Bill Withers - Use Me
Blue Oyster Cult - Burnin’ For You
The Boomtown Rats - I Don't Like Mondays
Boston - More Than A Feeling
Free - All Right Now
Lou Reed - Sweet Jane
Lou Reed - Walk On The Wild Side
Lynyrd Skynyrd - Simple Man
Lynyrd Skynyrd - Sweet Home Alabama
Marshall Tucker Band - Can’t You See
Raspberries - Go All The Way
Rod Stewart - Maggie May
Stealer’s Wheel - Stuck In The Middle With You
Ten Years After - I'd Love To Change The World
Van Morrison - Into The Mystic
Lesson 1: Simple Man Guitar Lesson - Lynyrd Skynyrd
Today we take a look at an electric classic, Simple Man by Lynyrd Skynyrd, courtesy of our Skynyrd expert, Stef Beddeson. This was one of a handful of hits from their debut album in 1973. The lesson goes over the arpeggiated accompaniment to the basic 3 chord progression, as well as the backing riff and strumming to the chorus.
Lesson 2: Use Me - Electric Guitar Lesson
This is one song that all guitar players should know (it’s only one riff!). This iconic song by Bill Withers, from his album Still Bill, gets its pulse and drive from that famous guitar riff that is present throughout the tune. Coupled with a simple chord change and rhythmically sophisticated hits, this is one tune that is easy to learn and even more fun to play!
Lesson 3: I Don't Like Mondays - Boomtown Rats - Guitar Lesson
I Don’t Like Mondays, is a song by Irish band The Boomtown Rats about the 1979 Cleveland Elementary School shooting in San Diego/California. It was written by their lead singer and Band Aid co-founder Bob Geldof.
The title is based on the explanation that 16-year-old shooter Brenda Ann Spencer gave when being asked why she had done it. She responded: ‘I don’t like Mondays. This livens up the day.’
The song is heavily piano driven and this lesson teaches how to play a similar sounding arrangement on the guitar.
It’s done in standard tuning, but in order to match the original recording one would need to tune down all six strings a half step.
We take a look at the progression in the key of C, the signature intro and several little melodic piano fills, which appear throughout the song. This creates quite a few challenges for both the fretting and strumming hand.
Lesson 4: More Than A Feeling - Guitar Lesson
More Than A Feeling is the first hit from Boston, released in 1976 on their debut album. It features a memorable guitar arpeggio opening then a driving chorus with syncopated strumming. This lesson goes over all the rhythm parts, as well as strumming it in single time and double time.
Lesson 5: All Right Now - Free - Guitar Lesson
All Right Now opens up with an iconic rock riff that can be played many different ways, most of which either miss an essential element or are unnecessarily difficult. This lesson shows the relatively simple way that Paul Kossoff played it on Free’s 1970 album Fire And Water.
This lesson somewhat revives our earlier series of Intros, Riffs & Licks and just goes over the guitar riffs as played in the verse and chorus. There is some double-time strumming involved but it can be optional.
Lesson 6: Sweet Jane - Guitar Lesson
Sweet Jane is a song long associated with Lou Reed, originally appearing on The Velvet Underground’s 1970 album Loaded. This lesson takes the ‘Work It Out’ approach and encourages you to listen to the first segment and figure out the chords. The next segments go over the chords and strumming, ending with a short look at other versions including Lou’s from Rock ‘N’ Roll Animal and another by The Cowboy Junkies.
Lesson 7: Walk On The Wild Side - Guitar Lesson
Walk On The Wild Side has become one of Lou Reed’s signature songs ever since it was released on his second solo album, Transformer in 1972. It is typical of Lou’s style using just a few chords and a fairly repetitive strumming pattern. This lesson covers the way it originally appeared as well as looking at alternate ways Lou played it many years later.
