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Lesson notes

Don’t Be Cruel is a song recorded by Elvis Presley and written by Otis Blackwell. It became Elvis’ biggest selling single in 1956.

The arrangement is done with only four chords in the key of D and this lesson shows how to play it in both standard and dropped D-Tuning.

Dropped D-Tuning is by far preferable, and I certainly encourage you to tackle it, since it allows you to play the signature intro riff and descending bassline in the outro. It should be very doable for even beginning guitar players.

Since it’s a very similar song, we also take a look at Treat Me Nice, which is from the soundtrack of Elvis’ 3rd movie ‘Jailhouse Rock’ (1957).

It was written by the well known songwriting duo Leiber & Stoller, who wrote several songs for him and numerous other artists.

The main difference is that the arrangement uses E7 instead of Em.

Both songs should be done with a swing feel and it’s nice to alternate bass notes. A few other details are mentioned that show how you can dress it up a bit.