Elton John, obviously known as one of the best piano players and songwriters of the last 50 years, has many songs that translate over to the guitar very well. Many of them even use the guitar as the main accompaniment, including a few of what we have here. It was 1970 when the young Elton’s eponymous album hit the airwaves with big production pieces, as well as his first hit, Your Song.
He continues to regularly write and release albums, which included the soundtrack to The Lion King, as well as rewriting of Candle In The Wind to honor Princess Diana.
This set of lessons is culled from the early days of his career, with songs from 5 of his first 7 albums.
Lesson 1: Your Song - Guitar Lesson
Your Song is one of the songs that put the songwriting team of Elton John and Bernie Taupin on the musical map that was evolving in 1970. Elton’s brilliant music and piano arrangements translate pretty well to the guitar, as do most well written compositions. In this lesson we look at how to imitate the piano sound with fingerpicking patterns and chord inversions.
Lesson 2: Love Song - Acoustic Guitar Lesson
Love Song is one of the rare tunes to appear on an Elton John album that he did not write. The songwriter was Lesley Duncan, who was known a bit in England but never achieved worldwide recognition. She did play the guitar part and sing harmony on Elton's 1970 album Tumbleweed Connection.
The guitar part is very basic fingerpicking and uses only two chords with some embellishments. Nancy and Ann Wilson, of Heart also are known to perform the song live and this lesson also covers Nancy's version of the song, which has a bit more variety in the chords and picking.
Lesson 3: Madman Across The Water - Guitar Lesson Elton John
Madman Across The Water was written by Elton John and his main lyricist, Bernie Taupin and was the title song from his 1971 album. It is one of his few songs that features acoustic guitar. The lesson goes over the basic riff and strumming accompaniment. Neil also improvises a chord solo arrangement of the tune which is not covered in the lesson but tab is included.
Lesson 4: Daniel - Guitar Lesson
Daniel is a great acoustic guitar song by Elton John. The original included a guitar strumming along with Elton’s piano, and some nice keyboard fills and a solo as well. This lesson looks at the chord progression in the original key of C and adds the fills and solo to create a very complete guitar part. The song is from Elton’s 1973 album Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only The Piano Player.
Lesson 5: Goodbye Yellow Brick Road - Elton John - Guitar Lesson
In 1973 Elton John and lyricist collaborated on the double album Goodbye Yellow Brick Road. The song was obviously done on piano but the choice of chords and the progression are fascinating and compelling.
This lesson takes more of a Campfire approach but goes into transcribing the intro for guitar, as well as challenging the student to do a little harmonic analysis to determine what keys are used and the relationships of the chords. It uses a lot of different chords, many barres, and includes one very quick change. There is also a bonus segment where I explore the possibilities of doing an instrumental arrangement.
Lesson 6: Can You Feel The Love Tonight?
'Can You Feel The Love Tonight?' is a song from Disney's 1994 film 'The Lion King', composed by artist Elton John with lyrics by Tim Rice. It earned the duo the Academy Award for Best Original Song.
This lesson teaches a fingerstyle arrangement in the key of G, where the guitar is capoed on the 3rd fret.
It breaks down several examples for the fingerpicking, and a few strumming suggestions for the ones who prefer to do that. We take a look at the chords, including some inversions and their fingerings, as well as how to incorporate the melody in the intro.
Keep in mind, one should be comfortable fingerpicking in general. It should also come out a little different each time.