The Regal Four: A one-minute tribute to one of the greatest rock bands of all time.

One of Queen’s most unique compositions, “Love of my Life” encompasses all aspects of Freddie Mercury’s writing style. Mixed with Brian May’s angular guitar lines, which are perfectly weaved into Mercury’s complex musical twists of phrase, the magic of Queen becomes clear.

Thier music is not, and never has been, typical of the rock genre. It’s one thing to be progressive, but the music of Queen was a step ahead of that. It’s as though the two men, along with bassist, John Deacon and drummer/vocalist, Roger Taylor, challenged each other to reach for a higher musical consciousness. This divergent and inventive quartet ruled over the musical landscape of their time leading to the ultimate in musical creativity and longevity.

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I chose to feature this excerpt as it contains my favorite Queen-isms. Multi-layered harmonies, excruciatingly beautiful vocal and guitar tones, and an emotional depth of feeling still unmatched by anyone since. May’s ability to place his guitar lines in just the right place without overdoing them is quite remarkable. If that was all he was a master of, he would still go down of one of the greats of all time. But, lest we forget his most enduring legacy, his tone. Yes, that soaring and irresistible tone. I didn’t dare attempt to replicate it exactly as that would have been blasphemous, not to mention time consuming. I did the best I could to capture the aura of the man’s genius.

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The phrasing, the tonal colors, and the execution, are breathtaking. No shredding needed when you can create such melodic gems. Why waste excessive note wrangling when you can paint the world with sounds such as these?

Without question, the team of Freddie Mercury and Brian May rank right up there with the best of all time.

YouTube Cover Version

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Passenger – “Beautiful Birds”

Guitar and Life

Yes, I admit it. I once said I didn’t like the artist, Passenger because of his voice. How naive again. It seems that once, maybe twice a year, I am forced to deal with the repercussions of my foolish and wasteful ways of thinking.

It was another in the long line of mind-resets that has opened a panorama of music to me, giving me access to a new and vibrant world of sound. This arpeggio-based ode to a mysterious, and painful love is beautifully and elegantly constructed and opens up fully during the bridge that at once, both tears at your soul and invigorates the senses down to the very air that you breathe.

As the music passes you think, yes, be careful of your tendency to pre-suppose. Live with more thought. Be like the music and flow, change, even create, but don’t forget that one should never stray too far from home.

The perfectly assembled harmonic flow mixed with melodic simplicity awakened lyrical prose that is rarely seen anymore. Wonderfully quaint, but biting words mixed with descriptive color schemes, make the merging of these two powerful art forms remind us of our humanity, in the of its light and dark hues.

https://lyricstranslate.com/en/passenger-beautiful-birds-lyrics.html

Beautiful Birds

Do you remember when we were two beautiful birds?
We would light up the sky when we’d fly.
You were orange and red like the sun when it sets.
I was green as an apple’s eye.
You said you loved all the songs that I’d sing
Like nothing that you’d ever heard.
And I said I loved you with all of my heart,
When we were two beautiful birds.
Do you remember when we were two beautiful birds?
We’d sing when the morning would come.
You were silver and blue like the moon when it’s new,
I was gold as the summer sun.
One day, you asked for a different song.
One that I just couldn’t sing.
I got the melody sharp, and the words all wrong.
Those were the last days of spring.
To build a nest, we pecked feathers from our chests
Like a book tearing out every page.
We weren’t to know that these feathers would grow
Into a beautiful cage.
Indeed, the beauty of heartbreak. It breathes life into the world of art. As promises are rarely kept in this world of maddening human proceedured, we reap the benefits of loves demise.

 

“Beautiful Birds” Guitar Playthrough

-Mark

 

“I’ll Show You” – Dan Kanter’s methods.

There’s not a song that Dan Kanter can’t make a thousand times more interesting on the guitar. There’s not a hit he can’t decode and apply to the acoustic guitar in ways that make you shake your head. And finally, there’s not a synthesizer riff that he can’t manipulates into a smooth melodic stream of consciousness that doesn’t make you surrender and say, “Man, I wish I could come up with riffs like that!”

This is a long overdue tutorial on my part. Many have asked for it and finally, I’ve begun the process. I share with you here the introduction (a full 14 measures long) and the first verse (another 8) of Justin Bieber’s “I’ll Show You” Live in Toronto (2015).

I’ve worked on many of Dan’s arrangements of songs from not only Justin, but from the smoldering and talented, Julia Michaels.  So ya, I feel I have a grip (admittedly a loose one) on Kanter’s very intelligent and always surprising guitar style.

For the first 5 minutes, standard tuning was doable. But, the awkwardness of the fingerings and the string noise put and end to that experiment. Within minutes the “Dan is up to it again” light went on in my brain. It was then that the guitar sounded open and the fingerings were smooth, but regimented.

Finally, I figured out that the second string was also tuned up one-have step, to of course, C. It took another two minutes to see that something was up with string 4. Well, looking at Dan’s hand position wasn’t easy as the camera was not friendly to him in this video. I did catch a glimpse of his second finger on the 4th string’s 2nd fret. It was then that I discovered that Dan had tuned string 4 up one-half step to Eb(D#). What a solution he had come up with to totally make the part ring out!

You will only need your fourth, third, and second strings for this section. Use the thumb, index, middle “claw fingering” with your right hand.

Much more to come.

