Acoustic Beatles for the Folk Musician
The Beatles were the greatest and most influential
act of the rock era, and introduced more innovations into popular music
than any other rock band of the 20th century. What is not as well known,
though, is the fact that the Beatles wrote many if not all of their songs
on acoustic guitar and piano, and that these instruments, especially
the guitar, were the foundation for the sound and rhythmic propulsion
of most of their best work. Their catchy songs range from simple, barely
two or three-chord folk and blues songs to staggeringly complex masterpieces
of studio virtuosity, craft and skill. But at the core of most of the
best ones - it is my contention - there
was just a simple acoustic guitar or two or piano.
In this workshop, as time permits, I will discuss key aspects of several
classic Beatle songs, highlighting song construction, instrumentation
and style. I’ll pass on some “real world” jam session
playing tips of what works, gathered from scores of performances, parties
and jams. Several of my longtime jam friends will join me in the performance
and discussion. Songs will include a couple of simple folk-style songs,
and some medium difficulty pop, rock and county selections. And we’ll
showcase a few finger-picking gems with a particularly acoustic sound
or whose arrangements can be adapted to simple acoustic instruments in
a living room or jam setting.
Finally, in the remaining time available, I will open up the workshop
for general questions, history and trivia exchange, and a Beatles sing-a-long.
So bring along an acoustic instrument — enthusiastic participation
is strongly encouraged! My handout packet will include: a brief history
of the Beatles, several song charts, tabs and lyrics plus a list of Internet
resources for tabs, YouTube videos, song lyric websites and Beatles history
and fan info.
I’ve been a fixture as a singer and guitarist
at Bay Area jams and parties for almost 15 years and have played Beatles
songs for more than 40 years. I’m a retired City and County of
San Francisco Computer Network Engineer who now spends his time doing
live sound and producing shows for the S.F. Hootenanny and the S.F. Folk
Festival amongst various other acoustic gigs, and I putter around as
much as I can in my home recording studio.