesy overdrive. The Distortion was heavy, with some top end brightness. Other effects were added as needed, and are covered in the detailed notes below.

I used only two pickup settings on my Tom Anderson “Strat”-style guitar:

  • Position 4 (middle and bridge pickups, with bridge in single coil mode)
  • Position 5 (bridge pickup, in humbucker mode).

The pickup settings I used for each song are provided in the detailed notes. I used fairly heavy (for me) 1.10mm Herdim picks throughout the show.

These notes describe my approach to playing the entire Guitar 1 book. In general I followed the excellent Broadway Cast Recording fairly closely, so the notes will useful to anyone trying to emulate the recording. You have a reasonable amount of latitude to interpret the music, but there are two guitars, and you do need to listen to each other and play with a reasonable amount of precision to keep the music tight. The Guitar 2 book is generally more forgiving than Guitar 1. I cover every number in the book, except those where Guitar 1 is tacet. As usual, I remind readers that these notes are intended to provide suggestions and spark ideas; this isn’t a manual. Electric Guitar is used for all numbers, except where noted otherwise.

#1: We Got The Beat
Pickup: Position 4
Sounds: Light Distortion throughout, with added boost m.45-56 (lead break).

The show opens big, with one of The Go-Go’s most well-known songs. It’s a high-energy dance number (there are a lot of those in this show), and straightforward to play.


  • m.4-18 – muted eighth-note rhythms: for much of the number you have to play muted eighth-note A5 power chords. For some reason, these are written as single notes, as shown in the excerpt below. They should all be played with an E added above them. The rhythm has tenuto and staccato symbols under each note, meaning the notes should be held for as much of their full length as possible, while still being distinctly separate from each other. In practice this means playing the rhythm slightly palm-muted, to get that distinctive “chugging” rock rhythm sound.


  • m.19-20: these two measures lead into the chorus. Gradually release the palm-muting, play harder and crescendo. Do the same for m.35-36 and m.63-64.
  • m.45-56: add a boost for the guitar solo. Boost off at the end of m.56.
  • m.114: I played the E5 chord at the 7th fret, with the B and both E strings open (E E B E B E voicing).
  • m.127: end the number with the A5 chord and a glissando (this is used on many of the rockier numbers in the show, but rarely notated).

#1A: We Got The Beat (Playoff)
Pickup: Position 4
Sounds: Light Distortion

A 5-measure reprise of #1. Play the E5 chord in m.1 at the 7th fret (E E B E B E voicing).

 #1B: What Dost Thou Feel?
Pickup: Position 4
Sounds: Light Distortion

Play as written.  For the F5 chord I used an F C F voicing at the third fret on the D, G and B strings. Strum the 16th-note rhythm hard and let the chords ring. Cut off suddenly on cue – you need to watch for this.

#2: Beautiful
Pickup: Position 4
Sounds: Light Distortion (you could add a little chorus to the sound, but I didn’t).

This is an exposed number for Guitar 1, which has a lot of high register arpeggios that have to be articulated precisely and clearly.


  • m.9-16 & m.45-52: this is palm-muted “chugging” rhythm again. It’s written as single notes, but a fifth should be added above each note throughout to get the right sound for the A5 and D5 chords.
  • m.17-24 & m.53-60: I recommend playing this section as all power chords at the 7th and 5th frets, with open E and B strings and ignoring the Dsus2 voicings, as shown in the excerpt below.


  • m.25-26, m.61-62 & m.109-112: I recommend playing these descending runs entirely on the G and B strings, staring at the 9th fret, running down to the 2nd fret.
  • m.27-42: this is the chorus section. It’s all arpeggios and is an exposed part which has to be played accurately. You can play the entire sequence at the 12th fret on the G, B and E strings, as shown in the example below.


  • m.43-44: play the E5 at the 7th fret with ringing open E and B strings, dropping down to the 5th fret for m.44 (but still with open E and B strings).
  • m.78-80: I played the A sus voicing as written, at the 12th fret, with the high E string open.
  • m.95-107: this section is all ringing arpeggios. I played them pretty much as written, with all chord voicings around the 2nd fret, as shown below. I omitted the two notes shown in parentheses.
  • m.132-134: lower chord voicings (2nd fret) should be used for the chords at the end of the song. The final F# chord in m.124 should be cut off cleanly, with no glissando at the end.


#2A: A Giant Snake
Pickup: Position 4
Sounds: Clean, with reverb and slapback delay

This short underscore piece uses the intro riff from “This Town”. I played it as written. On the original Go-Go’s track it’s sounds a bit like “surf guitar”, with echo and reverb. I went for a similar sound, mixing my reverb higher and adding a 100ms slapback delay.

#2B: The Oracle’s Temple
Pickup: Position 5 – Humbucker (m.A, 1-5), Position 4 (m.6-18)
Sounds: Light Distortion (m.A-B, 1-5), Clean with delay and reverb (m.6-18)

The distorted section is the grand entrance of Pythio the Oracle and can be played loud. The motif in m.1-2 & 5 is repeated throughout the show, whenever Pythio makes an entrance or a pronouncement about one of their prophecies.

