Blackbird

Video lesson available

Level: Int/Adv     Tuning: Drop D

Includes 30 minute Video Lesson + Reference Video + Transcription

From the album
4 On 6 – The Beatles for Solo Guitar

4 On 6

Also available on iTunes

Blackbird is one of Paul McCartney’s many little masterpieces. Sparse and efficient, like Yesterday, it is one of those “just right” moments The Beatles managed to hit so many times.

Over the past fifty years Blackbird’s guitar accompaniment has become one of a relatively small handful of influential guitar pieces – like Classical Gas, Stairway to Heaven, Windy and Warm and their ilk – that “everyone” seems to either be able to identify or has actually taken a stab at while learning to play guitar.

Interestingly, the inspiration for Blackbird’s guitar part was found in yet another well-known guitar piece, J.S. Bach’s Bouree in E minor. More recently, Sir Paul has explained how he and George used to play a bastardized version of Bouree as a party piece to impress people with how musically worldly they were.

As you can hear, and as Sir Paul acknowledges, they got it wrong – real wrong. But part of The Beatles’ genius was being able to take little seeds like that and turn them into brilliant music of their own. McCartney did just that in this case, using some of the fingering from their twisted version of Bouree as the seed for what became the guitar part for Blackbird.

With my penchant for arranging Beatles tunes this is one song I couldn’t ignore. Usually when arranging The Beatles for solo guitar it is an issue of compressing the full sound of a band down onto six strings. Given Blackbird features just a single guitar and voice, one might assume that made it much easier to arrange for solo guitar. Paradoxically, not so. But that is a story for another time.

Enjoy.

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About Bob

... is an award winning, Canadian finger-style guitarist and the 2003 U.S. National Fingerstyle Guitar Champion. He combines an eclectic mix of contemporary finger-style guitar and traditional roots music with a warm vocal style, tilted sense of humour and down to earth stage presence to provide a refreshing performance experience for music lovers in general. Definitely not just for "guitar geeks".