Emerson, Lake & Palmer 7-Pack
Greg Lake has penned a handful of great songs for guitarists. He is of course best known as the bass player and voice of progressive rock pioneers Emerson, Lake& Palmer but his acoustic guitar songs are mini- masterpieces that feature complex and intricate techniques, as well as beautiful melodies. In this set of lessons we breakdown his five most requested and popular tunes.
Lesson 1: Trilogy - Emerson, Lake & Palmer - Guitar Lesson
Trilogy, the title tune from ELP’s 4th album, released in 1972, is a great example of what the three members could create from the starting point of a simple ballad.
I never considered doing an acoustic guitar lesson on this until I ran across recent videos of Greg Lake playing Trilogy in all its stripped-down beauty.
This short lesson covers the unusual chords with a simple, free-rhythm, arpeggio accompaniment, along with the melodic intro and a nice end tag that Greg added in a couple of the performances.
There is a separate lesson on the solo guitar arrangement listed under Neil Hogan - Instrumentals.
Lesson 2: Take A Pebble - Emerson, Lake & Palmer - Guitar Lesson
The first ELP album included the original version of Take A Pebble, a song that started out as an acoustic ballad by Greg Lake but became a keyboard showcase under the hands of Keith Emerson.
In recent years Greg Lake has been performing it as the ballad he wrote.
This lesson takes a “work it out”, ear training approach where you can see what strings are being played and the challenge is to figure out as much of the arpeggios as you can.
All is revealed by the end, and the student should be able to put it together without tab or a chart.
Lesson 3: Lucky Man Free Guitar Lesson
Lucky Man is a great song for beginning guitar students. There are only a few chords and a basic strumming pattern in 6/8 time.
Lesson 4: The Sage
The Sage starts out like many Lake tunes with a nice cross-picking accompaniment over a couple of extended chords in the key of A minor. This continues for a pair of verses, ending with a solid cadence on the tonic. The classical part introduces us to the technique of using a pick in combination with the right hand fingers, similar to fingerstyle, really. This is a great way to play a song that requires arpeggios, plucked chords on non-adjacent strings, fast single-string runs, and even strumming (which does not happen in this song).
Lesson 5: Still You Turn Me On
This piece was played on a 12-string guitar in dropped D tuning, Greg Lake’s white Gibson J-200 most likely. The arpeggio pattern that he keeps going throughout most of the song is really compelling due to the 12-string, mostly when he hits the 3rd string, which brings in the highest note of the sequence. When the guitar is in dropped D tuning, the main chords that are fingered differently are those with roots on the 6th string. In this song that would be G and F, where the bass note must be played 1 whole step higher than where it is in standard tuning.
Lesson 6: I Believe In Father Christmas
As ELP was winding down the first phase of their career in 1974, Greg recorded a solo single that has become a seasonal standard, I Believe In Father Christmas. This piece is also done in Dropped D and uses a simple set of 2-finger chords working their way down the neck. He plays this with the hybrid picking technique but it can be done with standard fingerstyle technique as well.
Lesson 7: From The Beginning - Guitar Lesson
From The Beginning has all the elements that make Greg Lake’s acoustic songs great- interesting sounds with the use of extended chords, many of which use open strings for a sense of consistency, harmonics, percussive strumming, arpeggio picking in both the alternating and cross-picking styles, and slightly cryptic lyrics that add to the mysterious quality. A must-learn tune for every guitar player.