This set of guitar lessons on James Taylor songs features some of his earliest hits. Included are Sweet Baby James, Fire And Rain, Sunny Skies, Carolina In My Mind, Something In The Way She Moves and Millworker.
Lesson 1: Sweet Baby James Free Guitar Lesson
Here is James Taylor's classic cowboy/campfire song played pretty much the way James did it.
Lesson 2: Fire and Rain
Fire and Rain
Lesson 3: Something In The Way She Moves - Guitar Lesson
Something In The Way She Moves is one of James Taylor’s earliest, and most popular songs. It first appeared on his debut album (on Apple Records) in 1968. It is a great example of his free-form picking style that incorporates arpeggios, Travis patterns, and strumming into a seamless blend of sounds. This lesson explains and demonstrates the techniques in split-screen, slo-mo detail, and encourages you to add them to your toolbox, making them your own.
Lesson 4: Carolina In My Mind - James Taylor - Guitar Lesson
In 1968 James Taylor was one of the first young artists signed to the Beatles new label, Apple. He recorded an album that is largely forgotten today, compared to his subsequent success with Warner Brothers. Carolina In My Mind is one of his earliest songs that was resurrected for his 1976 Greatest Hits album, and a classic example of what we love about his songs.
His fingerstyle is free form, making it difficult, and pointless to duplicate, but all guitar players can benefit from the principals if they can adapt the techniques.
This lesson tries to do that in a somewhat structured manner. We look at standard chord shapes as well as James’ unorthodox fingerings, and work on strumming through the progressions before tackling some specific details that define James’ sound.
Lesson 5: Sunny Skies - Guitar Lesson
Sunny Skies is one of James Taylor’s least complex songs, on one hand. On the other, it is one of his most complex. It is from his 1970 album Sweet Baby James and basically uses only two chords (the least complex part) but very unusual picking (the most complex part. This lesson goes into great detail on counting and feeling the rhythm for this bouncy tune. There are also some thoughts on singing it, which bumps up the difficulty level a notch or two.
Lesson 6: Millworker - James Taylor - Guitar Lesson
James Taylor wrote Millworker for the Broadway musical Working. It was unusual from a couple angles, it was written from a 19th century woman’s perspective, and it came to him very quickly once the story unfolded.
He recorded it on his 1979 album Flag and it uses some of his normal fingerpicking techniques but something he rarely uses as well, chord changes over a constant bass note.
It is done in Dropped D tuning and includes some light strumming along with alternate bass picking and playing the same bass note on the last beats of a measure without hitting it again on the first beat, which is where the chord is played.
The chord shapes are relatively easy but the right hand may be a bit challenging to get it to sound smooth.