Stuart Ryan discovers that the famously ‘Quiet Beatle’actually had plenty of musical things to say on his acoustic six string instruments!
contemporaries for generations to come. while the Beatles oeuvre is dominated by the hits of John lennon and Paul McCartney, it’s impossible to imagine their back catalogue without the classics written by george harrison: here Comes the sun, something and while My guitar gently weeps arguably stand equal to strawberry Fields Forever and Yesterday, and it’s tempting to think how much more george could have contributed to the group. his solo works also contains many great moments, with My sweet lord and give Me love (give me Peace on earth) perhaps being among the best known of his post Beatles hits. however, his achievements don’t end there – check out anything by the travelling wilburys to remind yourself of how George remained a firm fixture in the music world long after the Beatles had split.
often regarded as the ‘lead’ guitarist with the Beatles, george was also a fantastic acoustic player and an inventive, textural composer adept at layering tracks with both acoustic and electric parts, strummed or fingerpicked. His rich, bright tone always brought his parts to the fore and his harmonic vocabulary contained a plethora of sweet sounding chords that added something to every track on which he played.
Born in liverpool on February 25, 1943, Harrison’s early influences were the pop legends of the day – Buddy holly and little Richard among others – but he also had a healthy interest in guitarists and was a keen fan of Carl Perkins, Chet Atkins and bluesman Big Bill Broonzy. he always had a distinctly folky voice to his guitar style and this was something that came more to the fore towards the end of his tenure with the Beatles – the music of Bob Dylan and the Byrds particularly influencing him in this direction.
For this month’s study we’ll see how george could take a standard chord progression and add interest by enriching the chord voicings and adding some melodic
I believe I love my guitar more than the others love theirs. For John and Paul, songwriting is important and guitar playing is a means to an end.
content to the sequence. You can really hear this approach at play in here Comes the sun which showcases his distinctive, jangly chord based rhythm style.
the use of a capo is not essential for playing this one, but take it away and play in the open position and you’ll see how the parts lose some of their ‘zing’! when playing this type of study I wouldn’t worry too much about playing every note as it is in the tab – there will be times when you catch other strings but in this instance they won’t sound out of place so aim more for vibe, clean fretting and tight rhythm playing.
George Harrison playing a capoed Martin acoustic