Bob Dylan is one of the greatest and most prolific songwriters of the last 100 years. His songs feature some raw guitar progressions and accompaniments that are really more complicated and compelling than they first appear. This 10-Pack of lessons is mostly songs from the first 20 years of his career, along with a special bonus eleventh song from his Traveling Wilburys days.
Lesson 1: Mr. Tambourine Man - Guitar Lesson
Mr. Tambourine Man is one of Bob Dylan’s quintessential songs, most recognized, popular, and just one of maybe hundreds of his that have helped shape American music and culture. It originally appeared on his 1965 album Bringing It All Back Home and subsequently covered by uncountable artists, most notably the Byrds. It is really just a three chord Campfire Song and this short lesson provides a very simple start into the world of playing in Dropped D Tuning.
Lesson 2: My Back Pages - Guitar Lesson
My Back Pages is one of Bob Dylan’s early songs that was definitely popularized by The Byrds reworking of it in 1967 on their album Younger Than Yesterday (a paraphrased line in the song). This lesson looks at Bob’s somewhat random chord progression and strumming pattern, as well as the refined and rockier version that McGuinn, Crosby, and Chris Hillman put together.
Lesson 3: Forever Young - Guitar Lesson
Forever Young is from Bob Dylan’s 1974 album Planet Waves, recorded with The Band. The album featured two versions of the song, one in a quiet ballad style, the second with a funkier sound, more like The Band would have done it. This lesson looks at both of those arrangements, as well as the way Bob played it later in concert. All three are in different keys and use different rhythm patterns.
Lesson 4: Ballad Of A Thin Man - Guitar Lesson
Ballad Of A Thin Man is one of Bob Dylan’s rambling commentaries on people asking too many questions, presumably to him. The original is more piano-based but the chords and riffs translate nicely to acoustic guitar. It is in 12/8 time and much of the lesson goes into accompaniment techniques and variations.
Lesson 5: Tangled Up In Blue Guitar Lesson - Bob Dylan
Tangled Up In Blue is one of Bob Dylan's most popular songs from his early 1970s period, released on Blood On The Tracks in 1974. This Campfire lesson goes over the way it was done on that album in the key of A as well as a little info on other versions Dylan released on the Bootleg Series in other keys.
Lesson 6: Hurricane - Guitar Lesson
Hurricane is from Bob Dylan’s 1975 album Desire and is a throwback to his narrative, ballad songs of the 60s. Like many of those, this song featured a one-section chord progression that continued through numerous verses. A couple of important techniques are emphasized; muting the strings with the left hand on certain beats of the measure to add a noticeable percussive effect, and adding a sixteenth note rolling strum at the end of measures as the chords transition.
Lesson 7: Tweeter And The Monkeyman (Bob Dylan)
Tweeter And The Monkeyman is a Bob Dylan song from the first album by The Traveling Wilburys. It is typical of his rambling ballad approach to songwriting and features a basic chord progression and strumming pattern as a background for a fascinating story. This lesson is done as an ear-training exercise and goes so far as to not include any attachments, just demonstrations and descriptions. It also includes a bit about using triad shapes to create a second guitar part.
Lesson 8: Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right - Guitar Lesson
Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right is a song from Bob Dylan’s second album, The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan, his first to feature his own compositions. The song is famous for it’s rapid fingerpicking, which probably was not done by Bob. This lesson treats it a bit generically and focuses on the important embellishments that are incorporated into fairly basic patterns.
Lesson 9: The Times They Are A-Changin’ - Guitar Lesson
The Times They Are A-Changin’ is an early Bob Dylan song that is great for beginning students. It is from his 1964 album of the same name and uses five basic chords and a simple 3/4 strumming pattern. Like almost all Dylan songs, there are a few variations and random chord substitutions addressed in the lesson as well.
Lesson 10: Percy’s Song Dylan - Guitar Lesson
Percy’s Song is from Bob Dylan’s early days, recorded in 1963 for The Times They Are A-Changin’ album but not released until 1985 on Biograph. His fingerpicking arrangement is quite different from other versions released earlier by artists like Arlo Guthrie and Fairport Convention. This lesson looks at Dylan’s original, as well as how it works in multiple keys.
Lesson 11: A Hard Rain's A Gonna Fall - Guitar Lesson
A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall is one of Bob Dylan's earliest examples of some of his interesting chord shapes and rambling lyrics. The song first appeared on his second album, The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan and is played in Dropped D Tuning with a capo at the second fret. This short lesson goes over strumming in 3/4 time and understanding some of Bob's musical phrasing techniques.