Heres the second part of my beatles article. Last time we reached Rubber Soul, so its on to Revolver, possibly the most important album ever made. Notable for things such as the first backwards guitar solo, first use of an indian instrument, first use of an RnB brass section and the first 'dance' song. Im gonna look at the track, 'and your bird can sing', a great early example of harmony guitar playing, predating, queen, wishbone ash and thin lizzy.

The track is in the key of E major. Heres a tab of the melody line without the harmony line.


Now this line is harmonised by a second guitar in thirds, so within E major each note is harmonised by the second note after it, (so the original note is 1, then the next note is skipped, then the next note is used as the harmony, 1->3=third). So E major (E F# G# A B C# Eb) would be harmonised by (G# A B C# Eb E F#), heres the passage including the harmony part.


Nowadays this kind of strict harmony where the same interval is used throughout is rare, players tend to prefer altering the interval through the passage to spice it up harmonically, but this was quite innovative for 1966.

The next song im going to look at is penny lane, theres actually very little guitar in this, but it is a masterclass in inventive songwriting. The verses of the song are in the key of B major. The underlying chords are B major, C#m7, F#7, Bm7 (odd one that), G#m7b5, Gmaj7, F#7sus4, E and F#7, however the instruments being used (piano and walking bassline) dont lend themselves to replication on guitar. The final E is used to switch the key from B major to A major in the chorus as it is common to both keys. Although the chorus is in A major, the meldoy is written so that it isnt all that apparent that a key change has occured. The chorus follows the progression of A A/C# and D, with F#7 being used to move back to B major for the verse. Now the really clever thing in penny lane is in the final chorus, previously the key downshifted from B to A, for the final chorus we stay in B major, because the previous downshifts in key, were almost hidden, this sounds like an shift up in key, even though the key actually remains the same, you really need to listen to the song to fully appreciate the affect but it is incredibly clever.

Now at nirvanaozzie requested its helter skelter, many say this is the first metal song. It is a great example of how sometimes the best attitude to adopt is to throw theory out the window and play whatever gets the job done. The intro involves a descending motif of D C# C played over a static high E.


This creates great tension to resolve to B (the major third of the first chord, G). The rest of the song is based on hitting E G and A chords as hard and as loud as possible, not the most subtle beatles tune ever, but clearly very influential.

Also on the white album is the harrison written gem, while my guitar gently weeps, also including lead guitar by clapton. The verse is based on a piano progression in A minor, Am Am/G Am/F# Fmaj7, Am Am/G D E. In this song Harrison uses another great key change this time, when going into the chorus he switches from A minor to A major. This kind of key change gives a song a great boost, its very uplifting. So the chorus goes A C#m F#m A Bm E. Check out Jeff Healeys fantastic cover of this song. A very similar key change can be heard in the song 'things we did today' on the hard days night album.

Another area the beatles excelled in was there use of dominant seventh chords. Glass Onion from the white album is a superb example. It starts with an ultra dissonant sequence of Am followed by F7. These chords share A and C chord tones but it is the contrast of A minors fifth (E) with the root and b7 of F7 (F and Eb) which creates the dissonance. Then this dissonance is resolved beautifully by switching the F7 for Gm7, and the key from Am to Gm, the vocal even states 'heres another place you can go' showing they were well aware what they were up to here. The rest of the song just revolves around F7 D7 and G7, its very rare to see this kind of progression nowadays, dominant sevenths are very much underused but i like there ambiguity.

As i mentioned before the beatles were influenced by Rnb/soul music, one song where this influence shows up is on across the universe from let it be. Specifically the intro, first of all heres the tab


Now the pingerpicked intro utilises sixths, a very common technique in soul music, check out the intro to soul man


In across the universe the key centre is D major (D E F# G A B C#), so as before to create a sixth interval we take one note, treat it as number one and then count six notes along the scale to get the correct harmony. It works well to create a dreamy vibe as it is such a wide interval, it also leads lots of room for melody to fit inbetween. If you want a really messed up sound try harmonising in sevenths, quite disturbing, ha ha!

