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Learn Guitar: Play Led Zeppelin Songs On Guitar
Stairway To Heaven is without doubt one of the popular and
memorable guitar pieces ever recorded. Led Zeppelin recorded this
song on November 8th, 1971 and it has since become a type of
national anthem for guitarist's worldwide.
Imagine walking into a guitar centre and yelling out "can anyone
play Stairway To Heaven?" Immediately almost every guitar player
in the store would leap on the nearest guitar and try to knock
out their version of "Stairway".
In fact it so many budding guitarists "try" to play Stairway To
Heaven" that it has become a industry joke, some music shops only
half jokingly even display a sign with the "No, Stairway To
Heaven" message made popular on the "Wayne's world" movie.
All jokes aside, Stairway To Heaven has become a reference point
of competence for budding guitarist's. If you can play a
reasonable recognizable rendition of this song it's a status
symbol of the upwardly mobile guitarist.
Thousands of guitar players have played this song, however very
few know much about the song itself (apart from all the media PR
Here is three tips to get you started on your own stairway to
Tip 1: Learn to play the melody.
The melody is the tune of the song, that's the part that Robert
Plant is singing, the majority of guitar players play the
introduction from TAB. Listen to the lyric and try to find the
pitch of the notes that the singer is singing.
Stairway To Heaven's melody is based on the "A natural minor" or
Aeolian mode, containing the following notes: A,B,C,D,E,F,G. If
you confine yourself to these notes you will be able to find the
Here are the first notes of the melody.
A,B,C ...B,A,B ...A,B,C,D,C,B,A etc...
By the way while we're talking about learning the melody for
Stairway To Heaven, did you know that the melody is based on an
old traditional Irish tune written in the 1850's?
Tip 2: Practice chromatic bass lines
Stairway To Heaven's introduction is built over a chromatic
descending bass line. This bass line is the backbone of the song,
it's this reason the introduction grabs your attention and keeps
Try playing these notes A, Ab,G, Gb, F against the opening
chords, let each note ring for two beats ... that's your
descending bass line. To match the pitch of the descending line
on the recording start on the note "A" on the 7th fret 4th string
and move chromatically down that string.
To hear the recorded guitar part more clearly, try adjusting the
balance control so you can only hear the left stereo channel, as
the guitar is mixed to that side.
Chromatic bass lines are common devices used by successful
songwriters, an example of an ascending bass line would be the
song "Ain't Misbehavin'" a jazz standard from 1937, another
example of a descending bass line could be "Don't walk Away
Renee", Left Banke (1966).
Tip 3: Use the A minor pentatonic scale
Throughout the solo the A minor pentatonic scale is used almost
exclusively: A, C, D, E , G
The only exception to this being when the F (b6) is played as
either part of the melodic line or accented over the F chord. The
inclusion of this F results in an overall note content of:
As you can see the musical raw materials used to create "Stairway
To Heaven" have been around a long time, it's how they were
assembled that makes them interesting.
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