Measures 6-18 are underscore and should be played more quietly.  I went for a big, echoey tone, as if playing in a cave, adding chorus, a 350ms delay (with 2-3 repeats) and adding a prominent “Cave” reverb. I played the piece as written.


  • m.2: the tremolo chord with the fermata is held for quite a long time. Watch for the cue to go on.
  • m.6-18: I rolled the whole note chords slightly throughout this section.

#3: A Vision Of Nowness
Pickup: Position 4
Sounds: Light Distortion & chorus (Verses), “Thin” Distortion & chorus (Choruses), Clean with reverb and delay (underscore section).

This is Pythio the Oracle’s big number. Guitar 1 is prominent throughout, and there are a lot of exposed arpeggios that have to be played exactly as written. I used the Light Distortion sound for the chugging rhythm of the verses, then adjusted the EQ to get a brighter “thinner” distortion for the arpeggios in the Chorus sections. I added a little chorus to both sounds. For the underscore section, I used my “playing in a cave” sound, increasing the amount of chorus in the mix, changing to a cave reverb and adding a 187ms delay with 2 or 3 repeats, to achieve a mysterious, shimmery feel.

Tips/ adjustments:

  • m.2 & m.4: glissando off the C#5 chords.
  • m.5-12 (Verse): play palm-muted power chords, opening up gradually in m.12.
  • m.18-23 (Chorus): play the arpeggios exactly as written, allowing the notes to ring, as indicated.
  • m.24-32 (Chorus): play palm-muted power chords for m.24-26, opening up in m.27.
  • m.33-47 (Underscore): this is all high arpeggios, and should be played exactly as written. Even though it’s underscore, it is very exposed and it’s quite long, so it’s worth practicing this until you can play it easily. I voiced the chords on the G, B and E strings between the 7th and 10th frets, jumping over to the D, G and B strings for the C# voicing.
  • m.48-61: I added volume swells for each of the long chords in m.48-53. Note that this whole section is played an octave higher than written, as indicated.
  • m.64: switch back to the Light Distortion tone.
  • m.97-99: the score indicated palm-muting. I ignored this, as it didn’t seem to fit with what was going on (this is the climax of the song).
  • m.107: I played the final F#5 at the 9th fret and added a glissando off the chord to end the song.
A Vision of Nowness

A Vision of Nowness. Image courtesy of & © ArtsWest 2019

 #3A: ‘Tis Genius
Pickup: Position 4
Sounds: Light Distortion

A 4-measure scene change transition taken from #1: “We Got The Beat”. Played as written. I played a glissando at the end of the final A5 chord.

#4: Get Up And Go
Pickup: Position 5 – Humbucker
Sounds: Distortion

After the precision of “A Vision of Nowness”, this is a chance to crank up the distortion and rock out. One of the most up-tempo numbers in the show it’s a lot of fun to play and very straightforward. I played the rhythms mostly as written.


  • This number is fast. Tempo is 204 beats per minute. It can be played fairly freely, but where the basic rhythms are indicated they should be followed.
  • m.9-10: after the 8-measure drum intro, this is a little solo just before the vocals. Use vibrato on the long D note. I started the glissando half a beat earlier than written, and the “scrapes” indicated are not pick scrapes, but fully muted strums. See the excerpt below for details. My approach is consistent with the Broadway cast recording.


  • m.32: play the G5/B chord as a B, G voicing (B on A string, G on D string).
  • m.67, 79 & 99: glissando off the B5 chords in each of these measures.
  • m.87: I played the Esus/A at the 9th fret on the D, G and B strings, with an open A string below (A, B, E, A voicing).
  • m.116-123: tremolo pick the high E throughout, sliding down on the last beat of m.123 to the E5 power chord (7th fret) in m.124.
  • m.127: pick scrape beats 3 and 4.
  • m.143: there is a sudden cut off at the end of the measure. The song stops dead in its track and is followed immediately by dialog, so watch for the cue and stop cleanly.

#4A: Skidmarks (Pamela)
Pickup: Position 5 – Humbucker
Sounds: Distortion

This is the first of many ‘Skidmarks” tags in the score, and all but one are played identically. There’s a drum intro for two beats, followed by a 2-beat pick scrape, then two measures plus one beat of power chords and a glissando off the last chord. Play loud and fast (as the tempo marking says, “Really Fucking Fast Punk!”).

#5: Mad About You
Pickup: Position 4
Sounds: Clean with Chorus, except m.72-81, Distortion (for the solo)

This is one of the two Belinda Carlisle solo numbers included in the show, and it’s a great comic moment, not least because it features dancing sheep. It’s a straightforward, upbeat and pretty pop number. Did I mention that it features dancing sheep…?

I used my Clean sound for most of the song, with a prominent 80s-style chorus effect. Most of the number is played as written, except for the choruses, as noted below. Guitar 1 is exposed through much of this song, especially in the opening section (m.4-27).


  • m.4-17: play chord voicings at the 1st fret, using the D, G, B and E strings only.
  • m.21-27: the section is marked “Easy strum” but should be played as arpeggios, as shown below. The same applies to m.47-52.


