Title: Exploring Walter Becker’s Unique Tune “Cringe Maker” – A Guitar Tutorial

Walter Becker, one-half of the iconic duo behind Steely Dan, is renowned not only for his distinctive musical style but also for his prowess as a producer and songwriter. In this guitar tutorial, we delve into one of his lesser-known works, “Cringe Maker,” which stands out as a unique and funky departure from the typical Steely Dan sound.

Walter Becker: A Musician with Versatility

Before we dive into the tutorial, it’s worth acknowledging Walter Becker’s multifaceted talents. While his soloing style might not appeal to everyone, his role as a producer and songwriter is undeniable. He possessed a remarkable depth of knowledge when it came to crafting music. “Cringe Maker” is a testament to his versatility.

Unpacking “Cringe Maker”

“Cringe Maker” is a song that deviates from the norm. As most Steely Dan tracks, it does adhere to a consistent beat. This tune serves as an excellent example of Becker’s ability to experiment with harmony and arrangement.

Guitar Parts: Classic Rock and Jazzy Influences

In this tutorial, we’ll explore two distinct guitar parts within “Cringe Maker.” The first part embodies the essence of classic rock and roll. It begins with an E chord, followed by notes on the A string (B, C sharp, and D on the 2nd, 4th, and 5th frets). There’s a bit of ambiguity regarding how Becker played this part, but it involves either sliding up to the E on the A string’s 7th fret or hitting the 2nd fret of the D string.

The next two chords are C#m7 and Dm9. These chords contribute to the song’s unique sound.

The main riff during the verse is intriguing. It comprises inverted chords, adding an extra layer of complexity. Here are some of the inversions used:

  1. A over C#
  2. G over B
  3. F over A
  4. F minor over Ab
  5. E over G#
  6. F#7
  7. D over F#

The song culminates in an Fm13 chord before returning to the main riff. These inversions provide an excellent opportunity to practice a unique style that combines elements of jazz and classical guitar.

A Quirky and Unusual Gem

“Cringe Maker” by Walter Becker is indeed a quirky and unusual gem in the world of music. Its unconventional structure and chord progressions make it a fascinating piece to explore. If you’re looking to learn inversions in a style that isn’t strictly jazz or classical, this song is an excellent choice.


In this short tutorial, we’ve scratched the surface of Walter Becker’s “Cringe Maker.” It’s a song that invites you to dig deeper, experiment, and appreciate the artistry of this legendary musician. If you have any questions or suggestions for other songs with interesting chord inversions, please share them in the comments section. As always, don’t forget to like, subscribe, and stay tuned for more musical explorations.

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