Operator Guitar TAB

Operator by Jim Croce Full Guitar Lesson (Both Guitar Parts)

Operator (That's Not the Way It Feels) was written by American singer-songerwriter Jim Croce in 1972 and the song went on to peak at number 17 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Underneath Jim's vocals there are two guitars playing in perfect harmony throughout the song. In this lesson we're going to be learning how to play both parts.

Jim's guitar part is the more straightforward of the two and consists mainly of relatively simple chords being arpeggiated and fingerpicked. The second guitar (played by Maury Muehleisen) is more of a lead guitar in style and has all sorts of fancy licks going on. 

Alright, let's learn how to play Operator!

Song Details:

  • Key - G major
  • Tuning - standard 
  • Tempo - 129 bpm
  • Difficulty - intermediate - advanced

Operator (That's Not the Way It Feels) (Performance)

As you learn to play Operator, be sure to frequently return to the performance as a good reference point and guide.   

Want to be a truly great player?

Get HUNDREDS of fingerstyle video lessons for an incredible 40% OFF!

Take advantage of this brilliant offer and learn absolutely everything you need to know about fingerpicking.

How to Play Jim Croce's part for Operator (That's Not the Way It Feels)

In this first video we learn how to play the intro and verse of Operator as played by Jim Croce. As mentioned above, it's really just a simple chord progression with arpeggiated chords. If you play at an intermediate level of fingerpicking you shouldn't struggle too much here.

New to fingerpicking? Want to learn more?

Learn all the essential techniques you'll ever need.

Begin your fingerstyle adventure today and become the player you've always wanted to be. 

(Chorus/Bridge)

In this lesson we learn the chorus and bridge of Operator as played by Croce. What's difficult about the chorus is that there are loads of chords and they seem to fly by at an alarming rate. It certainly took me a while to memorise the order for them all. Having said that, the bridge is a piece of cake in comparison, as you'll see in the video.

Enough exercises to last a lifetime!

An almost endless supply of fingerpicking patterns, strengthening your skills day-by-day.

Take your playing to new heights! 

How to Play the Lead Guitar part of Operator (That's Not The Way It Feels)

Let's now get stuck into the lead guitar part of Operator (That's Not the Way It Feels). The first thing that you want to do is place a capo on the 5th fret. The next thing you want to do is to brace yourself, as there's A LOT going on!

In this video lesson we learn how to play the intro.

Write your own fingerstyle arrangements!

Arrange all your favourite songs for fingerstyle guitar with this step-by-step guide.

Learn my tried and tested formula that works on any song!

(1st Verse)

Muehleisen plays the piece using a thumb pick, I personally feel comfortable with a regular flatpick and hybrid picking. My advice is to play around and to find what works best for you. You may find that you want to use just your fingers, this is of course fine too. 

Want to be a truly great player?

Get HUNDREDS of fingerstyle video lessons for an incredible 40% OFF!

Take advantage of this brilliant offer and learn absolutely everything you need to know about fingerpicking.

(Chorus)

Into the chorus now and the lead licks calm down for the first few bars. This is short-lived, however, as there's some really tasty but quite hard lines going on at the end.

New to fingerpicking? Want to learn more?

Learn all the essential techniques you'll ever need.

Begin your fingerstyle adventure today and become the player you've always wanted to be. 

(2nd Verse)

The second verse of Operator is very similar to the first; however, you'll notice that there are a few subtle changes here and there. 

Enough exercises to last a lifetime!

An almost endless supply of fingerpicking patterns, strengthening your skills day-by-day.

Take your playing to new heights! 

(Bridge)

The bridge is just four bars long but there's plenty going on. Don't feel as though you have to play it note-for-note as I have, so long as you're arpeggiating the chords you'll likely be ok. 

(3rd Verse)

The last verse now of Operator and again it's much the same as the others, just with a few small changes. 

(Outro)

Finally you've made it to the outro - congratulations! Thankfully, there's actually no new licks to learn here, just ones from earlier on in the song. 

Structure:

Intro, Verse, Chorus, Interlude (same as intro), Verse, Chorus, Bridge, Verse, Chorus, Outro 

If you enjoyed this lesson and are keen to learn more, then any of these song lessons will be a great next step for you: Classical Gas (Mason Williams), Mister Sandman (Chet Atkins), Never Going Back Again (Fleetwood Mac), Neon (John Mayer).

Alternatively you can browse the whole song catalog: Song Lesson Library

Let me know what you thought of the lesson in the comments section below. Say what you found hard/easy, what level you're at and what your fingerpicking goals are. 

Recent Song Lessons

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *