How to Play Operator Chorus by Jim Croce (Guitar Lesson)

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Steve Eulberg

Operator Chorus

Steve finishes up the Jim Croche song, "Operator." He covers the chorus and brings the entire song together.

Taught by Steve Eulberg in Fingerstyle Guitar seriesLength: 9:55Difficulty: 2.5 of 5
Chapter 1: (05:20) Operator Chorus Welcome back! Steve Eulberg continues the "Operator" mini-series in lesson 12. In this segment, he cover the chorus section to Jim Croce's classic tune, "Operator (That's Not The Way It Feels)."

In lesson 11, Steve walked you through the entire verse section. The verse ends with a lick comprised of double stops diatonic to the key of G major. Steve provides a quick recap of the ending lick here in Scene 1. This lick serves a dual function in the song. It creates a smooth transition from the end of the verse back to its beginning. Later, it used as an interlude section between the chorus and the verse.

Chorus Chord Progression

The chorus section features chords diatonic to the key of G major. Refer to the chords listed on Steve's marker board. The I, ii, IV , and V chords are used to harmonize the chorus section. In the key of G, these chords are G, Am, C, and D respectively.

Some additional passing chords are also added to the progression. Notice how a G/B chord is used in the final line. This chord is used in passing between the IV chord, C, and the ii chord, Am. The bass note of the G/B chord creates a smooth transition between the roots of the C and Am chords. Steve demonstrates this segment at 01:15 in the lesson video.

Full Demonstration

At 02:00 in the lesson video, Steve provides a full demonstration of the chorus section. Pay careful attention to the rhythm of the chord changes. On which beat does a specific chord change occur? As you watch Steve, count the beat out loud. Count, "1+2+3+4+" in a steady eighth note rhythm. In addition, make a note of where the changes occur in the song transcription.

Remember the Intro?

The final four bars of the introduction section are tagged onto the end of the chorus. These four bars function as a transition back into the song's verse. For a quick demonstration and review, watch Steve at 04:55.

Right Hand Pattern

The arpeggio pattern applied during the chorus section can be improvised at will. The index, middle, and ring fingers play the role of time keepers. As long as these fingers maintain a steady eighth note pulse, any arpeggio figure played on the treble strings presents a viable option. The tablature and notation that accompany this lesson demonstrate one possible way of arpeggiating the chorus section. Feel free to experiment with your own right hand variations.
Chapter 2: (04:34) Practicing the Chorus and Putting it Together Once you have learned the chorus section, you are ready to perform the song in its entirety. The structure of the song is listed below.

1. Introduction (from lesson 10)
2. Verse 1 (from lesson 11-repeats twice)
3. Chorus 1
4. Interlude 1 (last 4 bars of introduction)
5. Verse 2 (from lesson 11 - repeats twice)
6. Chorus 2
7. Interlude 2 (last 4 bars of introduction)
8. Verse 3 (from lesson 11 - repeats twice))
9. Chorus 3
10. Outro (same as the intro)*

*Note: The final chords in the outro section are played as three note chords. These chords are played as double stops in the introduction section. Refer to "Full Song Tablature" listed under the "Supplemental Content" tab for details.

When you feel ready, begin to practice through the entire song form. Practice the song along with a metronome. If necessary, set the metronome to a slow tempo at first. Playing through the song slowly will help you remember the form. As the song form becomes second nature, gradually increase the speed of the metronome. Finally, return to the lesson video and practice "Operator" along with Steve.

