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How to Play What I Got On Guitar

How to Play “What I Got” On Guitar?

“What I Got” is a song from the self-titled third album by the American band Sublime (1996). It became the band’s greatest radio hit after singer Bradley Nowell died of a drug overdose in 1996. It was the band’s second single to be released, following “Date Rape” (1991). The song’s chorus covers Half Pint’s “Loving.” The song’s melody resembles the Beatles’ “Lady Madonna.”

“What I Got” peaked at number one on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart in the United States. It was also a radio smash, reaching the rank of 29 on Billboard’s Hot 100 Airplay list. “What I Got” reached number 34 on the RIANZ Singles Chart in New Zealand. On the other hand, What I Got: The Seven Song EP performed higher. It went to number 33 on the same chart. The record also ranked number 2 on the Canadian RPM Alternative 30 list and 19 in Iceland. It is placed 83 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the “100 Greatest Guitar Songs of All Time.”

Music Video of the “What I Got”

As a homage to Nowell, the video for “What I Got” was shot after his death. It consisted primarily of a collage of old films and images of him. The movie features views of the band’s hometown of Long Beach, California, as well as live footage from a Sublime event at The Capitol Ballroom in Washington, DC.

Who is the Sublime?

Sublime was a Long Beach, California-based reggae rock and ska punk band formed in 1988. Bradley Nowell (vocals and guitar), Eric Wilson (bass), and Bud Gaugh were the band’s constant lineup throughout its existence (drums). The band’s mascot was Lou Dog, Nowell’s dalmatian. Bradley  Nowell died of a drug overdose in 1996, causing the band to disband. Songs such as “What I Got,” “Santeria,” “Wrong Way,” and “Doin’ Time,” were released to US radio in 1997.

Sublime published three studio albums, one live album, five compilation albums (one of which included previously unseen material), three EPs, and one box set even though their first two albums—40oz. Sublime’s first two albums—To Freedom (1992) and Robbin’ the Hood (1994)—were moderately successful in the United States.

Still, they did not achieve major commercial success until 1996, when their self-titled third album, released two months after Nowell’s death, peaked at No. 13 on the Billboard 200 and spawned the single “What I Got,” which continues to remain the band’s only No. 1 hit single. As of 2022, the band has sold approximately 20 million records globally, with around 10 million sales in the United States alone.

In 2009, the remaining members attempted to recreate the band with Rome Ramirez, a teenage guitarist from California who professed to be a Sublime fan.

However, not long after the new lineup performed at Cypress Hill’s Smokeout Festival, a Los Angeles judge barred them from using the Sublime moniker because they lacked authorization from Nowell’s estate, which holds the rights to the Sublime name.

This caused Wilson, Gaugh, and Ramirez’s lineup to alter their name to Sublime with Rome, who have subsequently recorded three albums, albeit Gaugh quit the band shortly after publishing their 2011 debut Yours Truly.

Who is Bradley Nowell?

Bradley James Nowell was the main singer and guitarist for the American ska punk band Sublime. Nowell, born and reared in Belmont Shore, Long Beach, California, acquired an early interest in music. During his childhood, his father brought him to Jamaica, where he was exposed to reggae and dancehall music; he later developed a significant interest in rock music after learning to play the guitar. Nowell was a member of many bands before establishing Sublime with bass guitarist Eric Wilson and drummer Bud Gaugh, whom he met at California State University, Long Beach. Sublime had critical and financial success with the album 40oz. To Freedom and Robbin’ the Hood during his lifetime.

Throughout the band’s history, Nowell battled a developing heroin addiction. After his son Jakob was born in 1995 with his girlfriend Troy Dendekker, he gradually went sober. While Sublime was on tour in 1996, Nowell relapsed and died of a heroin overdose at a San Francisco hotel. Two months after Nowell’s death, Sublime published their self-titled third album, and they have since issued many compilation albums containing the hundreds of songs he had recorded. Nowell’s legacy includes him as a prominent character of the 1990s alternative era.

How to Play What I Got On Guitar?

