Some of the greatest music of the late 1960s and early 70s was created and produced by bands that fall into the Progressive Rock category. Some of the items that put songs in this world include- extended and experimental compositions, complex harmonies and arrangements, classically influenced themes and techniques, and frequently a high level of virtuosity on the part of the musicians. The two best-known purveyors of the style were probably Yes and Emerson, Lake & Palmer. Both featured keyboard wizardry at the hands of Rick Wakeman and Keith Emerson, dynamic bass players in Chris Squire and Greg Lake, drummers at the top of the percussion world in Bill Bruford and Carl Palmer, strong and distinctive vocalists with Jon Anderson and Lake (who was also a great acoustic guitarist), and of course Yes had one of the most astonishing guitarists of our time with Steve Howe. Other pioneering bands for the genre would include King Crimson (with Lake on bass and vocals), and The Nice, which is where Keith Emerson started experimenting with classical themes and extended solo sections. The early days cannot be brought up without mentioning Genesis and Gentle Giant, as they were also very important in the evolution of the style. Most Prog-Rock tunes feature complex layers of instruments and parts that really require a talented ensemble to reproduce but many songs have interesting and playable sections that can be done by a solo guitarist. This set of lessons contains exactly that and represents a range of different sub-genres.
Lesson 1: Ocean Gypsy Guitar Lesson - Renaissance
As many of you know, Neil has quite an attraction to classic progressive rock, particularly that which falls into the 'symphonic' category. Renaissance would be the band he most closely identifies with in that genre and today we are bringing you a strumming version of one of only a few songs of theirs that can be done in an almost 'campfire' style. Ocean Gypsy was released on their 1975 album Scheherazade And Other Stories. The song features a complex chord progression and a classical solo piano section but can be strummed and sung with a little alternate picking in the intro.
Lesson 2: River Of Life Guitar Lesson
*River Of Life*is Progressive Rock tune from the Italian band PFM. This lesson goes over the introduction, which is really a short classical guitar piece that becomes Baroque like with the addition of piano, bass and flute or violin (depending on the band line up at the time).
Lesson 3: In The Land Of Grey And Pink - Guitar Lesson
*In The Land Of Grey And Pink*is a tune from Caravan, a progressive band that falls into the Canterbury sub-genre. This style features some jazzy elements, frequently with unusual chords/progressions and somewhat whimsical lyrics. It is mostly a strumming song but includes an intro that uses some 3-string chord shapes moving up the neck, along with a percussive strumming pattern.
Lesson 4: Epitaph
King Crimson is one of the bands that can be credited with being one of the creators of the Prog-Rock genre. Their first album, In The Court Of The Crimson King featured *Epitaph*, sung by original bassist Greg Lake. This lesson goes over the basic chord progression, adds some arpeggio picking, and includes a look at common variations on some of the chords.
Lesson 5: Never Let Go - Guitar Lesson
Camel was a band consisting of Andy Latimer on guitar and Peter Bardens on keyboards, along with Doug Ferguson on bass and Andy Ward on drums. Their first album came out in 1973 and included *Never Let Go*, a song that almost became a hit for them. It opens with a cross-picked arpeggio before settling in to a solid rock tune with a catchy melody. It included a well worked out solo section, which is part of what makes it a Prog-Rock tune. This lesson looks at the rhythm guitar parts as well as the intricate intro.