Donovan burst onto the English folk scene in the early 1960s but by mid-decade he branched out into the developing genre coming to be known as psychedelic rock. His gentle, acoustic playing combined with some exotic instruments and experimental sounds and lyrics led to the creation of some of the generation's best songs. This set of lessons covers a wide range of great tunes and techniques. Quite a few of these lessons are presented in our "Work It Out" format to improve ear-training.
Lesson 1: Catch The Wind - Guitar Lesson
Catch The Wind is one of the earliest songs released by Scottish songwriter Donovan. It is a pretty basic folk song, strummed in 3/4 time, but the addition of picking out some individual bass notes makes it a bit more challenging. This lesson includes a very detailed look at the introduction, covers the chord progressions through the verse and bridge, and offers a few thoughts on creating a little instrumental section.
Lesson 2: Colours - Guitar Lesson
Colours is one of Donovan's earliest songs and a great example of how a simple chord progression, a campfire accompaniment, and folksy lyrics can be combined into a memorable, sing along tune, especially with the addition of playing it in an open tuning. This lesson is done in Open D, although the chord progression is covered in multiple keys.
Lesson 3: Hurdy Gurdy Man - Guitar Lesson
Hurdy Gurdy Man is one of Donovan's early songs that is typical of his folksy style, using basic chord progressions. This one has a few unusual twists, and as such we used our 'Work It Out' approach to the lesson. Neil talks you through what to listen to in order to figure out the chords yourself. The best way to get the most out of this lesson is NOT look at the attachment until you've gone all the way through the videos.
Lesson 4: Mellow Yellow - Guitar Lesson
Mellow Yellow is a classic example of Donovan’s simple folk playing, particularly as he entered the psychedelic age of the mid-sixties. The song only uses a few chords so it is presented it in our ‘Work It Out’ format. This will give you a chance to work on your ear training as far as the chord progression goes, and also on constructing a basic Chord Solo. We suggest not looking at the attachments until you have gone through the lesson.
Lesson 5: Season Of The Witch
The psychedelic sound was not confined to the West Coast of California. Across the Atlantic, Donovan Leitch, who had already released two folk albums, became one of the first London musicians to adopt the sound and join the Flower Power brigade. His first recording with an electric guitar was *Season Of The Witch*, and although the ripples were not as big as the reaction to Dylan going electric, the times certainly were changing. This is really just a two-chord jam with almost improvised lyrics and the lesson talks about creating strumming patterns, transposing a chord progression to other keys, thoughts on lead playing using the Pentatonic Minor scale, and even includes a Jam Along segment.
Lesson 6: Sunshine Superman - Guitar Lesson
Sunshine Superman is one of the songs that took Donovan out of the folk world and helped create the developing sound of psychedelic rock. The use of exotic instruments like the sitar, combined with distorted lead guitar, courtesy of a young Jimmy Page, and the addition of abstract and trippy lyrics took the world by storm in 1966. Even The Beatles headed down the colorful path. This lesson starts with a blind play through for our ear-training students, and continues with muting techniques, and adding fills and solos to the simple chord progression.
Lesson 7: Laleña
In 1968 Donovan had just finished recording his Hurdy Gurdy Man album when he was inspired by a performance in the 1931 movie The Threepenny Opera to write a song based on the character played by Lottie Lenya. Laleña went on to break into the Top 40 in the fall and a song he played live for the next few years. The song is a simple 8-measure progression with three verses and a haunting melody sung in two different ranges.
This lesson goes over the progression and a few different ways of fingerpicking the accompaniment. The fingerpicking style can be done using an alternate bass style or arpeggios. It also includes a solo based on the instrumental break done on flute and strings.