Our Bridge Over Troubled Water package of Simon & Garfunkel songs includes three lessons from that classic album, El Condor Pasa, The Only Living Boy In New York, and the title tune, as well as a couple Paul Simon solos, Slip Slidin’ Away and 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover.
While Slip Slidin’ Away and The Only Living Boy In New York are easy strumming songs, and 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover features a jazzy accompaniment, both El Condor Pasa and Bridge Over Troubled Water include guitar arrangements that are compiled from piano and other instrumental parts in a compelling and challenging way.
Lesson 1: Bridge Over Troubled Water - Intermediate Guitar Lesson
The title song of the fifth and last studio album by Simon & Garfunkel, Bridge Over Troubled Water featured an iconic piano accompaniment, and no guitar to really speak of. This lesson might be considered a ‘guitar reduction’ of studio musician Larry Knechtel’s piano parts. Much of it can be strummed or grabbed in a fingerstyle technique. There are passing bass lines, some harmonized in thirds, and quite an assortment of chords, although most are pretty standard. This would be a great way to accompany yourself, or another singer, with a guitar accompaniment that is playable by intermediate students.
There is a bonus segment with a more literal transcription of the piano introduction arranged for the guitar. This is a bit more challenging but worth working on to take the song, and your playing up a notch.
Lesson 2: The Only Living Boy In New York - Simon & Garfunkel - Guitar Lesson
The Only Living Boy In New York is a song written by Paul Simon and performed by Simon & Garfunkel. It is the eighth track on their last studio album ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’.
This lesson covers the chords, the strumming, the progression and breaks down the guitar riff, in the 2nd instrumental part.
The arrangement is done in the key of G, where the guitar is capoed on the 4th fret. It includes easy strumming in double time, several passing bass notes and a few hammer-ons.
For vocal reasons, I prefer to play the song in the key of D and I figured that other female vocalists might wanna do the same. For that a segment of playing in that key is included.
Lesson 3: El Condor Pasa - Simon and Garfunkel - Guitar Lesson
El Cóndor Pasa is an orchestral musical piece by the Peruvian composer Daniel Alomía Robles, written in 1913.
It was covered by Simon & Garfunkel in 1970, with Simon adding some English lyrics, and appears on their 1970 Bridge Over Troubled Water.
This lesson takes a look at their version. It features relatively easy chords and progression in Em.
It shows how to strum this with your fingers, while alternating bass notes with your thumb.
It also covers an easy way to play the intro both in first position and an octave up.
Lesson 4: Slip Slidin' Away
Slip Slidin' Away is a song Paul Simon wrote and recorded in 1975 for his third solo album Still Crazy After All These Years, although it was cut from the album and held until 1977 when it was added to his Greatest Hits, Etc. It has become one of his favorites with audiences at many of his live performances.
The song is strummed with a swing feel and uses just a few chords in the key of G, making it quite accessible to beginning guitar players. The short lesson goes over the chords, progression, and arrangement, as well as going into the few embellishments that have evolved in Paul's solo performances over the years.
Lesson 5: 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover - Paul Simon - Guitar Lesson
Paul Simon is an American treasure who has added so much to our musical landscape. After the breakup with lifetime partner, Art Garfunkel, he put out a series of more groundbreaking albums. His third solo album, Still Crazy After All These Years, was the most diverse thing he had done, until the next albums were released and kept raising the bar.
50 Ways To Leave Your Lover features a jazzy progression and had two guitar parts, which are both covered in this lesson. The way Paul played it live over the years was a bit of a hybrid version, which is also addressed.