Elvis Presley revolutionized American Rock 'n' Roll when he burst on the scene in the late 1950s. He brought the sounds created by the likes of Carl Perkins and Chuck Berry to a worldwide audience. Our instructor Vanessa Bot has been a fan her whole life and is thrilled to bring you lessons on this set of songs made famous by the King. This pack of five lessons actually includes 7 songs as Vanessa combined a couple related songs into a couple of the five lessons. Included are Are You Lonesome Tonight, Can't Help Falling In Love, Don't Be Cruel/Treat Me Nice, Love Me Tender, and the combo of That's Alright/Blue Suede Shoes.
Lesson 1: Are You Lonesome Tonight? - Elvis Presley - Guitar Lesson
Are You Lonesome Tonight?, written by Roy Turk and Lou Handman in 1926, was another huge hit for Elvis Presley in 1960, after his two-year service in the US Army.
It’s a beautiful ballad in ¾ and features an arrangement in the key of C, which makes it very doable for most guitar players.
We take a close look at the chords, the strumming with swing feel, and the progression, including the little intro bass lines and (vocal)harmony line in the outro.
Lesson 2: Don’t Be Cruel & Treat Me Nice - Elvis Presley - Guitar Lesson
Don’t Be Cruel is a song recorded by Elvis Presley and written by Otis Blackwell. It became Elvis’ biggest selling single in 1956.
The arrangement is done with only four chords in the key of D and this lesson shows how to play it in both standard and dropped D-Tuning.
Dropped D-Tuning is by far preferable, and I certainly encourage you to tackle it, since it allows you to play the signature intro riff and descending bassline in the outro. It should be very doable for even beginning guitar players.
Since it’s a very similar song, we also take a look at Treat Me Nice, which is from the soundtrack of Elvis’ 3rd movie ‘Jailhouse Rock’ (1957).
It was written by the well known songwriting duo Leiber & Stoller, who wrote several songs for him and numerous other artists.
The main difference is that the arrangement uses E7 instead of Em.
Both songs should be done with a swing feel and it’s nice to alternate bass notes. A few other details are mentioned that show how you can dress it up a bit.
Lesson 3: Can't Help Falling In Love - Elvis Presley - Guitar Lesson
American singer and entertainer Elvis Presley doesn’t need an introduction at all. He finally, and rightfully, makes his way into the Target Program.
Can’t Help Falling In Love is a love ballad and appears on the soundtrack of his 1961 movie ‘Blue Hawaii’. It has been covered by numerous artists ever since.
This lesson shows a fingerpicking arrangement in the key of C, somewhat copying the piano. It features almost all the chords in the key, including different inversions and a few chords out of the key. The finger picking pattern is very common, basic and relatively easy.
After Elvis’ comeback in 1968, he would almost always finish his live concerts with this song. It was arranged to serve as a grand finale and appears to be much faster and highly energetic. It includes a keychange at the end of the bridge which carries over into the final verse and outro. It’s this part that we take a look at as well. A segment of how to play it in the key of G is also included.
Lesson 4: Love Me Tender by Elvis Presley - Guitar Lesson
Love Me Tender is another No. 1 hit song recorded by Elvis Presley in 1956, and became the title of his first movie!
This lesson will look at the original recording as well as the version that Presley performed in his later years. The arrangement is done in the key of D, although it does feature several chords out of this key. The alternating bass notes in the song give you the opportunity to play it using finger style techniques or with a pick, whichever you need most practice with.
There is a segment included on how to play the song in G if that accommodates your vocal range better.
Lesson 5: That's Alright, Blue Suede Shoes - Elvis Presley - Guitar Lesson
This lesson takes a look at two very well known singles by Elvis Presley, from his pre-military service years.
We start off with That’s All Right, written by blues singer Arthur Crudup, which was Elvis’ first single, released in 1954 by Sun Records.
We then continue with Blue Suede Shoes, a rock-and- roll standard written and first recorded by Carl Perkins in 1955. It appears on Elvis’ 1956 debut album ‘Elvis Presley’ and was his first for RCA Records.
Both songs are done with only three chords, the I, IV and V, in the key of A. They feature uptempo strumming with swing feel and, if preferred, alternating bass notes. We also take a look at how to spice it up a bit.