  • m.31-44: the staccato notes should be played as single notes, not power chords, and should be palm-muted. Articulate the notes cleanly and crisply. This is meant to represent the beating heart of Musidorus, the singer. The same applies to m.55-68.
  • m.69-71: the score gets vague and provides only slash marks for these three measures leading into the distorted solo. I provide a transcription of what I played below.
  • m.80-81: I omitted the low E from the Esus and E chords to keep them bright and prevent muddiness. See transcription below.


  • m.82-112: this is another “Easy strum” section that should be played as arpeggios. This time it’s in A Major, and should be played a bit more aggressively and freely, as it’s the end of the song. Let the bass notes ring. It’s more like jangle-pop than folky arpeggios. The progression is played four times, and I provide a transcription of what I played below.


#5A: Leaving Home
Pickup: Position 4
Sounds: Clean with Chorus

This brief underscore is a reprise of #4: “Get Up And Go”. I used the same Clean/Chorus sound as in “Mad About You”. I played full, low chord voicings, rolling the chords slightly, moving to higher voicings in the last two measures, as shown below.

At the end of the number, set the electric guitar sound ready for #6A: “Musidorus Enters Exhausted”, to help with an upcoming quick change from mandolin to electric guitar.


#5B: From Husband To Father To Widower
Instrument: Acoustic Guitar

A brief “pre-prise” of #13: “Head Over Heels”. This is an underscore. I played it exactly as written. Make a fairly quick change to mandolin at the end of the number.

#6: Good Girl
Instrument: Mandolin

The mandolin makes three appearances in the score, but this is the only number where it is prominently featured. The number opens with a solo mandolin riff, shown below, which runs through the whole first verse. The Bm/A voicing given in the score is almost impossible to play on the mandolin. I played what I heard on the Broadway cast recording, which uses a playable Bm/A voicing and adds a ringing open E string throughout. This is also shown below, together with the fingering. It’s not particularly difficult to play, but it’s easy to get wrong and is very exposed, so I recommend practicing this thoroughly.

Most of the rest of the number is simple rhythm, but only slash marks and chord names are provided. I provide a full transcription here, with rhythm notation, voicings and fretboard diagrams, based on the Broadway cast album.

At the end of the number, there is a lightning fast change to electric guitar, which is why I recommended setting the guitar sound for #6A at the end of #5A. If the change is too quick, you can either omit the last mandolin chord in #6, or skip the first four measures of #6A.


#6A: Musidorus Enters Exhausted
Pickup: Position 4
Sounds: Clean, with reverb and slapback delay

This scene change music uses the intro riff from “This Town” again (see #2A: “A Giant Snake”). I played it as written. Again I used a “surf guitar” tone, with echo and reverb, mixing my reverb higher and adding a 100ms slapback delay.  If you are unable to hit the downbeat because of the fast transition from mandolin to electric guitar, I recommend coming in on the last beat of m.4 (a glissando down to a low E).

#6B: Aslant My Avian Orbits
Pickup: Position 4
Sounds: Shimmer with tremolo (m.1-2), Distortion (m.7-9)

This brief number and the following two (a transition, followed by a tag and an underscore) all run together in one brief sequence. I played this number exactly as written, using a shimmer sound (chorus, cave reverb) for m.1-2 the switching to distortion for m.7-9. Everything in the number is cued, so watch the conductor throughout. There’s an direct segue into #6C.

#6C: Skidmarks (Musidorus)
Pickup: Position 5 – Humbucker
Sounds: Distortion

Another quick ‘Skidmarks” tag.  See notes on #4A: “Skidmarks (Pamela) above. Direct segue into #7: “Vision of Nowness (Reprise)”.

A Vision Of Nowness (Reprise)

A Vision Of Nowness (Reprise). Image courtesy of & © ArtsWest 2019

#7: Vision of Nowness (Reprise)
Pickup: Position 4
Sounds: very light overdrive, with tremolo

There are some vocals in this number, but it’s mainly underscore to the scene where Musidorus dons his Amazonian disguise for the first time. As with the previous numbers in this sequence, there are dialog cues, so watch the conductor. I played this as written, using a mostly Clean sound with a hint of overdrive, and a tremolo effect. For the F#sus2/C# chord at the end I used a simple C#, F# voicing (4th fret on A and D strings).

#7A: Lion (No Bear)
Pickup: Position 4
Sounds: Clean

This is the oddest number in the show. It accompanies a choreographed fight scene and comprises the versions of “This Town” and “Mad About You”, arranged in a style reminiscent of a silent movie soundtrack. It’s not difficult to play, but the tempo is fast and it jumps around the fretboard a bit, so it’s worth practicing to get it right.


  • m.1: I played an Em voicing with a high B as the top note (same as m.3).
  • m.3-6: I found it easiest to play this section at the 12th and 10th frets, on the D,G and B strings.
  • m.8-9: although it isn’t stated explicitly, the quarter-note codes are all D. I played these at the 2nd fret.
  • m.11 & m.13: the C7 voicing shown is not practical to play. I played a 1st fret voicing (C,E,Bb,C).
  • m.13: I omitted the lower notes of each octave pair.
  • m.14: I played a 9th fret voicing for the A/B chord (B,E,A,C#).
  • m.16: I omitted the C# from the Asus2 voicing and played it at the 7th fret.
  • m.18: I played high Am voicings at the 8th fret.
  • m.19-20: I played a 7th fret voicing of EMaj7.
Lion (No Bear)

Lion (No Bear). Image courtesy of & © ArtsWest 2019

 #7B: Time Should Lightly Fly
Instrument: Mandolin

Another brief appearance for the mandolin, this time for a scene transition, with a pre-prise of “Vacation”. This is all just lightly strummed chords, but the chart provides no voicing or typical rhythm patterns. I listened to a video recording of the Broadway show and worked out something similar. I provide a complete transcription here.

