One of the most interesting bands to come out of the 1960s was Ian Anderson's revolving group of English musicians known as Jethro Tull. The band started in a blues direction but then headed into an unknown world that could be considered Progressive Folk. Anderson's virtuoso flute and acoustic guitar skills combined beautifully with Martin Barre's electric guitar stylings and cut a very distinctive path. This set of lessons focuses mostly on some of the acoustic masterpieces with a few rockers thrown in for good measure.
Lesson 1: We Used To Know
*We Used To Know*was released on the second Jethro Tull album, Stand Up, as they were starting to head out of their blues roots and into a more progressive direction. It features an interesting chord progression as it uses many chords available only in the melodic minor scale. This guitar lesson explains the relationships between the chords, strumming in 6/8 time, and a way to add a second guitar part using partial chords up the neck. Any similarity to Hotel California (written many years later) is purely coincidental.
Lesson 2: Aqualung
Aqualung was one of the first songs (and albums) to really bring attention to Jethro Tull and its fearless leader, Ian Anderson. This short lesson goes over the main riff and set of following power chords, as well as the acoustic guitar accompaniment to the middle section of the song.
Lesson 3: Hymn 43
*Hymn 43*was written by Ian Anderson and released on the classic Jethro Tull album Aqualung in 1971. The album consist of quite a range of sounds and styles and this song is based on a simple riff, a few easy chord changes, and a couple of nice little guitar fills. Most of the songs Ian Anderson writes, and especially his acoustic guitar songs, are very challenging. Hymn 43 is more of an electric guitar song and this video guitar lesson is presented in four parts, which include a close look at the chords and left hand techniques, a section-by-section breakdown, and a play along segment with a metronome.
Lesson 4: Up To Me
Aqualung featured quite a few riff-based tunes and *Up To Me*, like Hymn 43, is another one with easy chord changes, a killer riff, and a pastoral bridge thrown in for a little variety. This lesson looks at some of the common additions Ian Anderson adds to his rhythm guitar parts as well a separate look at how he now performs it live, in a different key than the original.
Lesson 5: Wond'ring Aloud
*Wond’ring Aloud*is a beautiful ballad/folk song tucked into the middle of Aqualung, by Jethro Tull. It is a perfect showcase for the exquisite guitar style of Ian Anderson. This gentle song is in 3/4 time and features some measures of simple strumming, a few connecting runs of bass notes, great use of hammer-ons and pull-offs, and a few very complex syncopations that make it very challenging. A simple chord chart is included for a version that is very playable by beginning guitar students, as well as detailed tab that is very accurate to the actual version taught in the lesson.
Lesson 6: Mother Goose
One of the most intricate acoustic guitar songs from Jethro Tull’s Aqualung is *Mother Goose.*This is Ian Anderson at his intricate and whimsical best. The song is played with a capo at the fifth fret, helping to create one of his signature sounds, and uses some easy, if occasionally unusual chords. The main challenges in the song are the rapid and precise alternate picking technique, and the great use of off-beat syncopation.
Lesson 7: Living In The Past
*Living In The Past*was released as a single in the U.K. in 1969 but became Jethro Tull’s first Top 40 hit in the U.S. when it was released there in 1972. It is one of a very small number of songs written in 5/4 time and the lesson goes over strumming in this time very extensively. It also uses barre chords exclusively, high on the neck, changing quickly. It can be played using 4-string version of the common barre chords and this approach is covered as well.
Lesson 8: Thick As A Brick
*Thick As A Brick*by Ian Anderson and his alter ego, Jethro Tull. It features very intricate and rapid flatpicking with complex syncopation, all of which must continue when the singing enters, and that is all just in the first 30 seconds. The rest of Part 1 of this 45-minute masterpiece is a lot of fun to play and will present quite a challenge for even very accomplished guitar players, although much of the song is simple strumming. Although this will have to be considered an advanced guitar lesson, it can be very accessible to intermediate guitar students if they work on each part very slowly. The lesson includes a complete Play Through and detailed instruction on each of the parts, a 60-minute lesson on a 3-minute song.
Lesson 9: Skating Away (On The Thin Ice Of A New Day)
By now everybody should be aware of the incredible talents of Ian Anderson, on many levels. *Skating Away (On The Thin Ice Of A New Day) *would have to be considered one of his acoustic guitar classics. The song was released in 1974 on the Jethro Tull album War Child and is one of Ian’s most complex and heavily syncopated masterpieces. This detailed lesson goes over the guitar and vocal parts, as well as how to combine them into a great solo presentation.
Lesson 10: Locomotive Breath
Locomotive Breath, from Aqualung by Jethro Tull, is a great song to learn to strum using the constant right hand motion technique. You really just need to hit an accented chord on the 1st beat of the measure and then keep a steady flow of eighth notes played percussively (muting the strings). It also gives you a chance to practice barre chords from the A Major shape, one of the most difficult for many people.