“What I Got” by Sublime is a super easy two-chord beginner song; this could be your very first song, and if you’re a little more advanced, you can also play the solo, which could be your very first solo.

Chords – How to Play What I Got On Guitar?

The basics of this song are just two chords a D major chord and a G major chord. We’re going to play the D chord which is your open D string, pointer finger on the second fret of the G, ring finger on the third fret of the B string, and middle finger on the second fret of the high E string. We’re going to mix this with a G major. Ring your finger on the third fret of the high E, the middle finger on the third fret of the low E note because they’re both G notes, and your pointer finger will be the second fret of the A string.

Intro & Arpeggio & Rhythm – How to Play What I Got On Guitar?

We start with two strums on the open D, and you get the second fret G. It doesn’t matter if you hit the D, then both of them or both of them together. Then it picks the B string, and we go to the G string. When we get to the G string, we pull our finger off, and that’s all so as it’s transitioning to that D chord. When we get to that G chord, we should hit a nice strong down strum on that E string. And then when we move over, we get to the G string, then the B string, pick, then back to the G string pick. Later on, in the song, it’s more just strumming the two chords back and forth. But that opening has some really distinct picking. 

We’ve seen a recent live version with Rome as the singer. He’s got an acoustic guitar, and he’s just playing the straight D to G chord, nothing like the original recording. The easy part is that just one finger on the left hand is moving per chord, so that’s nice. You can get through the whole song, just D to G – D to G, and then we’ve got a solo. You could strum if you’re playing those chords and need to get that high E in there.

Solo – How to Play What I Got On Guitar?

This song has a great first solo for you to learn to play. Some interesting things are going on theoretically, but it’s pretty straightforward in playing and only a couple of measures. Basically, it starts off with the D minor pentatonic and then uses elements of what’s called the D Mixolydian. We’re going to start with our ring finger on the tenth fret of the A string, and we’re going to slide 10 to 12.

Immediately after, we’re going to drop our pointer finger down to the twelfth fret of the D string, the tenth fret, then to the twelfth fret, and then the tenth fret of the G string. So that first raises but needs to be completed. To complete it, we’re going to drop down to the twelfth fret again here on the D string, back to the tenth fret, and back to the twelve. This is our first phrase. 

When you’re learning any solo, it is great to break it down into phrases that would be the equivalent of a musical sentence; identify them and then practice them independently.

Second Phrase of the Solo

Then we’re going to keep that ring finger there and get your middle finger on the 11th fret of the G string. Here are the little double stops that come from Mixolydian. We’re going to slide this down a whole step which means two frets to the tenth fret of the D string and the ninth of the G string. Then our ring finger is going to slide down one fret. But we’re going to remove our middle finger, and our index finger is going to grab the seventh fret of the G string. These are called double stops, and in this last double stop, you play two times.

Last Phrase of the Solo

The next thing is from D Mixolydian. We’re going to put our middle finger on the 11th fret of the G string and go 11 hammers 12 up to the tenth fret. We’re going to hammer it to 12 again. Then pointer finger up to the twelfth fret of the high E this time.

Then you’re going to drop down with your ring finger back to the twelfth fret. And you’re going to play it once, and then you’re going to play it again, and hammer or pull 12 to 10.

After that here comes a really interesting part: we’re mixing the D minor and major here. Pinkie on the 13th fret of the B string, which is C note D minor, back in a D major here on the 12th fret. Then back to our pointer finger on the 10th fret. Point your finger down to the G string here, and then we’re going to bend 12 up a whole step.

Final Thoughts

“What I Got” is a great song to have in your repertoire. It’s a simple song for a novice to learn, yet it includes a highly catchy solo. It’s accessible to everyone; there’s nothing too technically challenging, and there are no fast or extended stretches. “What I Got” is merely a cold chord progression with a nice melody. So, we hope you enjoyed this lesson and learned how to play Sublime’s “What I Got” on guitar.

The Deplike Learning App appears to be a useful way of learning new songs. You may learn the chords, select a song in the app, and find out how to play it. After these, explore the artists using the active learning approach. With the Deplike Learning App, you may learn various songs, including “What I Got,” which you learned in this post.


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