#8: Automatic Rainy Day
Pickup: Position 4
Sounds: Chorus & Hint of Overdrive (m.1-75), Chorus & Light Distortion (m.76-95)

This is another song where Guitar 1 is very exposed. The chorus is underpinned by ringing arpeggios throughout. The part isn’t difficult, but it’s very important to the song; precision and clarity are essential. I used a prominent Chorus effect throughout, and mixed the reverb slightly higher than its default setting. After the key change at m.76 I added Light Distortion, with some EQ adjustments to prevent the sound from getting muddy. The score indicates to “Open 3 Pages”, so I made this a 3-page fold-out, as described in the General Notes section above.


  • m.1-4: the intro section has the all-important ringing arpeggios right out of the gate. Guitar 1 is solo here, so get it right. Play at the 2nd fret and let the notes ring out, as indicated.
  • m.5-12: play palm-muted power chords throughout the first half of the verse, gradually releasing the muting and opening up in m.12. The score shows no emphasis, but I recommend adding a little accenting, as shown in the excerpt below.
  • m.13-20: the second half of the verse is the same as the first, but without the palm-muting and with a slightly different rhythm. Only slash marks are provided in the score. I provide details of the rhythm I used below.


  • m.33-48: the second verse is played exactly the same as the first.
  • m.69-72: this is an underscore section. It’s the usual ringing arpeggios, and Guitar 1 is solo, so once again playing accurately is important. This is played four times through, and should increase slightly in volume and intensity the third and fourth times.
  • m.76-87: after the key change, I played the arpeggios using the same fingerings, but two frets up with a barre. It’s a little more tricky, but not overly difficult.
  • m.91-94: the arpeggios again, and very exposed.
  • m.95: glissando off the end of the final E5 power chord. The there is a very quick page turn, effects patch change and an almost direct segue into #9: “Cool Jerk”.

#9: Cool Jerk
Pickup: Position 4
Sounds: Light Overdrive with Slapback Echo throughout, except Clean (m.13-21)

This isn’t really a song, more of a brief rock ‘n’ roll dance interlude interspersed with underscores. I used a little Overdrive and a 100ms Slapback Echo as the main sound. Pay special attention to the contrasts in dynamics between the dance breaks and the underscore sections, as noted below. I played this as written.


  • m.1-2: underscore vamp (quieter).
  • m.3-6: dance break (louder).
  • m.7-8: underscore vamp.
  • m.9-12: dance break.
  • m.13-24: underscore. I switched to a Clean sound for m.13-21, then back to the Light Overdrive with Slapback for m.22-24.
  • m.25-28: dance break.
  • m.37-38: underscore vamp.
  • m.45-52: dance break. Make the rhythm more funky as indicated for m.49-52 (funk meets rock ‘n’ roll).
  • m.53-54: underscore vamp.
  • m.55-68: dance break. More funkier rhythm in m.59-62. Cut the final D5 chord off cleanly at the end – no glissando.

#9A: Hit The Hay
Pickup: Position 4
Sounds: Clean

A very brief scene transition, based on “Mad About You”. I played this as written. For the D2/G chord in m.8, I used a G,D,E,A voicing at the 5th fret on the top 4 strings. At the end of this number, fit the capo at the 1st fret.

#9B: A Loud Alarum
Pickup: Position 4
Sounds: Clean

Another brief scene transition, played as written – gently with the fingers (no pick). Note that the score is transposed. It’s written in D but sounds in Eb, because you have the Capo at the first fret. This one is based on “A Vision of Nowness”. Be ready for a quick start to #10: “Vacation” after this number – get the effects set.

#10: Vacation
Pickup: Position 4
Sounds: Clean with Chorus (m.1-34), Overdrive with Chorus (m.35-99)

One of The Go-Go’s most famous songs. The first verse (m.1-18) is more difficult than it appears, because Guitar 1 and 2 have to play steady eighth-notes throughout, completely in sync, and solo. It’s very exposed, and if the guitars aren’t locked together it will sound messy, and obviously so.

In the second verse (m.19-34), the rest of the band comes in, and Guitar 2 switches to playing high arpeggios, while Guitar 1 continues with a more complex version of the eighth-note pattern. Fingerings for this section are not shown the score, and can be played several ways. The important thing is to maximize the “ringing” quality of the chords, by using open-string voicings. I provide a chart showing the fingerings I used for m.1-34 here.  It’s very worthwhile practicing this whole section with just the two guitarists several times to get it sounding tight. From m.35 onwards, it’s more straightforward.


