Replacements - Answering Machine Chords & Tabs


Answering Machine Chords & Tabs

Replacements Chords & Tabs

Version: 1 Type: Tab

Answering Machine Tab

Good Day! This TAB was done by J. Warden for the website. All comments, suggestions, hatemail are 
encouraged and should be sent to jason (at) benalto (dot) com. I can also be found at the message board posting gibberish in the Guitar Geeks section. I really like to hear how people are 
doing with my tabs, so don't be afraid to drop in! Also, please note all my tabs are a work in progress - I always find 
little mistakes in them and update from time to time. So if you spot one, definitely let me know.

This tab may be reproduced anywhere as long as all of the above is kept intact.

(WARNING - this features a VERY long intro in which I indulge my ego a bit, and then explain how "Answering Machine" 
was recorded for LIB. If you're just eager to start playing the fucker, tune to open A and skip down to the notation 

Today's tab is ANSWERING MACHINE. Yup, you heard it. I'm gonna teach ya'all how to play Answering Machine, the Holy 
Grail of Mats guitarwork. Now I realize you're skeptical. Many people have said they can play it. There's many 
different opinions about alternate tunings and such, collected nicely at 
,including my own opinion a few years back. Turns out, I was right but didn't have all the fingerings down. And instead 
of launching from my observations, refining them, all anyone did was call me and Paul liars. To put you at ease, we'll 
go through these alternate methods a little bit. If you tried to play them using those false tabs and couldn't it 
wasn't your fault! 

First the guy that says Slim told him Paul plays "Answering Machine" in Open E, with a capo at the 1st or 2nd fret. He 
offers no tab, just says "once you figure out the fingerings, you'll see what I mean". We are all waiting for those 
fingerings. First of all, no matter what tuning you decide to use, the basic "chords" of Answering Machine are beyond 
dispute. They are B, A, F#min, and E. If the capo is placed on the first fret, none of these chords in open E would use 
ANY open strings. The primary purpose of a tuning is to USE OPEN STRINGS. Not only that, but there's sections of the 
song with such discrepencies between low and high notes the song demands it. So we can cancel out "Open F" easily 
enough. Putting the capo on the 2nd fret leads to similar paradoxes. The song has an F#MINOR. One of the hardest things 
to do in EMaj tuning is play the tonic minor. The section of the song alluded to earlier, with the open strings, 
demands an open A string. There is no open A string in F#maj.There is an open Bb, though! No, I think we can discard 
those plans for conquering - not to mention all the sus2 chords in the song, which are hard as fuck to do in open E 

Another gentleman, this one a bit more helpful and a somewhat less arrogant tries open Esus2. He at least tries to get 
all the sus2s in there. However, his tab is strange. They require fingers all over the place just to play the intro - 
what's more, it is impossible to play the Answering Machine demos, with their simplified intro with a ringing 
(suggesting an open string) C#. He also does not demonstrate how to play the "swishy" part (over "to an Answering 
Machine") and no wonder, as it cannot be played in his tuning. 

I'm not just running these gentlemen down for the sake of ego or anything! Goodness knows, I've made plenty of errors - 
just recently, a huge misstep figuring out the Stereo tuning. I really want to iterate what is, on that page, a 
questioned fact - that Paul plays in open A/open G. It is suggested on that page Paul "never" plays in Open A. That 
couldn't be more wrong! And I have proof.

First of all, a '96 Guitar Player article (mentioned by me in that skyway text) where Paul DOES state "Answering 
Machine" is played in open A. Not enough for some people, who suggest Paul lied. However, if you listen to this mp3: ,you'll hear a snippet from a Feb 9, 1986 show where Paul, recently haven broken 
one of his guitars, has only one guitar on stage and has to tune it in order to play a number of songs on the setlist - 
one of them, the second one after he tunes in fact, is "Answering Machine". You can clearly hear him yank the hell out 
of the D, G and B strings, bringing them all up one step. Open A.

