10 Beatles Songs Every Guitarist Should Know
Posted by Michael Mueller on July 21, 2016 at 11:52 AM
In our recent interview with Tom Kolb, the master guitar instructor said that one of the best things guitarists can do to improve is to learn Beatles solos. We're going to take it a step further and provide you with our list of Beatles songs that every guitarist should learn to play. The breadth of compositional acumen, pop sensibility, and instrumental technique represented in these 10 tracks is breathtaking. And best of all, you'll learn all of it while having fun learning how to play some of the greatest songs of all time.
For the world's greatest pop band, the Beatles gave proto metal bands a run for their money with this screamer. Motley Crue even covered it 15 years later on their breakthrough LP Shout at the Devil.
"I Want You (She's So Heavy)"
In this epic track that screams "Cream" more than it does Lennon & McCartney, the band explores changing feel, Lennon masterfully uses the vocal melody as the anchor of his solo, expanding it to double stops the second time through.
A master class in Travis picking, learning the acoustic riffs in this tune will help you master the essential fingerstyle technique.
Another acoustic classic, the main riff here is a great exercise not only for incorporating a melody line into a strum pattern but also for gaining control of your fret hand's pinky finger. It also features a couple of essential 6/8 strum patterns.
This is how you create a timeless hit using a rather simple riff. Sometimes, like this one, less really is more!
"I Feel Fine"
The intro riff here is quite the pinky-finger workout, and the guitar solo offers a great example of how to effectively use rhythmic displacement.
"Here Comes the Sun"
In this uplifting track, George Harrison clamps on a capo and creates a timeless melody on top of his basic chord shapes via suspended voicings, major 7ths, 6ths, and more. It's also one of the few pop tunes where you'll encounter shifting time signatures from 4/4 in the verse to 7/8 to 6/8 to 5/8 to 4/4 in the bridge!
Paul McCartney wrote and recorded this acoustic masterpiece, in the process showing how 10ths intervals can be incredibly effective compositional tools.
"While My Guitar Gently Weeps"
Another George Harrison tune, the highlight here is listening to Eric Clapton solo throughout the tune. Slowhand delivers an absolute clinic on how to turn blues-based licks into pop music gold.
Arguably George Harrison's greatest composition. Dig the A-Amaj7-A7 in the verse and how he recalls it in the relative minor (F#m-F#m(maj7)-F#m7) move a few bars later, creating beautiful, descending chromatic phrases that mirror the ascending chromatic hook that opens the tune. Oh, and those manic bends in the solo as counterpoint to the overarching soothing feel of the tune -- priceless.