  • m.1-34: see notes above and linked chart with tab for fingering. Fast page turn at m.34.
  • m.22, m.26 and m.30: I omitted the final 16th note, playing just an eighth note (the Broadway cast album does the same). It’s hard to articulate the steady ringing chords cleanly if you play the 16th notes.
  • m.35-43: play muted power chords, not just single notes, gradually releasing the muting in m.42-43.
  • m.44-59: this is the chorus. Although only slash marks are provided, I recommend playing ringing whole note chords here, as shown below (this is also what is on the Broadway cast album). Guitar 2 is playing a busier rhythm, so Guitar 1 needs not to clash with that. You can play more rhythmically in m.58-59.


  • m.60-63: I played E5 at the 7th fret, with ringing open B and E strings.
  • m.64-69: this section is all muted arpeggios. Play as written. You’re looking for an Andy Summers feel here.
  • m.74-87: the chorus again, a step higher. Play ringing whole note chords, as described above.
  • m.88-89: I played high 6th fret voicings for D#m and F#/C#.
  • m.99: cut off the final F# chord cleanly – no glissando.
Automatic Rainy Day

Automatic Rainy Day. Image courtesy of & © ArtsWest 2019

 #10A: Vacation Playoff
Pickup: Position 4
Sounds: Overdrive with Chorus

A quick reprise of the “Vacation” chorus, followed by seven measures of “Cool Jerk” as a transition. Remember to remove the capo at the end of the number.

#10B: Generous Amazon
Pickup: Position 4
Sounds: Clean, with Delay and Reverb

A very brief scene change transition. Both notes should be played as volume swells as indicated, gently and with some vibrato. I added a Cave reverb and a 350ms delay with about two repeats, to get an “echoes far away in the night” sound.

#11: How Much More
Pickup: Position 5 – Humbucker
Sounds: Distortion

This is a lot of fun. Pamela has a tantrum, and the band gets to rock out. This can be played hard and fast – very punky, and much edgier than the original Go-Go’s version. I played it as written – it’s mostly slash marks but where rhythm notation is provided it should be followed. Voicing are all obvious power chords throughout.


  • m.81: on beat 3 (B/D#), I recommend playing D# notes, not E as indicated.
  • m.95 and m.97: play high lead licks instead of chords.
  • m.98: big glissando off the final Db chord.

 #11A: The First Flag
Pickup: Position 4
Sounds: Clean with Chorus (m.2 Vamp), Distortion (m.4-6).

A brief underscore, leading into the finale of Act 1. It starts with another “Mad About You” beating heart vamp (Clean sound with Chorus), leading into the big rock power chords of the Oracle’s tag (Distortion). Play as written. There’s a quick page turn at the end for the segue into #12: “Our Lips Are Sealed”.

#12: Our Lips Are Sealed
Pickup: Position 4
Sounds: Light Distortion (m.1-50), Clean with Phaser (m.51-59), Distortion with Phaser (m.60-71), Distortion (m.72-109).

Act 1 closes (predictably) with another of The Go-Go’s most famous songs. It incorporates sections of #2: “Beautiful”, a “Skidmarks” tag and another Oracle’s tag. It’s straightforward and can be played mostly as written.


  • m.1-3 and m.8-19: the chords are marked as staccato, but should be played as palm-muted power chords, gradually releasing the muting and opening up in m.19. Play steadily, evenly and without any particular emphasis. These occur at various places throughout the number and should always be played in the same way.
  • m.23: quick page turn.
  • m.51-59: switch sounds to Clean with Phaser and play this section exactly as written.
  • m.60-65: there is a quick change to Distortion with Phaser, and a change in tempo at m.60. Play muted power chords with low voicings, releasing the muting gradually through m.65.
  • m.66-71: thrash out these power chords hard, letting them ring, and with the emphasis as indicated in the score.
  • m.72: another change in tempo, this time for the Oracle’s tag. Cut the Phaser, and use Distortion tone for the rest of the number.
  • m.86-108: this is similar to the earlier part of the number, but can be played louder and more aggressively.
  • m.109: big glissando off the end of the final Bb power chord. And that’s the end of Act 1.

#13: Head Over Heels
Pickup: Position 4
Sounds: Light Distortion (m.3-125), Lead Boost added (m.126-134)

Act 2 opens with this poppy and upbeat song, which features a big rock ‘n’ roll piano solo à la Jerry Lee Lewis (one of the few big piano moments in the show). The score calls for Distortion, but I used my Light Distortion tone, as it seemed to suit the number better. This isn’t a punky song.

The song is mostly power chords and rhythm playing. Specific rhythm patterns are written out for most of the song and should be played as written.


  • m.48: quick glissando off the D5 chord in this measure.
  • m.73-96: this is the big piano solo and you can get a bit looser with the rhythm. Where it gets really Jerry Lee Lewis (m.89-96) I emulated the piano, banging out straight eighth-note power chords throughout.
  • m.84: play random glissandos (down then back up) on either the A or low E string.
  • m.126-134: the playoff has a brief solo for Guitar 1. It’s roughly the melody of the chorus, but you can ad lib with it and make it more guitar-solo-y. I played the whole solo up one octave, as shown below. Hit the last D in m.134 with a lot of emphasis. I added a glissando off the final note.