-Mark

Here is the Guitar Pro score so far:

“I’ll Show You” – Guitar Pro Tab Score

 

Tutorial (YouTube link)

“I’ll Show You” Tutorial

Ariana Grande meets Soundgarden.

You have to give credit to pop-music songwriters. They know how to conjure up hooks that pull you in and lead you to the land of guilty pleasure that you swore you had abandoned. Take the song “God Is A Woman” from the vocal queen of pop, Ariana Grande. She can deliver real vocal supremacy that is more than enough to perk your ears up. But, in the over-produced world of pop music, there’s always more.

From the start, “God Is A Woman” is a hook monster. The guitar enters immediately with jazzed-up arpeggios loaded with a “Black Hole Sun” vibe that instantly resonates with anticipation and drama. The mastermind of this musical addition must be credited with knowing how the concept of cross-genre composition works. Hats off to foresight!

Playing Tips:

There are five chord forms in this song. Each will require just a little woodshedding to get under your fingers. They are and they aren’t barre forms. I’d rather call them “jazz grips”. Once you get these under your fingers you will be well on your way towards supercharging your chord knowledge and performance on the guitar.

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I recommend playing this on electric guitar, however there is no reason you can’t play it on acoustic. It will be a little more of a struggle of course but, the guitar is a challenge no matter what you wish to do beyond the typical capo up and play easy chords method that is infecting the YouTube airwaves.

I have included a link to the tab here as well as the YouTube tutorial. Have fun my guitar friends!

Guitar Pro PDF

God Is A Woman

YouTube Tutorial

“God Is A Woman” Tutorial

XXXTENTACION bares his soul on “Depression and Obsession”.

Less definitely is more when you are trying to get a message into a song. The less clutter instrumentally, the less business in the harmonies and sections the better. It enables the vocal part to stand out and brings every nuance to the forefront. On “Depression and Obsession” by the late Alternative, Hard Rock, Nu-Metal, Rap, and Hip-Hop-influenced artist, XXXTENTACION (Jahseh Dwayne Ricardo Onfroy), this is certainly the case.

Take a somewhat rough acoustic guitar part, mix it with a tight beat and let the vocals do the rest. I’ve gone to great lengths to make this tutorial as close as possible to the original. This is not an “Easy Guitar” version, which serves collect views and deceives many to believe that anyone can strum along captured the vibe of a song that is far deeper than they could ever imagine. No, this version shows the rough edges and the way to play it with expression.

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You will use only three chords throughout this song. But, in these three chords be prepared to dig deep if you want to bring life into this magnificent, minimalistic expression of darkness and pain.

PERFORMANCE NOTES: I’ve decided to use Drop-D tuning for this version. The reason is that I hear the lowered sixth string ringing out in two specific places. It makes the chords slightly more difficult to play but, I feel that to be authentic in replicating other’s songs, you should attempt to get as close as possible. The only chord that may take more work is the GMaj7. For that chord try to land your pinky first. It will take slow practice but, that chord shape comes up a lot in an Am/G context in many songs.

Here is the tutorial:

Depression & Obsession Tutorial

Here is the PDF of the tab:

Tab:

Guitar Pro Tab

 

Sigur Rós – Góðan Daginn – The beauty of arpeggios.

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“Góðan Daginn” – Acoustic Guitar Tutorial (Part 1)

There is no way to do a thorough job on a song as long and dense as this one. Therefore, I will break it up into three videos. This first installment covers the Intro and Verse. Those sections alone take :45 seconds. Imagine that, a real introduction. Most pop songs are heading into the chorus by now.

The acoustic guitar score is brilliant in its non-stop arpeggiated beauty, It serves as a guide of sorts for the massive orchestration that eventually surrounds it. For those of you in the upper-intermediate playing range, this will further develop your playing in terms of what I like refer as “note streaming”. That being a constant flow of notes that are rarely interrupted (if at all) by stops or pauses. This is the perfect introduction concentrated guitar playing. Stay focused and keep your movements even and on the beat.

While not too difficult to play, you must take care to not become complacent and sloppy throughout. It’s very easy to create a lot of string chatter on this part. Make sure to lift your fingers and move quickly and accurately to the next chord. I also recommend using a pick on this but, you should do what comes natural to your playing style. Looking forward to completing this gem!

 

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Here are your links:

Sigur Rós – “Góðan Daginn” Youtube Tutorial

“Góðan Daginn” Guitar Pro Tab/Score

Sigur Rós Website

A 1:01 “It’s Strange” cover takes off!

Acoustic Guitar Tutorial for  “It’s Strange” original by Louis the Child (Feat. K. Flay).

For this tutorial I think it’s fair to warn you that you’d better be  ready to work that right hand. Guitarist Ashley Juno is a firecracker of a player and is off the charts on this one minute barrage.

Handling both electric and acoustic guitars with ease this young lady is breathing fire into the word of pop and rock covers. She plays with an creative aggression not seen for a long time. Finally!!!!

I have provided the tab and tutorial for the first two measures! What? Why only two measures? Well, there is so much going on that I was not leaving any detail out of this wild acoustic guitar display. The into consists of only two chords, D Major 7 and an E minor 7. They are root 5 structures and will certainly get you up to speed on the shapes.

The challenge will be in the right hand. Well, I’ll have more to say about that soon!

“It’s Strange” Guitar Pro PDF

Youtube Video:

“It’s Strange” – Youtube Tutorial