This very long introduction is basically saying "It's in open A". To tune your guitar to open A, leave the low E, A, 
and high E strings as they are. Tune the D-B strings all up one full step.
High E: E
B: C#
G: A
D: E
A: A
E: E

One thing I didn't take into account when I first attempted to tab this song out, those many years ago, was how good a 
guitar player Paul was, even back then. When Paul has a weird, left-field musician idea like this Answering Machine 
music (and, more recently, his work with the Stereo tuning) he works damn hard at it and becomes an expert. I listened 
very closely beforehand to the 2 "Answering Machine" demos available and he's playing a very simplified, E-Z guitar 
kinda Answering Machine there. He got his chops up to speed with whatever he had in his head by the time Let It Be was 
recorded, though. It's odd because no one uses open A for these kinda 'new wave' things. Paul probably copped the 
tuning from either the Stones or the Faces (who used open G, same relativistic tuning) who used it for it's bluesy 
appeal and ease of use. Paul twisted the fuck out of it, using it for weird suspended chords and ringing stacked 9ths. 

Now, we have a difficulty right from the beginning. "Answering Machine" on Let It Be is a very curious recording of 
the song. There are two very distinct guitar parts that you can hear from the word go - a muddy, Gibson-sounding 
rhythm guitar chugging along and a sharp, overdriven trebly "lead" guitar. Not only that, but there's at least 2 
guitars playing the leads, sometimes running afoul of each other!  I have made the decision not to 
transcribe both but a combination of them, much like Paul does when he plays the song live. Now, there are SEVERAL 
parts of the song where the two guitar parts are in fact playing the same thing. This gives the song a heavy depth. 
The "lead" part is really just emphasizing the melodic lines, and on what will be called from here on in the 
"swishy" chorus the rhythm guitar is really used to keep the chugging going while Paul flies up and down the neck. 
Now, all this is important to realize because the intro features a DISTINCT chugging riff while the lead part is 
played very cleanly and loosely OVER it. Paul live kinda smushes the two together. For this part and this part only 
I will transcribe both parts and than finally a "smushed" version you can play with yourself - that's why we grab 
all these tabs, right, to bash out by ourselves for the most part....


1) Intro


-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-4-----2(ring)-4s0h2------ REPEAT 4X
-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2 2(ring)-4s0h2------

The tricky thing is the huge slide to open to hammer on at the end. It's only supposed to go on
for just a beat. Here's a quickie mp3 of me playing the rhythm intro:

Easy enough start. Now, the lead:

---------------------2-------------------2---- REPEAT 2X

Two things I want you to notice here:
The double stops in the lead, the "two 2s", those are played by the lead while the rhythm lets that 
B9 chord ring (the ring I put up there in parenthesis). The other thing to notice is that the lead
guitar slides down, then up. It's a pattern. Here is an mp3 of me playing the lead:

So now we see why trying to duplicate the intro of "Answering Machine" as recorded has frustrated guitarists
far and wide, even when you know the tuning! What doesn't seem important when you're playing it is the little
doublestop thing, but when you listen to the recorded version it sticks out like a sore thumb. Here is how you'd
play the combined version of the two parts:

---------------2-2-4-----2(ring)-4s0h2-----------------2-2-4-------2(ring)-------- REPEAT 2X

And again, an mp3 so you know how it might sound:

An interesting live thing he did on the "Eventually" tour was replace the pausing "two 2s" with this:


Interesting totally deprives the listener of the "b" they want to hear and replaces it with a sus2!

It's cool to note that even those early demos of this song feature two guitars!

