what songs taught you the most?

ndcaster

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friends of mine want to work up some country/soul stuff, so I've been going back and learning, more closely, tunes I thought I knew, and this experience has made me think the following

when I started on guitar in 1980, my teacher wanted me to learn John Denver tunes without any explanation, and I rebelled -- all my friends were into Van Halen, and I wanted to play like Eddie, so I went the self-taught route

as a result, all the stuff I learned was pretty spotty -- I didn't have the patience for slowing records down, re-dropping the needle, and so on, and so for a year I was catch as catch can, in terms of learning the instrument, totally unsystematic learning, major territory of the fretboard was incognito, etc

then came moments, a succession of them, when it was clear I needed to get my sh*t together with actual songs -- and that led me right back to simple things, cowboy chords, learning to sing and play, playing with others

(as an aside, it makes me wonder about music history a little bit: in the 80s, the barriers to entry to playing popular rock music were pretty high, which probably made the younger generation go "eff this, let's play grunge" just as their older punk cousins did before them -- but I digress)

in retrospect, the whole world of sitting around banging out simple tunes is absolutely bedrock to musical learning, so my question is:

what tunes, in order, taught you the most when it comes to guitar?

for me, it started with Wild Thing, Sweet Home Alabama, Mony Mony, Free Bird, dozens of three-chord country songs, Autumn Leaves, A Child Is Born, Nuages ...

and this morning, as I looked more closely at Eagles tunes (Take It Easy, Peaceful Easy, Already Gone) that damn, I should've done a deep dive on these tunes a lot sooner -- the fills and solos are just so on point and clever, really good "learning" tunes ... doing so would've saved me some time

makes me think there's a kind of "ladder" of songs to learn that would've made the whole process less time-consuming

lesson: don't ignore a good teacher, even if he makes you play "Country Roads" for the bazillionth time
 

kuch

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Learned some chords watching my older brother play surf music in a garage band. I played his Harmony bobcat unplugged when I could.

1st real song I learned was S and G's "Sounds of Silence" at a friends house. He bought the sheet music and we took turns playing it on his guitar. I must have been 11-12 at the time.

I think the next song we figured out by listening to the radio was "House of the Rising Sun".

That's where it all started for me.
 

vgallagher

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Funny this topic just popped up. Playing 100% acoustic guitar and been wanting to expand my repertoire of chord voicings and unusual changes. Pulled out my James Taylor Complete book and started working out some of those tunes. Nobody better than JT at that. Tune Long Ago and Faraway has some beautiful changes as does Hey Mister that's Me etc. Any of that stuff can be picked apart and used in other applications.
 

Boreas

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Classical Gas.

I can play a recognizable version of it, but will never master it. In addition to learning the fingerpicking techniques and the chords, the time and syncopation is critical. About the only thing I can come close to nailing down is the time/syncopation. Difficult song to dance to!!
 

ndcaster

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Funny this topic just popped up. Playing 100% acoustic guitar and been wanting to expand my repertoire of chord voicings and unusual changes. Pulled out my James Taylor Complete book and started working out some of those tunes. Nobody better than JT at that. Tune Long Ago and Faraway has some beautiful changes as does Hey Mister that's Me etc. Any of that stuff can be picked apart and used in other applications.
right, so this morning I realized I was playing the F#m chord in PEF wrong all those years ago -- it should be this:

1x3100
UPDATE 2x4x200

that chord is all over modern country

it sure sounds good on the J-200 (?) on the recording

"Just What I Needed" was another good learning tune -- the solo kicked my butt!
 
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39martind18

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Learned some chords watching my older brother play surf music in a garage band. I played his Harmony bobcat unplugged when I could.

1st real song I learned was S and G's "Sounds of Silence" at a friends house. He bought the sheet music and we took turns playing it on his guitar. I must have been 11-12 at the time.

I think the next song we figured out by listening to the radio was "House of the Rising Sun".

That's where it all started for me.
Kuch, your experience parallels mine. The sheet music I got for "Sounds of Silence" was in Dm, so the chords F and Bb came into play. The F also was in "House of the Rising Sun," so the idea of learning chords that occur in different songs was an "ah hah" moment in my early guitar learning progress. Both songs remain in my repertoire today.
 

schmee

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So many. I remember in the early 60's learning an instrumental song called 'JAJ' that was popular with NW groups like The Wailers. The bridge in that song is a 'round of fifths' and it taught me what that is I guess.

A couple years later I got the sheet music for "In The Windmills of Your Mind" which I liked a lot. It was pretty complex for me back then. But it, or maybe others, gave me the realization that some songs can have a ton of chords, or you can play much fewer chords. ie: A Jazzer can play 5 chords, transitional chords, between the 'money' chords where others may just be playing one or two chords that work.
 