Lesson 8: Burnin’ For You - Blue Oyster Cult - Guitar Lesson
This is probably not a song that jumps out as an acoustic guitar piece but it is really fun to play. It is from Blue Oyster Cult’s 1981 album Fire Of Unknown Origin and the lesson covers the rhythm guitar parts as well as the opening leads played in the intro. There is also a bit on playing both parts of the main double lead riff together. Otherwise it is power chords and barre chords with some muted, percussive strumming.
Lesson 9: Sweet Home Alabama - Electric Guitar Lesson
Sweet Home Alabama is one of the most famous guitar songs of all time, released on Lynyrd Skynyrd's second album "Second Helping" in 1974. This song stands out because it has a really unique style of country playing where you typically separate the bass notes from the rest of the chords. This song plays the root note on the downbeat, and then follows up with an arpeggio instead of a single chord, giving it a more driving and unique rhythm. In order to play this song effectively, you really have to be able to break the chords down and play just two or three notes within the chord changes, which is a common technique for southern rock guitar. This song has a lot of iconic licks that are pretty simple to play but will take a bit of practice and attention to the shifting of positions, which you'll need to do seamlessly in order to play this song right.
Lesson 10: Can’t You See - Guitar Lesson
Can't You See is from the first album by the Marshall Tucker Band, released in 1973. It has been high on our Recommend A Lesson list for quite sometime. It is mostly a simple, 3-chord progression but the interesting part is the distinctive picking done at the beginning, which is the main focus of the lesson. We also look at strumming the chords, and a bit on a lead pattern to improvise with.
Lesson 11: Go All The Way - Guitar Lesson
In 1972 The Raspberries jumped into the pop/rock scene with their first album, which included Go All The Way, written by Eric Carmen.
The song fused many compositional elements, including distorted electric guitar riffs, well developed chord progressions, catchy melodies with vocal hooks, blues shuffle patterns, some caveman power chords, and even a quasi-classical minor arpeggio pattern.
This lesson covers all of those, as well as presenting a couple challenges where the student will need to do some homework.
Lesson 12: Maggie May - Guitar Lesson
Maggie May was the song that really launched Rod Stewart’s solo career and was released in 1971 on his third album, Every Picture Tells A Story. The original recording featured many acoustic instruments and the lesson presents a great way to recreate much of the sounds by using Dropped D Tuning. It also covers the short instrumental intro, Henry, written by one of Rod’s guitarists Martin Quittenton.
Lesson 13: Stuck In The Middle With You - Stealer's Wheel - Guitar Lesson
This catchy song from 1972 is pretty easy and very fun to play along with. Stealer’s Wheel was basically the duo of Gerry Rafferty and Joe Egan and they pretty much fall into the “one hit wonder” category.
There were 2 rhythm guitar parts, played using different chord shapes and both are covered in the lesson.
The lesson includes with a “work it out” segment so watch the videos before looking at the chart.
Lesson 14: I'd Love To Change The World Guitar Lesson - Ten Years After
An obscure English blues rock band, the Jaybirds included members who, in 1966 renamed themselves Ten Years After, in honor of front man, Alvin Lee’s idol, Elvis Presley, who had his breakout year in 1956. After a few albums and moderate success in England they came to America to perform at the Newport Jazz Festival and Woodstock in 1969. Lee’s rendition of I’m Going Home in the movie launched them to stardom. The song opens with an arpeggio pattern followed by a chromatic bass run leading to the next chord, then a similar move on the next pair of chords, before landing on the dominant chord. The chord progression then picks up in intensity with a heavily accented series of the same chords.
Lesson 15: Into The Mystic - Van Morrison - Guitar Lesson
In 1970 Van Morrison released his one of his landmark albums, Moondance. The album also contained the relaxing, Into The Mystic.
The song only uses a few chords in the key of C, capoed at the third fret to really give us Eb, and includes some nice fills and horn parts as well.
This lesson covers how to incorporate some of those into the strumming, as well as muting techniques with both hands.