american girl bass lesson



Recorded on July 4, 1976 on their first album “Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers”

Supposedly, the song is about pretty college girl at the University of Florida in Gainesville, who jumped to her death from the dorm Beatty Towers. University officials said it’s impossible to do as the windows are too small, but it made for a great song.

This was the last song Tom played live at his concert at the Hollywood Bowl on September 25, 2017. He died a week later.


Ron Blair played with Tom Petty from 1976 to 1982 and then came back in 2002 to replace his replacement, Howie Epstein. He plays several basses but likes Fender Jazz. He played through Vox, Fender Bassman and Ampeg SVT’s.

I love the intro high notes. These notes can sound quite thin, so playing with a pick will bring them out more.

Most of the line is a repetitive groove that fits the song really well. The key is to nail that rhythm.

For the outro, Ron plays harmonics over and over. You could also just play the pattern from the verse if the harmonics are too hard to hear when you play it live.

Ron Blair

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