How to play guitar like…
20th Apr 2011 | 09:50
How to play guitar like…: intro
In this series of free video and audio lessons, MusicRadar shows you how to play guitar in the style of the greats!
From Eric Clapton to Jack White, John Frusciante to Davy Graham, it's the perfect introduction to playing the guitar in the style of your favourites. Simply scroll through on the artist names in this viewer to access each lesson!
"If you want to play guitar to service a song, there's no one better to study than George Harrison," says guitarist and singer Joe Bithorn, who pays his respects to the late Beatle nightly as part of Rain, the much-heralded Beatles tribute band that has been packing 'em in on Broadway since last fall.
Gary Moore, born in Belfast in 1952, first picked up an acoustic at age eight. Like many other aspiring players at the time, Moore was influenced by the rock 'n' roll greats such as Elvis Presley and later on The Beatles. But when John Mayall's Bluesbreakers played in his home town, there was no going back...
Jeff Buckley (acoustic)
California-born singer-songwriter Jeff Buckley was one of the most exciting talents to emerge in the nineties, with his plaintive vocals and bold but beautiful guitar playing. However, his life was tragically cut short, when he drowned, mysteriously in 1997.
From the angst-ridden strumming on the anthemic Grace, to the intricate fretwork on tender numbers, he was a deeply charismatic guitarist. Although most commonly pictured with a blonde Telecaster, he also played a Yamaha FG-470S for the acoustic moments, which we have tried to capture in this dropped-D tuned example. Notice the block chord shapes moving up and down the neck, and ringing open strings to add weight.
Eric Clapton (acoustic)
While not using a technically demanding style, Eric Clapton always manages to let you know it's him playing the acoustic guitar. And with such a limited palette in this style, that takes some doing. It's hard to say whether it's note choice, tone or what, but the 'one note from Eric' chestnut is certainly true.
Our examples here are inspired primarily by John's most recent work with RHCP. They showcase his clean, precise chord work interspersed with deliberately 'naïve' sounding melodies, contrasting with full-blown Hendrix style lead workouts.
Rory Gallagher was born and raised in the south of Ireland. Inspired by seeing Elvis on the TV, Rory got hold of his first acoustic guitar at nine years old.
From then on he taught himself to play from books and by listening to the records of Leadbelly, Woody Guthrie and Chuck Berry among others, and at the age of 13 he formed his own rock 'n' roll band.
Rory's solo career saw him tour the world many times and record numerous successful albums. The examples we've tabbed below are inspired by his mid 70s playing.
In this audio and tab lesson, we examine the DADGAD style of Davy Graham – the alternate tunings pioneer who is widely regarded as the father of this versatile tuning method.
The study here features some classic Graham touches, a descending bassline redolent of his composition Anji and the bluesy double-stops against a pulsing bassline.
Jimi Hendrix (blues)
Paul McCartney (acoustic)
Although Paul McCartney is better known for his melodic bass playing, his acoustic guitar talents should never be overlooked.
Some of his finest Beatles songs such as Yesterday and Blackbird are underpinned by a unique style that is dissected here by Guitar Techniques editor Neville Marten.
Jimmy Page (blues)
Jimmy Page was born in Hounslow in 1944, and his passion for the guitar began at 12 years old when he heard Baby, Let's Play House by Elvis Presley. Jimmy had a few lessons, but was largely self-taught, taking inspiration from the blues and rock 'n' roll playing of Hubert Sumlin, James Burton and Scotty Moore.
Guitarists tend to either love Carlos Santana's playing or loathe it. It's probably because his is such a stylised way of playing that it brims with personal traits that make you grin or have you wincing.
In this swinging A minor blues, we keep to fairly simple phrases that are typical of Carlos. It's all quite high up on the neck, so your ﬁngering will need to be clean. Also, if you use as much as you should to be authentic, take care with extraneous ﬁnger noise.
In the late 1970s when many other guitar players were trying to play faster and faster, The Edge cleverly realised that there was going to be a gap in the market for a style that moved in a totally different direction.
The White Stripes' guitarist Jack White deﬁnitely has an 'unschooled' approach to playing guitar, but to play like this is harder than some of you may think.
Jack and drummer Meg hail from Detroit, Michigan and their minimalist garage punk-meets-blues style references artists as disparate as Captain Beefheart, Cole Porter and Blind Willie McTell. Jack himself often makes mind-blowing solo excursions on his Airline guitar, using Whammy pedal antics and more recently an Electro-Harmonix POG octave generator, slide and an inordinate amount of fuzz.
Like Jimi Hendrix, while White's compositions are mostly pop or rock-inspired, when it comes to his solos they're straight out of the blues - albeit imbued with Jack's unique phrasing, note choice and tone.
Mark Knopfler, an early influence on Children Of Bodom frontman Alexi Laiho, is renowned for his unconventional picking style, favouring a fingerpicked approach for his solos and rhythm.
Alex Lifeson from Rush
Alex Lifeson's playing has always been understated yet highly technical and it isn't until you start to analyse what's going on in Rush's music that you realise how complex a lot of it really is.
The Allman Brothers Band
Like Free, AC/DC, Lynyrd Skynyrd and a multitude of others, The Allman Brothers Band suffered the loss of at least one vital member. In the case of The Allmans it was the loss of lead guitarist Duane Allman who was killed in a motorcycle accident in 1971, and original bassist Berry Oakley in 1972, also killed in a motorcycle crash just a few blocks from the site of Allman's death.
In this video lesson, we show you how to master Nickelback's rock guitar style. The 'in-the-style-of' track we've written here is straightforward to play but harmonically complicated.
Audio and tab lesson: How to play guitar like Nickelback
Aimee Mann's guitar playing is full of solid, well placed chords - nothing flash but always the right part to sit against her lyrics and vocals, which take centre stage.
Although not technically difficult, this style of playing has more subtle challenges - can you keep tempo when you are unaccompanied? What about if you try to sing along? And how about the awareness of dynamics, the ebb and flow of a performance that can bring life to a seemingly simple, repetitive part? Playing like this is an art in itself.
How to play blues guitar like…
In this series of free video and audio lessons, MusicRadar shows you how to play blues guitar in the style of the greats!
From BB King to Eric Clapton, SRV to Jimi Hendrix, it's the perfect introduction to playing the blues.