#13A: Among Tents
Pickup: Position 4
Sounds: Clean with Phaser

This is an odd little transition piece, bookending a series of brief dialogues. It’s played as written, and just sounds a bit half-baked. I added a heavy Phasing sound to make it very warbly. In the end our Music Director got the rest of band to play as well to fill it out, but it still doesn’t really work.

#13B: Skidmarks (Gynecia)
Pickup: Position 5 – Humbucker
Sounds: Distortion

Yet another quick ‘Skidmarks” tag.  See notes on #4A: “Skidmarks (Pamela) above.

#14: This Old Feeling
Instruments: Electric Guitar, Mandolin (m.67-72 only)
Pickup: Position 4
Sounds: Clean with Phaser (m.1 & 36), Clean with Slapback Echo (m.2-34, m.37-58), Distortion (m.32-34), Overdrive (m.59-62, m.76-93)

This is a wonderful comic moment in the show – a husband and wife each corresponding with a lover, unaware that they are writing to each other. A classic case of mistaken identity. The original Go-Go’s song had a slightly cold doo-wop feel to it. In this version it is rendered as a soulful blues number and is all the better for it. The mandolin makes a brief, final appearance in the middle of the song. It requires two quick instrument changes, but it’s well worth the effort. There are a lot of effects changes in this number.


  • m.1: the song starts with a rolled E+ chord using a Clean phased sound. Guitar 1 is solo here. I played a high voicing at the 8th fret with a low E root (E,x,x,E,G#,C). Hold the chord through the vocal pickup. Before m.2, switch off the phaser and add Slapback Echo.
  • m.2-31 (verse): play voicings on the top three strings throughout. It’s a “chick” on the backbeat, held just very slightly long.
  • m.11-12: for some reason these measures are marked “tacet”. I played them as written.
  • m.13: I played two pick scrapes in this measure.
  • m.22: I played B7 (A,D#,F# voicing, 2nd fret) instead of Esus. Use the three high strings only.
  • m.32-34: another “Oracle” tag. Change to Distortion for these three measures only, then back to Clean with Phaser.
  • m.36: another E+ chord to lead off the second verse. Play the same as m.1.
  • m.37-58: second verse. Play the same as the first verse (Slapback Echo).
  • m.59-62: the song steps up a gear here. I switched to an Overdrive sound – a bluesy, warm tone, not too distorted. You can play chords, arpeggios, blues licks – whatever you’re feeling which adds to the song.
  • m.63-75: you have four measures of rest to make a quick change to the mandolin. Play Neapolitan-style tremolo chords as written for m.67-72. This sounds great, even though it’s just underscore. Then you have three measures to get back to the electric guitar for the big final chorus – a duet between the two lovers.
  • m.76-93: for the final chorus it’s back to bluesy Overdrive. Again you can really dig in and play what you’re feeling that works for the song, as Guitar 2 is holding down the more basic rhythm. At m.92 you can go high and play a little solo to close out the number. I recommend listening to the Broadway Cast Recording to get an idea of the feel of this section of the song.
This Old Feeling

This Old Feeling. Image courtesy of & © ArtsWest 2019

#15: Turn To You
Pickup: Position 5 – Humbucker
Sounds: Clean (m.5-15), Distortion + Wah (m.56-57, m.96-98), Distortion (m.58-63, m.80-87), Distortion + Boost (m.64-79, m.88-95, m.99-133).

My favorite number to play in the show. The original rocks nicely, but this version picks up the tempo and turns the song into a dynamic, driving, urgent all-out rocker. Guitar 1 is very front and center, with lots of lead breaks and several pedal changes. Bonus: you get to play it again in #21: “Finale”.


  • m.5-15: the song opens with a slow, quiet underscore. Guitar tone is clean. Note that this is played an octave higher than written. The score indicates that it should be played with fingers, because the notes mostly can’t be played on adjacent strings, so you have to pick.
  • m.56-57: quick pedal change to Distortion with Wah (Distortion stays on for the rest of the number). Play the tremolo A5 chord (also an octave higher than written), then cut the wah and glissando down to a low A5 at the start of m.58.
  • m.64-79: this is a lead line played behind the vocal melody. I added a little Boost and played it exactly as written.
  • m.80-87: for this section I cut the boost, and played a busier rhythm than the one indicated to drive the song forward.
  • m.88-95: this section is palm-muted throughout. I added the Boost back in and played as written.
  • m.96-99: add Wah and play as written, adding a glissando to the last note in m.96 and m.97. The excerpt below shows how I used the Wah in this section. Cut the Wah at the end of m.98 and add the Boost back in at the end of m.99. I kept the Boost on to the end of the number.


  • m.100-115: another solo. Play as written to m.111. For m.112-115, the score looks like something a piano would play. Instead, I played unison string bends as shown below, similar to the Broadway Cast Recording.


  • m.116-123: play palm-muted eighth-notes again.
  • m.124-133: the end of the song is mostly notated as slash marks. You can ad lib a solo here. Try to build the intensity without getting too over the top and upstaging the vocals. I used mostly unison string bends as shown below. Big glissando off the end of the final A5 chord in m.133.