Okay, so that's the intro. That's the part where the two guitar parts are most delineated. From here on in, I'm 
mushing the parts together.  Let's get on with the verses:
                            (ring)                 (RING!)
A                          F#min
Try and ...           into a living!
[ Tab from: ]
(notes: on the recording, the rhythm guitar just chugs the A and F# min. The lead plays not the eighth notes
I notate here or play in the example but quarter notes (the notes are the same), because you can't play
two rhythms on one fretboard unless you're Richard Thompson or Edward Van Halen. Also, in the recording, he plays 
those high notes over the F# at the same time the chord changes - not easy to do solo. Another thing about the 
recording, he doesn't play them as 2nd fret high e, b string open-- he slides the 2/3 fingering from the A section  
up one whole step. However, this quickie solution will suffice for solo guitar and approximates  what he does in 

-0-0-0---------------0-0-0-2---s-9-9-9-9-7--4-4-4-2(let ring)---------------------------
Losin' hope...            together        
A                                Esus2   E  Bsus2 B

                         (ring)           (RING!)   (RING AGAIN!)
My courage...        ..I mean!
A                          F#min

-->that's the basic gist of all the chorus. There are slight time variations in how the 'lead' part 
is played; now that you know where the notes are you can easily spot them yourself.

Occasionally he does NOT resolve that Esus2.

One last thing before we move to the chorus: the double (triple) doses of high end on the last F# might sound
weird, but that's what he does on the very first verse on the record. Check it out. It just sounds so weird
all mushed, and acoustic.
Oh! I lied! One other important thing. You must remember when you resolve the B to NOT resolve it the same
way you did with the E. It's very subtle, he just drops the suspension instead of dropping it AND adding the 3rd on 

Here's me playing a 'generic' verse:

Now, we'll use that generic verse form for all the verses. The choruses, though, I think I'll tab out all the 
variations. 'Cause they're so neat!

1st Chorus:

   How do ya say you're  okay     to an    answering machine

   How do ya say goodnight to     to an    answering machine

One of the reasons I always put in mp3s is because my rhythm tabbing is so bad..I hope you can figure out
by ear what I simply can't transcribe properly to save my life. You see the difference? The second one, there's a 
beat for the chord change, instead of going straight to the swirly thing, and then he does an abbreviated 
version of the swirly thing. To fill up the space I hit the rhythm part for a couple beats.
Dammit. Listen to the record! Or this mp3:

Okay. Song structure - right from this chorus he goes back into another intro. I can't belive I've typed this
much, we're only 40odd seconds into the song! Then another verse ("Big town's got it's losers.."). There's something 
on record that's really cool about this verse...I believe the 2nd F#min his lead just plays the rhythm. This is as 
good as time as any to tell you how he plays (in the studio) that F#min.

 then another chorus:

   How do ya say i miss you       to an    answering machine
   How do ya say goodnight to     to an    answering machine

Now making it's first appearance in the song is the part I like to call THE COOLEST FUCKING
GUITAR PART IN THE WORLD. One of the cool things about it is it sounds SO swirly and screwed up,
but it's just one part, no weirdness like the intro - it's all in the way he plays it.

-----2-----2---4-2-0----s9-9-9--------2-2---4-2-0--2---------------------  REPEAT 2X
if you'd like to make a call....                                               

Hear it:

Now there's another verse "Try and free a slave of ignorance". Again, the lead guitar has some variations, including 
dropping out completely for the first few bars.

And now, the final chorus

   How do ya say i miss you       to an    answering machine
   How do ya say goodnight to     to an    answering machine
   How do ya say i'm lonely          to an    answering machine
   The message is fairly plain
now, this is my favourite part of the song. It reminds me of the "putting it all together" sections
in textbooks.

       I hate your    answering      machine

Notice over the "answering", the rhythm guitar is probably just playing a Bish chord while the lead does
the intro riff (ascending). However, they're easy enough to combine, as I have done. This part of the song
is played four times; however, only the first time is that lead riff played. Otherwise it's a normal Esus2.

----------2-2-2-------s9-9-9-9-9--------s4-4-4-4-2---------------------- REPEAT 3X
       I hate your    answering      machine

And then the song just ends with Paul doing that COOLEST FUCKING GUITAR PART IN THE WORLD, repeated 'til fade.
-----2------2--------4-2-0----s9-9-9--------2-2---4-2-0--2---------------------  REPEAT 

Just a note on my examples - they're neither as sloppy nor as well played as Paul plays them. They're meant to 
be guides to the rough transcriptions. I have NEVER posited myself as a great guitar player. Please be forgiving!