AAT65

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right, so this morning I realized I was playing the F#m chord in PEF wrong all those years ago -- it should be this:

1x3100
I’ve no idea what “PEF” is but that’s no F#m — unless you’re guitar is in a nonstandard tuning of some sort..!
And if modern country is playing an Fm with a B natural (= b5) and an E natural (= maj 7) on top then it’s getting a lot nearer to jazz than I’d expect!😀😀😂
 

ndcaster

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I’ve no idea what “PEF” is but that’s no F#m — unless you’re guitar is in a nonstandard tuning of some sort..!
And if modern country is playing an Fm with a B natural (= b5) and an E natural (= maj 7) on top then it’s getting a lot nearer to jazz than I’d expect!😀😀😂
lol sorry!

2x4200

Peaceful Easy Feeling
 

loopfinding

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Cuban/Mexican boleros, bossa nova tunes, countrypolitan stuff, Burt Bacharach tunes. They’re all kind of the same within their respective languages, so I don’t think the specific tune matters much. Pick the ones you like with a lot going on.

Sitting and trying to figure out how to play them solo/as chord melodies improved my overall understanding of harmony, without having to get into the jazz blowing competition (though I do like arranging ballad standards solo). The languages are sort of halfway between jazz and pop music, so you get some nice and colorful concepts in there to learn from.

I can’t really shred, but I can play most functional harmony stuff reasonably well. That stuff changed my approach to the guitar from being a riff and solo machine to more just a general harmony interface like a piano.
 
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Toast

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The trick for me is to find songs I like. It's easy to find songs I like that go from easy to difficult because my taste runs the gamut of all skill levels. I don't play songs because they're good for my playing; I play songs I want to hear over and over again. In my own learning I've played a lot of CCR. If someone ever asks me about primary influences, I'd have to say Fogerty.
 

ndcaster

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Cuban/Mexican boleros, bossa nova tunes, countrypolitan stuff, Burt Bacharach tunes. They’re all kind of the same within their respective languages, so I don’t think the specific tune matters much. Pick the ones you like with a lot going on.

Sitting and trying to figure out how to play them solo/as chord melodies improved my overall understanding of harmony, without having to get into the jazz blowing competition (though I do like arranging ballad standards solo). The languages are sort of halfway between jazz and pop music, so you get some nice and colorful concepts in there to learn from.

I can’t really shred, but I can play most functional harmony stuff reasonably well. That stuff changed my approach to the guitar from being a riff and solo machine to more just a general harmony interface like a piano.
right there with you

I learned a bunch of Baptist hymns that were really helpful in that way

Randy Newman piano parts are really challenging to work out, currently -- movement of interior voices!
 

AcresWild

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When I was first learning I was able to familiarize myself with a lot of the fretboard playing along to Lightnin Hopkins' slower stuff

It's slow enough to give you room, and its haunting nature lends itself to artistic whim
 

Old Verle Miller

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Peter Paul and Mary (It all started with folk music for me)
Johnny Rivers - Memphis
Roy Orbison - Oh Pretty Woman
The Everly Brothers - Walk Right Back
The Byrds - Have You Seen Her Face, I'll Feel A Whole Lot Better
In 1969 saw Jerry Lee Lewis and one of his songs grabbed me. It was "She Even Woke Me Up To Say Goodbye" and suddenly I got into a singer/songwriter, Mickey Newbury. I was infected with the country disease not long after and never fully recovered. Besides, I was already equipped with the right guitar.
 

brookdalebill

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The three chords of the fiddle tune, Boil The Cabbage, A, D, & E.
I played guitar accompaniment to my fiddler Dad, when I was 12.
Next was the three chords of Them’s Gloria, E, D & A.
Next was the daunting, and dirge-ey House Of The Rising Sun, with the dreaded, and difficult F chord.
Stupid partial-barre chord!
Once you got that F, you were committed.
Don’t Think Twice and Freight Train, played finger style were next.
My first guitar teacher, circa 1969, Drew Thomason was great!
He taught me to finger pick, and transpose chords.
Thanks, Drew!
 

Oxidao

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ndcaster: "the whole world of sitting around banging out simple tunes is absolutely bedrock to musical learning"

Classics. Major scale and Major Pentatonic mainly.

fills and solos are just so on point and clever
J.J. Cale

Charlie Feathers, James Burton, Ernst Tubb, Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson, Jerry Reed, EmmyLou H

oh! this ^^^ has nothing to do with 70's Rock.
hmm... Boston, CSNY, Glen Campbell?

oh! you asked for Songs

Sorry... I'm a bit dysfunctional for that now.
 

Kingpin

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Clapton got me started on Blues playing, so, Have Ever Loved a Woman, or Key to the Highway were among the first with him... also a lot of Allman Bros., with "Blue Sky" opening doors on the Major side.
 

ndcaster

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The three chords of the fiddle tune, Boil The Cabbage, A, D, & E.
I played guitar accompaniment to my fiddler Dad, when I was 12.
Next was the three chords of Them’s Gloria, E, D & A.
Next was the daunting, and dirge-ey House Of The Rising Sun, with the dreaded, and difficult F chord.
Stupid partial-barre chord!
Once you got that F, you were committed.
Don’t Think Twice and Freight Train, played finger style were next.
My first guitar teacher, circa 1969, Drew Thomason was great!
He taught me to finger pick, and transpose chords.
Thanks, Drew!
Bill, do you remember your first Chuck Berry licks?
 




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