#15A: Inside The Cave
Pickup: Position 5 – Humbucker
Sounds: Distortion (1980s FM rock)

Guitar 1 plays only the last four measures of this underscore, which serve as a transition into #16: “Heaven Is A Place On Earth”. I used a Distortion sound, tweaked a little from the one used in most of the show to sound a little more “1980s FM rock”. Play as written, holding the last chord until the downbeat of #16.

Heaven Is A Place On Earth

Heaven Is A Place On Earth. Image courtesy of & © ArtsWest 2019

#16: Heaven Is A Place On Earth
Pickup: Position 5 – Humbucker
Sounds: Clean (m.9-10), 1980s FM Rock Distortion (m.11-90)

This is second song in the show drawn from Belinda Carlisle’s solo repertoire (it was her biggest hit). The song has more of a 1980s FM rock vibe to it than any of The Go-Go’s material, so I tweaked my distortion tone to sound more like that (fatter, with a little chorus). The number is straightforward, but the score is a little vague on rhythm in places, so I provide some details of what I played below.


  • m.9-10: after the 8-measure keyboard/vocal intro, play these two measures as written, with a Clean tone, changing to Distortion for the downbeat of m.11. I omitted the final eighth note in m.10 to make the change in tone cleaner.
  • m.11-14: this is a part of the chorus section, and only slash marks are provided. I provide details of the rhythm I played for the chorus below. The voicings should all be power chords (i.e. no 3rds).
  • m.15-22 (verse section): this should be played as palm-muted power chords, not staccato single notes. I provide a chart for the whole first verse and chorus below, as an example. The second verse (m.43-50) is played the same way.
  • m.23-30 (pre-chorus section): only slash marks are provided. I played ringing whole notes and half notes, using low voicings on the top four strings, as shown below. The second pre-chorus (m.51-58) is identical.
  • m.59-66: the rhythm in this instrumental section should be played as written. This is all power chords. In m.59-60 and m.63-64, slide up from Ab5 to Bb5 and from Bb5 to C5.


#16B: Our Meeting Sororal
Instrument: Acoustic Guitar

A simple scene transition – three chords over two measures. Play as written, rolling the chords slightly.

#17: Lust To Love
Pickup: Position 4
Sounds: Overdrive + Slapback Delay (m.1-19), Overdrive (m.20-53)

This is only half a song. After the first verse and part of the second it’s all underscore for a big fight scene. This is played with a capo at the first fret, so the song is in Db, while the Guitar 1 score is written in C. I played this number as written with a light Overdrive throughout, and with a 120ms Slapback Delay for the verse (sung section).

The verse section should be palm-muted, as indicated. Guitar 1 is solo with the vocal throughout most of this section, so it needs to be cleanly articulated. Remove the capo at the end of the song, then switch to Acoustic Guitar.

#18: Here You Are
Instrument: Acoustic Guitar

This is the last new song in the show – it’s all reprises from here to the end. This is the only ballad in the whole show, and it’s probably the least interesting song for the band. It plods a little! The Guitar 1 part is all straightforward acoustic rhythm. Where rhythm patterns are provided they should be followed, otherwise, just strum away. I recommend not making your rhythms too busy for this song – keep it simple. Pay attention to the dynamics changes throughout the song, otherwise it can get a bit monotonous.

#18B: Permanent Distemperature
Pickup: Position 4 (m.1-2), Position 5 – Humbucker (m.5-16)
Sounds: Clean with Chorus + Delay (m.1-2), Heavy Distortion (m.5-16)

From this point forward the music is almost non-stop for the last 10 minutes of the show. A series of tags, underscores and transitions (all reprises), with a few brief snatches of song drive the plot swiftly to a conclusion, leading into #20: “Finale”, which is really the Bows of the show.


  • m.1-2 I played the chords as written, using volume swells for each, and a Clean tone with Chorus, a little more reverb than usual and a 435ms Delay with 3-4 repeats.
  • m.5-12: these measures should be played as A5 power chords, palm-muted and with a Heavy Distortion sound. From m.10 onwards I released the palm-muting.
  • m.13-16: this is supposed to be “sonic chaos”. I used open strings, high string bends and glissandos randomly. Cut off on cue, and there is very little time before the next number.

#18C: The Golden Stag
Pickup: Position 4
Sounds: Clean with Chorus + Delay

A brief reprise of “Mad About You”, as Musidorus (reincarnated) makes his entrance. I used the same Clean with Chorus and 435ms Delay as in the previous number. Note that the final tremolo G is played an octave higher than written. There is an almost direct segue into the next number.

#18D: To Hades I Had Fled
Pickup: Position 4
Sounds: Clean + Phaser

This underscore is a reprise of the middle section of “Our Lips Are Sealed”. I played it as written. Guitar 1 is solo for most of m.1-9. I used the same Clean + Phaser sound that I used in “Our Lips Are Sealed”. This segues directly into #19: “Mad About You (Reprise)”.

#19: Mad About You (Reprise)
Pickup: Position 4
Sounds: Clean + Phaser (m.1-2), Clean + Chorus (m.12-27, m.50-76), Distortion (m.28-30C), Clean + Chorus + Delay (m.31-45, m.85-89)

This is mostly underscore, with a little singing. A lot of plot resolution happens, and snatches of several songs are included – not just “Mad About You”. The score calls for Ukulele, but there is no ukulele part.


