This set of guitar pieces brings together some of our most challenging lessons to date. There are classics from many genres and masters including, Mason Williams, Steve Howe, Jorma Kaukonen, Leo Kottke, Steve Hackett, John Renbourn, Doc Watson, Duane Allman, jazz pianist Vince Guaraldi, and a fingerpicker's favorite from Chet Atkins. These songs could easily be considered the pinnacle of the style and most advanced players would be happy mastering even one. Get ready to set some lifetime goals with this set of masterpieces.
Lesson 1: American Woman Free Guitar Lesson
The free lesson on American Woman is done in standard tuning but arranges the parts in a manner more approachable by beginning guitar players.
Lesson 2: These Eyes
These Eyes was the first hit for The Guess Who, a band who had been kicking around Winnipeg for a while but finally broke through when Burton Cummings joined Randy Bachman in the group. The song is from their 1968 album Wheatfield Soul and was mostly done on keyboards. This lesson transcribes the keyboard part into a guitar part that uses the palm muting technique. There are a few key changes and unusual chord inversions as well, typical of Randy Bachman’s guitar style of the time.
Lesson 3: Laughing
Laughing is another hit from the songwriting team of Randy Bachman and Burton Cummings, and was on The Guess Who’s 1969 album Canned Wheat. It opens with almost minimalist guitar chords and a chromatically moving voice through the changes, before landing into a driving rock chorus. Otherwise, there are a few barre chords and a short guitar fill to round it out.
Lesson 4: No Sugar Tonight
No Sugar Tonight/New Mother Nature is an unusual medley of songs from the American Woman album by The Guess Who. Unusual in that the songs are not just connected, at the end they are superimposed over one another. Each song is based around a riff on a D chord (capoed to the fourth fret) where the verse is 8 measures before heading into a short chorus. There is also an unrelated Pre-Intro with a bit of a classical feel. The lesson goes into depth on strumming sixteenth notes and focused strumming, hitting small combinations of strings.
Lesson 5: No Time
No Time is a song The Guess Who recorded and released twice, with the second one becoming a hit from their 1970 album American Woman. It opens with a great, distorted guitar lick that translates pretty well to the acoustic guitar. The rest of the song is mostly strumming rhythm guitar but the lesson covers a few of the lead fills as well.
Lesson 6: Undun
Undun, by the Guess Who, is a song that Neil considers one of the best ever written. It has multiple elements that contribute to this- a shocking opening chord that grabs your attention immediately, a syncopated opening vocal line that seems slightly out of sync, a creative and unusual chord progression with a memorable melody and catchy lyrics, a spectacular vocal performance by Burton Cummings, Randy Bachman's percussive guitar accompaniment with some clever fills, and the icing on the cake- a jazzy flute solo. When Neil started working on this lesson he wasn't confident enough with his vocal abilities to feel comfortable singing the Play Through segment so he recruited his friend Jim Ford to drop in and run through it with him. As a bonus sideline to this lesson we are including a couple of 'Behind the Scenes' videos- an alternate Play Through segment where Jim sings, as well as their entire session with a few run throughs of the song and some general music discussions. They ended up playing Undun 3 times, and not surprisingly, the first take was the best. We hope you enjoy the informal clip.