Dust in the wind guitar lesson
Dust in the Wind is a timeless classic that was first recorded by American rock band Kansas in 1977. This song has become a staple for guitarists around the world, and it’s not hard to see why. The song’s gentle fingerpicking style and poignant lyrics have touched countless hearts and minds. In this article, we’ll explore a general look at Dust in the Wind, breaking down the various components of this iconic tune and offering tips and tricks for guitarists who want to learn it.
For a more in depth video lesson on Dust In The Wind check out the full lesson on Totally Guitars
The first thing to note about Dust in the Wind is that it’s played in an alternate tuning. Instead of standard tuning (EADGBE), the guitar is tuned to DADF#AD. This tuning creates a unique sound that’s essential to the song’s character. It’s important to note that the D and A strings are tuned down a full step, while the G string is tuned up a half step. The remaining strings are tuned to their usual notes.
Once you’ve tuned your guitar to the correct tuning, it’s time to learn the song’s basic chords. Dust in the Wind is built around four chords: D, A, G, and F#m. These chords are played in a repeating pattern throughout the song. The chords are fingered as follows:
D chord: Place your index finger on the 3rd string at the 2nd fret, your middle finger on the 1st string at the 2nd fret, and your ring finger on the 2nd string at the 3rd fret.
A chord: Place your index finger on the 4th string at the 2nd fret, your middle finger on the 3rd string at the 2nd fret, and your ring finger on the 2nd string at the 2nd fret.
G chord: Place your index finger on the 5th string at the 2nd fret, your middle finger on the 6th string at the 3rd fret, and your pinky on the 1st string at the 3rd fret.
F#m chord: Place your index finger on the 2nd string at the 2nd fret, your middle finger on the 3rd string at the 2nd fret, and your ring finger on the 4th string at the 2nd fret.
To play the song, you’ll need to switch between these chords in a specific pattern. The pattern is as follows: D – D – D – D – A – A – G – G – F#m – F#m. Once you’ve mastered this pattern, you can begin to work on the fingerpicking.
The fingerpicking pattern for Dust in the Wind is relatively simple but requires precision and control. The pattern is as follows:
Thumb (T) plays the 4th string
Index (I) plays the 3rd string
Middle (M) plays the 2nd string
Ring (R) plays the 1st string
The pattern for each chord is as follows:
D chord: T – M – I – R – I – M
A chord: T – M – I – R – I – M
G chord: T – M – I – R – I – M
F#m chord: T – M – I – R – I – M
It’s essential to practice this fingerpicking pattern slowly at first and focus on getting the timing right. As you become more comfortable with the pattern, you can begin to speed up and add more nuance to your playing.
One thing that sets Dust in the Wind apart from other songs is its use of harmonics. Harmonics are notes that are produced by lightly touching the string at a specific point, creating a bell-like sound.
In Dust in the Wind, harmonics are used to create a haunting, ethereal effect. The song’s most famous harmonic occurs at the beginning of the intro and is played on the 5th fret of the 1st string. To play this harmonic, lightly touch the string directly above the 5th fret and pluck the string with your finger or pick. It may take some practice to get the timing and pressure right, but once you do, you’ll be able to create a beautiful sound that adds depth and complexity to the song.
Another important aspect of Dust in the Wind is its dynamics. The song is relatively soft and gentle throughout, but there are moments where the volume and intensity increase. These moments add emotion and power to the song and are essential to capturing its full impact. As you practice Dust in the Wind, pay attention to the dynamic changes and experiment with how you can use your playing style to accentuate these changes.
As you continue to practice Dust in the Wind, you may find it helpful to listen to various recordings of the song. There are countless covers and renditions of the song out there, and each one offers a unique perspective on the song. Listening to different versions of Dust in the Wind can help you understand the song’s structure and nuances better and can also provide inspiration for your own playing.
Mastering Dust in the Wind is a process that takes time and dedication. As you work on the song, don’t be afraid to experiment with different playing styles and techniques. You may find that certain approaches work better for you than others and that you’re able to put your own spin on the song. Above all, enjoy the process and let the beauty of Dust in the Wind guide you. With practice and perseverance, you’ll be able to play this timeless classic with confidence and grace.