  • m.1-2: direct segue from previous number, played with the same Clean + Phaser sound.
  • m.11-19: Mad About You “heartbeat” underscore. I used a Clean + Chorus tone. Play m.12-17 as written, palm-muted. For m.18-19 I played 1st fret chord voicings on the top four strings.
  • m.20-27: a sung chorus of “Mad About You”. Only slash marks are provided. I played arpeggios around 1st fret chord voicings.
  • m.28-29: an “Oracle” tag. Play Power chords with Distortion.
  • m.30-30C: yet another “Skidmarks” tag. Pick slide into m.30A, and a glissando off the final D5 in m.30C. Make a quick change in sound for the next section.
  • m.31-45: this is underscore using the middle section of “A Vision Of Nowness”. Guitar 1 is very exposed so accuracy is important when playing these arpeggios. I used a Clean + Chorus + 200ms Delay (with about 2 repeats) sound.
  • m.50-56: another “Mad About You” sung chorus. I played gentle arpeggios, using a Clean + Chorus tone.
  • m.68-76: one more “Mad About You” sung chorus, and again I played arpeggios with a Clean + Chorus tone and low voicings.
  • m.85-89: I played the high chord voicings as written, rolling the chords and using a volume swell for the final chord. Note that the final chord is played an octave higher than written, right up at the 17th fret. I used the Clean + Chorus + Delay tone for this section.
  • Almost segue into the next number.
Mad About You (Reprise)

Mad About You (Reprise). Image courtesy of & © ArtsWest 2019

#19A: Bohemia’s Gates
Pickup: Position 4
Sounds: Light Distortion + Boost

This is a brief scene transition, using the chorus of “Vacation”. Guitar 1 has a solo, playing the melody as octave pairs for most of the number. I played this as written, using a Light Distortion tone with a mid-range Boost to cut through the mix. Once again, there is almost a direct segue into the next number.

#19B: Skidmarks (Tutti)
Pickup: Position 5 – Humbucker
Sounds: Distortion

The final ‘Skidmarks” tag! Play loud and fast (as the tempo marking says, “Really Fucking Fast Punk!”). See notes on #4A: “Skidmarks (Pamela)” above. There is an almost (but not quite) direct segue into the next number.

#19C: Go Round And Round
Pickup: Position 4
Sounds: Clean + Chorus + Delay

This underscore is where the show ends – the following “Finale” is the Bows. I used a Clean + Chorus + Delay (200ms with 2 repeats) tone. I played the chords as written, with volume swells for all except m.5. I played the final G chord (m.7) high, at the 15th fret, using only the top three strings. There is an applause segue into the “Finale” (Bows), but drum intro gives you time to change tones.

#20: Finale
Pickup: Position 5 – Humbucker
Sounds: Distortion (m.5-26, m.39-51), Distortion + Boost (m.27-28, m.52-59, m.63-108), Distortion + Boost + Wah (m.60-62)

As noted above, this is the “Bows” of the show. It’s a reprise of “We Got The Beat”, with “Turn To You” in the middle. Guitar 1 has a lot of lead work, so it’s great to play. The tone is Distortion throughout, with Boost for lead sections and some Wah in the “Turn To You” section.


  • m.17-22: play palm-muted A5 power chords, releasing the mute for the first two notes in m.21 and 22.
  • m.27-28: brief guitar solo, which I played roughly as heard on the Broadway cast recording. I provide a transcription below.


  • m.39-45: play atonal glissandos down the bass strings as shown.
  • m.52-79B: this is the “Turn To You” section, and is mostly a big lead break for Guitar 1. It’s almost identical to m.89-115 of #15: “Turn To You”; refer to the notes and excerpts provided above for details of this section.
  • m.92-107: the number closes out with a raucous rendition of the “We Got The Beat” refrain. You can play the riff as written, or just solo away over the top.
  • m.108: instead of an A5 chord I played a high A note (17th fret) with a glissando to finish.
Cool Jerk

Cool Jerk. Image courtesy of & © ArtsWest, 2019

#21: Exit Music
Pickup: Position 5 – Humbucker
Sounds: Distortion + Boost

The Exit Music, as you might expect, is an instrumental reprise of “Get Up And Go”, with lots of guitar solos. I used my lead tone (Distortion + Boost) throughout, pulling back on the volume pedal a little for rhythm parts. It’s pretty much all power chords except for the solos. Guitar 1 has solos in m.21-28, m.37-52. I played something very similar to the Broadway cast recording, and provide transcriptions below.

At the end of the number I played another little lead lick in place of the tremolo chord at m.64, the finished off with a big glissando off the final F5 chord in m.65. This number will send you (and the audience) home with a smile on your face.



Playing Head Over Heels – Guitar 1 And Guitar 2

Head Over Heels Wikipedia entry
Head Over Heels musical homepage
The Go-Go’s: homepage and discography
Head Over Heels Broadway Cast Recording: CD and YouTube playlist
ArtsWest, Seattle
Anderson Guitarworks

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