The Decemberists are an American indie folk rock band from Portland, Oregon, fronted by singer/songwriter Colin Meloy. Their lyrics often focus on historical incidents and folklore, and have a a range of songs that go from upbeat pop to instrumentally lush ballads.
Lesson 1: Annan Water - Decemberists - Guitar Lesson
Annan Water is another fascinating song by The Decemberists, taken from their concept album, The Hazards Of Love, which tells the dramatic and romantic story about William and Margaret. This is a fairly short lesson, since the guitar part is quite straight all the way through. It should be played with a consistent, steady, uptempo strumming pattern, and needs some individual bass notes picked out.
Lesson 2: Calamity Song - Decemberists - Guitar Lesson
Calamity Song is the second track of ‘The King Is Dead’ album by the Decemberists, featuring the R.E.M guitarist Peter Buck.
It is another great song for beginning but also intermediate guitar players and contains a very fun to play signature riff, an easy chord progression, four open chords in the key of D, along with a simple 4/4 strumming pattern.
In the lesson we take a look at a few patterns, how to finger some chords efficiently and the progression. More than anything I talk you through the challenging, main driving uptempo signature riff which needs to be played with consistency and focussed strumming. There is a segment in which I talk about how Colin Meloy dresses up his playing a bit with sus2 chords. I also explain how to play a sixteenth-note bounce which he uses a lot throughout the song.
Lesson 3: June Hymn - The Decemberists - Guitar Lesson
The Decemberists are an indie folk rock band from Portland, Oregon, United States, fronted by singer/songwriter Colin Meloy. June Hymn, featuring Gillian Welch and David Rawlings on backing vocals, is the eighth track of their album, The King Is Dead, which was released in 2011. It features an easy chord progression in the key of G and in this lesson we take a look at how to connect chords to each other with ascending and descending bass lines, which happen in lots of songs. Also the hammer-ons, which can be used in many songs, add a very nice touch to it. Colin Meloy plays this song slower when performing it by himself, but the strumming pattern can be a bit challenging since it’s quite fast on the original. It needs to be played randomly, although a few options are presented.
Lesson 4: Make You Better - The Decemberists - Guitar Lesson
On January 15th 2015, the Decemberists, an American indie folk band from Portland, Oregon, released their new album ‘What A Terrible World, What A Beautiful World.' Make You Better is the 4th track and first single to be released.
The lesson takes a look at the album version and also on how Colin Meloy, the front man of the band, plays it by himself.
It’s in the key of D, using the I, IV, V and VI, with two different shapes for each chord. The lesson covers the progression and takes a close look at the speed of the strumming hand, since Colin tends to change from the speed of 16th’s to 8th’s back and forth throughout the song, sometimes even within a measure.
Another important aspect is the syncopated chord changes which mainly happen mainly in the intro, outro, interlude and verses, but also in the other sections of the song.
Lesson 5: The Hazards Of Love 4 - Decemberists - Guitar Lesson
The Hazards Of Love 4, also called The Drowned, is the final heartbreaking track of the Decemberists’ concept album of the same name. It tells the dramatic and romantic story of William and Margaret.
Like several other Decemberists‘ songs, it features a simple chord progression in the key of G, using open chords only. There are also a few little embellishments, picking out the bass notes and passing bass notes, all played with a simple strumming pattern. Since it’s a heartbreaking and tragic song, the challenge lies in playing it as such. The lesson includes is a segment in which we take a look how you can do that.
Lesson 6: Down By The Water - The Decemberists - Guitar Lesson
The Decemberists are an indie folk rock band from Portland, Oregon, United States, fronted by singer/songwriter Colin Meloy.
Down By The Water, featuring Gillian Welch on backing vocals, is the fourth track of their album, The King Is Dead, which was released in 2011. It’s a great song for beginning guitar players because it consists of just a few chords and a simple strumming pattern. The lesson is set up in a ‘work it out’ format, so make sure not to look at the chart or even watch videos of Colin Meloy playing it, if you want to work on your ear training skills. There is also a segment about how to dress up the playing a bit.
Lesson 7: On The Bus Mall
On The Bus Mall, by The Decemberists, is taken from their 3rd studio album 'Picaresque' (2005 ). It's another one of those songs, which showcases frontman Colin Meloy’s incredible storytelling.
Behind this moving story is an arrangement in the key of G. This should be doable for most guitar players.
We take a look at all the usual suspects, the chords, the strumming, and of course the progression, with all its little details.
Lesson 8: Rox In The Box by The Decemberists - Guitar Lesson
Rox In The Box is another great track by American indie rock band The Decemberists and comes from their sixth studio album ‘The King Is Dead’.
This lesson details how front man Colin Meloy performs it by himself. It covers the progression in the key of Am (capo II) and the strumming, both of which are relatively easy.
Finally, we'll break down the main signature riff in the intro which features a few hammer-on’s and pull-off’s, along with a bit of focused strumming.