Green Day started out in the San Francisco Bay Area in 1987 and was part of the local punk scene in the 1980s and 90s. They have remained a big part of the scene well into the first decades of the 21st century.
This set of lessons goes through 5 of their biggest songs and focuses on the electric guitar parts that student love to play. All lessons are done by Max Rich.
Lesson 1: Basket Case
Basket Case is a chart topping song from Green Day's 1994 album "Dookie". This song has a very driving rhythm consisting of straight rock style eighth notes. It incorporates a lot of palm muting and chord hits to create its distinctive riff. The difficult in this song is bringing out the dynamics between the palm muted notes and chord hits, which should be respectfully softer and louder. Because of the simple rhythm, this song provides a great chance to practice playing in the pocket with a solid groove and rhythm while keeping your dynamics steady. The cool thing about the outré of this song is that it uses inverted major chords in place o the power chords, which is a pretty atypical move for Green Day and makes for some nice harmonics.
Lesson 2: When I Come Around
When I Come Around is possibly Green Day's most popular song from their 1995 album "Dookie". This song was one of the first songs I ever had on tape. I listened to it in the car every day on the way to school, so I'm pretty fond of it. The guitar parts are relatively simple and power chord oriented. There are some very quick 16th note power chords that you have to palm mute, followed by the same chord without the palm mute as a chord hit. It's a really good way to practice the coordination of playing a shuffling rhythm while palm muting with your right hand. The lead guitar part has an arpeggiated melodic pattern outlining a Gsus chord that has a really great sound but isn't too difficult to play.
Lesson 3: Hitchin' A Ride
Hitchin' A Ride is a great single off of Green Day's 1997 album Nimrod. This one's pretty cool because it uses a lot of dead notes which creates a rhythmic effect. Rather than having space in between the notes, you fill it in with a percussive hit which makes for an interesting sound. Something that I find interesting to think about is how the guitar is by nature a percussive instrument, since you're hitting the strings in order to create a pitch, but on the dead notes they take a more rhythmic quality which allows the guitar to play multiple roles. There's a lot of octaves in this song that have the root on the 2nd and 4th string and move all over the neck, which can be tricky because you have to mute the string in between so you don't end up with an extra note. When you bend the octaves, you really have to make sure that your thumb is tightly wrapped around the back of the neck to make sure you have the proper leverage to get those notes moving right.
Lesson 4: Good Riddance
Good Riddance (Time of Your Life) is one of Green Day's most popular mainstream releases from their album Nimrod released in 1997. This one is a very cool song with an acoustic style of playing that makes use of open strings and lots of arpeggios, played with a rhythmic picking style. It moves into these larger open position G chord, along with suspended and add9 chords, which is unusual for Green Day to write. The challenge with this song is to make sure that you lift and place all of your fingers at the same time when you change chords, as opposed to moving one finger at a time on the neck. This will keep your chords tight and help you keep the tempo steady.
Lesson 5: American Idiot
American Idiot is the title track from Green Day's 2004 album "American Idiot". This song is a power chord anthem, revolving around a repeating shifting pattern that's very simple to play and very beginner friendly. This is a heater of a song, clocking in at a blazing fast 200bpm! Don't worry though, even though it's a quick one, it's still great for beginners to work through. The three fingered power chords, shifting positions, and strings aren't too hard to get under your fingers with a bit of practice, so lets get this one started!