Learning from the Theme to Peter Gunn

Learning from the Theme to Peter Gunn

Peter Gunn was a TV Detective show that first aired on 22nd September 1958. The memorable theme tune for the show was written by Henry Mancini, who also wrote the amazing Pink Panther theme.

Looking around on Youtube there seems to be two different ways given for playing the main riff, they only differ by a single note, but there is a neat trick to learn here.


Here is the tab for both versions:-

Peter Gunn Tab

See Video HERE

The first tab is the original Henry Mancini version. You will notice that the last note is an A flat – or rather G# – this is the Major third note up from E.

The second tab is the 1959 Duane Eddy version. You will notice that the last note is a G – this is the minor third note up from E. You will also notice that this note is bent up a half step to G#.

Duane Eddy was known for his “twangy” guitar sound, and the bending of notes is one of the ways in which he achieved his sound – he would play a note a semitone below the actual note and bend up to it.

It is especially effective in the Peter Gunn Theme as he is bending the minor third up to the major third, which has a particularly bluesy sound – especially if the bend is more of a quarter tone bend to keep things deliciously ambiguous…that is not quite major and not quite minor.

You can also use a quarter note bend on the G on the third beat as well if you wish.

You can use this trick to spice up your own riffs. Have fun!


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