Now im gonna talk about two songs from my favourite beatles album, Abbey Road. First of all I want you (shes so heavy). The intro involves some great arpeggiated chords.

Dm           F6         E7b9         Bb7         A+

This again shows the beatles jazz influence, with 6, 7b9 and augmented chords not exactly commonplace in pop tunes, ive even heard that George Harrison invented that E7b9 chord (a slight exaggeration i think). But it is true that he had any enormous knowledge of chords. This jazzy intro contrasts fantastically with the bluesy phrase and answer chorus, with guitar and vocal utilising the A and D blues scales to great effect.

Finally im gonna look at the song 'you never give me your money'. This song is in the key of Am, the progression goes Am, Dm, G7, C, Fmaj7, Bm7b5, E and then Am. Now it seems a fairly standard progression but there is a method behind it. This progression is cycling in fourths, so each chord is followed by a chord rooted in the previous chords fourth. In simple terms, Am has a fourth of D (ie in Am D is the fourth note of the scale) so Am is followed by a chord rooted by D, that falls within Am. Then we have D, which has a fourth of G, so is followed by a G, and so on. If your unsure just think what note you would add to make the chord a sus4. So with the G7, to make it G7sus4 you would add a C, so the next chord is a C chord. The only chord you may struggle with is Bm7b5.


Its essentially a Dm with a B root, the F forming the b5. Just treat it as a normal B chord, which to make a sus4 you would add E. Eventually the whole progression cycles back to Am and starts all over again. Another rather fantastic guitarists uses this on his two most famous songs, check out parisienne walkways and still got the blues by Gary Moore for great examples.

Two other songs for you to consider having a look at are something and my sweet lord, both by George, both songs encompass a lot of what ive talked about, harmony, tension, resolution, varied chord voicings. Pay particular attention to the key changes, chord progression and how george solos over it in Something, and in my sweet lord check out the lovely harmonised slide intro and the key change in the middle of the song, the best key change ive ever heard. Gear at this time was varied for the beatles, using Epihone Casinos, Fender Strats, George used a rosewood tele and Paul favoured the rickenbacker 4001. Im sure you will all note i have not mentioned sgt peppers, basically because im still trying to work out half of it out myself, but for a real treat try to decipher whats going on during the orchestral break in a day in the life. Next up is Mr Vile whose going to tell us about megadeath i believe.
Rosewood tele......lol....heavy stuff.....
Quote by tryhardslash
dude like every song has disortion

and its called distorting
Just.... Awsome...

Great work, once again...

"They were having S-E-X in front of the C-H-I-L-D-R-E-N!"
"Sex Cauldren?! I thought they closed that place"
I am not worthy.

UG VILLAGE IDIOT (cuts leg off with miter saw)
Y 50 $3&10^$¿
Originally posted by ATOM
UG VILLAGE IDIOT (cuts leg off with miter saw)

you should really stop putting that in every post, its pathetic
Originally posted by turinbrakes
you should really stop putting that in every post, its pathetic
you have to give him credit for the avatar though
Originally posted by TempoTantrum
If we make it to like 2500, the average size of people will be like 7'2". And if we make it to 3500, St. Anger might go Gold.
Originally said by George Bush Jr.
I am a man of peace
Originally posted by scot88
you have to give him credit for the avatar though

Thank you.


Y 50 $3&10^$¿
what do you mean by 'backward solo'?

is it structured inside out? i dont get it.

other wise thanks for a great read and a nice warm up melodies (ought to thank beatles for them really - but you get the plaudits for tabbing)

Well the solo is backwards. Basically the song is recorded without a solo, then the tape is flipped over and a solo is recorded while the backing plays backwards, then when the song is play the correct way round the solo sounds very strange. Listen to castles made of sand by hendrix, theres some backwards stuff in that also.