gustavo santaolalla
Gustavo Santaolalla’s Echo Park studio. [Variety]
Intrusion | Ma Mère

Although composer, Gustavo Santaolalla is mostly known for Brokeback Mountain, and Babel (for which he won back-to-back Oscars) he has a ton of work out there from lesser known films.

Les yeux de sa mère (His Mother’s Eyes) is a 2011 French film — where Gustavo Santaolalla’s score is laden with avant garde guitar and ronroco riffs.

As always, his film music is a total separation from the status quo. Very minimal by conventional standards, and designed to not interfere with the moment. Gustavo Santaolalla:

“Yes. I’m going to talk from my own particular experience because there’s so many ways to tap into this. In general, my approach has been always more minimal and with a discreet use of music.

I find that music in movies — I, in general, like not to have too much music in the movies. I like the music to become relevant at certain points.

When you have a really dramatic scene or when something is really happening on the screen, why would you put some music too it, you know? You can turn something dramatic into something melodramatic very easily.”

Gustavo Santaolalla, On Being Podcast with Krista Tippett

Whether you’re a superfan of Santaolalla’s film music like me, or an artist/creator, that podcast is a motherload of wisdom. My hope is to create things for film and Gustavo Santaolalla lays out the perfect blueprint with Krista Tippett.

Gear Used

My guitar for Intrusion | Ma Mère is a Fender Eric Clapton Strat that I recieved for my birthday from a friend whom I’ve taught guitar for 18 years. I love Eric Clapton and I’ve always wanted one of these guitars.

Modifications are already underway. The guitar comes with an onboard TBX boost unit. Basically a boost pedal inside the guitar. That is not my thing, as I prefer the functionality of a traditional Strat. Also, I’d like the guitar to be in the spirit of Eric Clapton’s original “Blackie”. 

So far the TBX unit has been removed and the pickups wired like a traditional Fender Stratocaster. My planned mods are MojoTone QuietCoil 58 pickups (already being shipped) and Kluson Vintage Locking tuners.

After that maybe I’ll have some light relicing or “ageing” done to the neck and finish.  Aside from the vintage look, reliced guitars play better.

My amp is a Vox AC10. You can find a list of all of my gear here.

How to play Intrusion | Ma Mère by Gustavo Santaolalla

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The guitar tab for Intrusion | Ma Mère is two pages long. Ma Mère, specifically, is not a guitar song, but it shares the same melody line as Intrusion.

Intrusion bookends a long silent section — where I simply inserted my guitar version of Ma Mère for something to play.

My order of play looks like this (in accordance with the guitar tab): Intro 2x, Verse 2x, Verse End — Chorus (Ma Mère) — Intro 2x, Verse 2x, Verse End, End.

Enjoy – the guitar tab is available below:

Intrusion | Ma Mère is played in standard tuning:

Intrusion | Ma Mère by Gustavo Santaolalla

Please comment to let me know what you think, or if you have any questions.


Written by:

Matthew's dad, Jennifer's husband, bass player - New Invisible Joy, YouTuber, film composer - Broken Noons, creator of modern content for guitar.