Video Subtitles / Captions


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AugieRAugieR replied

missing a measure in the chorus...

pedlpedl replied

Dear Steve, I just stumbled about thisd lesson and I am definitely going to work with it, I have loved this song since the first time I heard it played by a Pub musician in 1977. But I wonder what do You call these special pcks You are using? Best wishes Peter

xristosxristos replied

Great Stuff!! Thx!

revcarevca replied

Please ignore my recent post. Yes, Steve missed the one line of lyrics but after listening and watching a number of times I realized the tabs do match what he plays. I wish the tabs included the lyrics - would make it easier to follow.

revcarevca replied

Yes, there is a meassure of lyrics missing in Steve's rendition (I've learned to take it well). I don't mind just skipping that measure but what I find difficult is that the tabs do not match what Steve plays and sings. I think you need to chanage the Am bar to fit" the lyrics that it just wasn/t" then start the next bar with Am and lift the finger for Am7 (singing "real")next insert a bar of D for "but that's not the way it" and finish on a measure of G for "feels". I downloaded the song from Sheet music direct - it does this portion of the chorus another way.

patkclarkpatkclark replied

rebek is correct, and I think it's just one measure of C inserted in the middle of what Steve has in the video. I really appreciated the intro and lick Steve, I've had the chords for this song (also one of my all time favorites), but never had those before. Makes it a lot classier! Thanks!

horstwetjenhorstwetjen replied

What seems to work for me is to change the last part of the chorus to: G6 - Am - C - Am7 - D - G, rather than G6 - Am - Am7 - D - G. The picking pattern I use for the new C chord is the same as the C chord prior to the G6.

medic 215medic 215 replied

Great song Jim is sorely missed (me at least) thanks Steve

rebekrebek replied

It seems that there is a short line that is being left out of this song. You're singing "I've overcome the blow--I only wish my words could just convince myself..." but it should be "I've overcome the blow I've learned to take it well, I only wish my words could just convince myself. Do your chords reflect the additional words?

gumbossgumboss replied

Great song, loved the lesson!!! I noticed the tabs for the intro lesson and intro on full song tab do not match. Thought it was worth mentioning since it may cause confusion.

dfrye4dfrye4 replied

Great song missing some lyrics though-"I've learned to take t well... I only wish my words could help convince myself ..."

dalymorresdalymorres replied

Thank you for finally do a Jim Croce song!

mattbrownmattbrown replied

Tabs / Notation will be done soon! Thanks for being patient!

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Operator IntroductionLesson 10

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Operator VerseLesson 11

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Operator ChorusLesson 12

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About Steve Eulberg View Full Biography An Award-winning multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter, Steve Eulberg weaves mountain and hammered dulcimers with a variety of unusual instruments to create thought-provoking, smile-inducing, toe-tapping acoustic experiences.

He has sung and composed for religious communities, union halls, picket lines, inter-faith retreats, mountain-top youth camps, as well as the more familiar venues: clubs, coffeehouses, bookstores, festivals, charity benefits and showcase concerts.

Born and raised in the German-heritage town of Pemberville, Ohio, Steve was exposed to a variety of music in his home. Early piano lessons were followed by trumpet in school band, and he became self-taught on ukelele and guitar and harmonica. Mandolin was added at Capital University where, while majoring in History, he studied Ear Training, Voice and took Arranging lessons from the Conservatory of Music.

While at college, he first heard hammered and mountain dulcimers, building his first mountain dulcimer just before his final year. Seminary training took him the west side of Denver where he built his first hammered dulcimer. With these instruments, he was able to give voice to the Scottish, English and Irish traditions to which he is also heir.

Following marriage in 1985 to Connie Winter-Eulberg he settled in Kansas City, Missouri. There he worked cross-culturally in a church of African-Americans, Latinos and European Americans, with music being a primary organizing tool. He moved with his family in 1997 to be nestled beside the Rocky Mountains in Fort Coillins, Colorado.

Founder of Owl Mountain Music, Inc. he teaches and performs extensively in Colorado and Wyoming with tours across the US and the UK. He delights in introducing the “sweet music” of dulcimers to people in diverse settings and in addition to his own recordings, has included dulcimers in a variety of session work for other musicians.

In 2000 he was commissioned to create a choral composition featuring dulcimers for the Rainbow Chorus in Fort Collins. It was recorded in the same year (BEGINNINGS). He is currently at work on a commissioned symphony that will feature hammered dulcimer and Australian didjeridu.

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Steve is a member of Local 1000 (AFM), The Folk Alliance, BMI and BWAAG (Better World Artists and Activist's Guild).

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