Kirk's Weekly Guitar Lesson: Classic songs

Hi again, hope you're well ... and dry if you're from the Gulf area.

This week is a look at another classic song, and in this case classicAL, since the pop song was derived from a piece written centuries ago. I'm talking about 'A Whiter Shade of Pale'. What a great tune! I still get goose bumps when I hear it: that voice, the organ, the changes! The mysterious lyrics! I don't think I could ever get sick of listening to it. It's almost an etude, the way I've done it. It's just a snippet of the original, played finger style (as usual), but it's another great example of the related chords of the key all coming into play to create a wonderful progression.

Go to Guitar for Beginners and Beyond and follow the Weekly Lesson links, and wrap your fingers around it. It's not particularly difficult ... but then again, no piece of cake either.

PlaneTalk is an ongoing thing ... It's been out about ten years now, helping thousands of players decipher the fretboard. As I often say, it was either a madman or genius who came up with standard tuning for guitar. Madman, because of that little kink at the B string where you tune to the 4th fret instead of the 5th. How cruel! In that one detail, any regular pattern is ruined. Genius, because it's one of the few instruments that has multiple positions for the same notes, therefore chords, therefore melody lines. Any chunk of guitar music can be attacked form several different angles because of this, and that's what makes it such a rich environment. The PlaneTalk way of thinking, in one fell swoop, solves all problems brought about by the strange anomalies of standard tuning. Here's what Henry from Croatia wrote me yesterday:

Hi Kirk, ... it arrived yesterday!! I've already read it with understanding and I am thrilled and excited about my new view of the fretboard. Your technique is very unique and easy to understand. I couldn't have asked for something better! Thanks for sharing your knowledge with thirsty guitar players!

You're more than welcome, Henry. The PlaneTalkers' private forum is powering along with over 800 members now, many of them recording improvisations to backing tracks and comparing notes on how neat the simple visualization technique is and how it allows them to create strong, meaningful melody no matter what the chords changes are. You can join once you order the material. Check it all out at the PlaneTalk Site.

I'm getting down to the final stages of the How to play Slide Guitar in Standard and Dropped D Tunings DVD, which I've been slaving away at for months now. You'll see why when you get it. I leave nothing to the imagination. I'll let you know here when it's ready to ship. Meanwhile, drop into Bottleneck Guitar dot Com ... we need some more members at the forum there!

That's all from me this week, see you next.


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