Lesson Plan

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Lesson notes

Masquerade by Leon Russell has been a favorite of mine since Carney was released in 1972 (along with Tight Rope and a handfull of others). I really never thought about playing it until I met Corina (who had grown up as a huge fan of The Carpenters) in 2013 and it became a staple of our set of songs. After many requests to do a lesson on how I play an accompaniment to a vocalist, it seemed logical to take it another step–the solo guitar version, as that is what I do pretty regularly.

This lesson is done in Leon's original key of C Minor, but the best way to get there on the acoustic guitar is play in the user-friendly key of A Minor and capo to the third fret. I talk about a percussive accompaniment and paying close attention to the phrasing variations in different verses. There is also a short segment on improvising a lead over simple chord changes, which can be quite challenging even without a complicated lead.

In general, this is how I approach almost everything I play, and the variations materialize organically. You have to find a way to making this your own and not hold the tab sacred.