Our second pack of solo arrangements of Beatles songs include tunes from Neil's album A Beatles Collection, Along with a Slack Key version of Here Comes The Sun in Open G.
Lesson 1: When I'm 64 - Solo Guitar Arrangement
When I'm 64 starts off the last track on my album, A Beatles Collection. It is then followed in a medley with I'm Looking Through You. This lesson follows the way it was played, really with bit of improvisation, in that recording.
It is basically an alternating bass, almost ragtime arrangement that includes some tricky left hand stretches and fingerings. It would be reasonable to capo it to the second fret to make them a little easier.
Lesson 2: I'm Looking Through You - Solo Guitar Arrangement
In 1989 or so I made an album of Solo Arrangements of Beatles' Tunes, A Beatles Collection. It included versions of more than 20 songs. This is the first one that I have revisited and done a more formal arrangement of.
I really think it is important to know the lyrics and try to play the melody like you're singing the song. This lesson covers 3 verses, all slightly different, and the chorus. Some experience with alternate bass fingerpicking is definitely required here but it is not too difficult, unless you want to play it at the Beatles speed, which I do not recommend.
This is the type of piece that encourages a bit of improvisation as well and does not need to be played note-for-note the same every time. It would even be fine to just learn the first verse and the chorus, without the embellishments that are done in the other verses.
Lesson 3: Because - The Beatles - Solo Guitar Arrangement
Because is one of John Lennon's most compelling songs. The combination of melody, chord progression, vocal harmonies and arrangement is very creative and far beyond most composers, especially considering he was still not yet 30 years old.
This arrangement follows my CD from about 30 years ago, A Beatles Collection and starts with just the harpsichord accompaniment before bringing in the melody, which is played in two different octaves. There are some unorthodox fingerings, like using one finger to play two notes on different frets at the same time, but alternatives are also explored.
There are a lot of barre chords needed, which can make it very tiring, but it will be worth your time if you decide to tackle it.
Lesson 4: Can't Buy Me Love - The Beatles - Solo Guitar Arrangement
This solo fingerpicking arrangement can be found on Neil Hogan's album A Beatles Collection, originally released in 1989. It is in a ragtime style and uses a steady alternating bass technique in the key of C Major.
There are quite a few challenging left hand moves, mainly requiring independent moving of the fingers to combine the melody with a 3-string bass pattern on the C chord. This can be made easier by using a simpler 2-string pattern but working on the complicated combination is a great exercise for players wanting to advance their skills.
Lesson 5: Don't Bother Me - Solo Guitar Arrangement
Don't Bother Me was the first George Harrison composition to appear on a Beatles album wjen With The Beatles was released in 1963. This solo arrangement in the key of A Dorian (and occasionally A Minor) is how it appeared on my album A Beatles Collection in 1989.
I changed from the original key of E Dorian so the melody notes laid out better on the higher guitar strings, without getting too far up the neck or down on the middle strings.
The arrangement is not too difficult if you are already a bit familiar with keeping an alternating bass part going while picking out melody notes. There are a few barre chords involved, of course.
Lesson 6: Slack Key: Here Comes The Sun (Open G)
This lesson has some history, with Neil traveling to Hawaii spending time with Keola Beamer and eventually doing a concert here in California with Keola.. This arrangement of Here Comes The Sun is done slack key style in Taro Patch Tuning, that would be Open G in other cultures- D G D G B D. It features an alternating bass line and just a few chord shapes.