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Michael Johnson >> Jimmy Page Blues-Rock style >>
Lesson Subject: Jimmy Page Blues Rock
What you learn: Early Zeppelin Style
Teacher: Michael Johnson

Michael: This lesson series covers the early Zeppelin era of Jimmy Page, he's one of my favorites! Jimmy Page was a session player in the early days, playing on tracks like "It's Not Unusual" by Tom Jones and songs of that period, he later joined the "Yardbirds" playing bass and then guitar. Page has a heavy blues influence, listening to players like Albert King, Elmore James, Muddy Waters, etc etc etc.... so most of his early Zep recordings has a heavy blues rock sound The lesson sample  will give you an idea of the licks you'll learn:

Lesson Sample

Michael: Yes Ice, we will use the E minor pentatonic scale for the coming licks:



Michael: OK, most the licks will be based in that scale pattern. Here's a jam track in E you can practice the licks and scale over:

Jam Track 1

Michael: Load this track and start playing!

ECGilmour: Does Page tend to hit the blue note (b5) or does he generally stick with the plain minor pentatonic?

Michael: Yes, EC, but for these licks he uses the Minor Pentatonic pattern. Here's our first lick:



Lick 1

Michael: This is a common lick Page uses, notice the bend on the 3rd string using the 2nd finger.



ECGilmour: Are those 12 15 12s hammer-ons and pull-offs? 

Michael: Yes, EC, this allows you to bend the first note then play the 2nd string/12th fret, then jump to a pull-off, this helps to add a flow to the lick.

Jeff: Wouldn't you want to aid your second finger with your first finger teach in the bend....I use two fingers to bend to aid support.... on a full bend ....1/4 bend isn't too bad with one finger.

Michael: Jeff, that would slow the lick up because the 1st finger needs to be in position to play the notes on the 12th fret. I suggest building the strength of your 2nd finger for the bends, 1/4 bend is a b5 note, which is in the blues scale, so it works great. Here's the next lick:



Lick 2

Michael: These 2 licks are basically the same though, only you add the 1st string.

ECGilmour: Only one note is different.

Michael: You bet EC. See how the subtle addition of the note can change the sound that help you position to play the entire lick smoothly. Notice how I position my hand in the next picture.



Michael: The 2nd finger bends, while the 1st finger barres the 1st and 2nd strings, then the 3rd finger is positioned to play the pull-off. Here's the next lick:



Lick 3

Snake: 12 pull off 15??

Michael: Yes snake, now this lick plays a simple pull-off on the 1st string.

ECGilmour: Nice, I love those triplet pull-off thingies

Michael: I like then too, the key is also positioning your hand, I barre the 1st and 2nd string 12th fret.



Michael: OK, next lick:



Lick 4

Michael: Notice this run uses the E Minor Pentatonic pattern I gave you earlier.

Finn: I play as fast either way

Michael: Finn, you can do that, but you might not have as much control, the rest of you should take you time. The Riff application lets you select a section and slow the file in pitch you can slow it as much as you want.

Beestin: For those triple legato's, what is the proper picking pattern?

Michael: Beestin, you can use all down strokes, this gives you more attack. Jimmy studied the blues players who focused on controlling the pitch when bending, you can use your 3rd finger, but it might slow you a bit and have less control.

ice: That is fast i can get my fingers to go that fast i never work on speed like that, the only time i use any speed is when i play jazz

Michael: Playing Jazz, classical and progressive rock is a different technique for fingering. I'm not saying its wrong to use on these licks, its more of the way Page would play it.

Beestin: That is cutting my speed in half (as apposed to alt picking) should i practice this way from now on/

Michael: Beestin, the pull-off helps with increasing speed. Here's our next lick:



Lick 5

Lick 5 - picking

Brendan: Are there any good exercises to build up speed? because mine is horrendous.

Michael: Yes there are Brendan. The picking pattern for this lick is also a good pattern to practice. As far as the key for the next lick, it basically starts with the E note/chord, the entire progression is based on that note/chord... thus we call it in the key of E, etc. Here's our next lick, this next lick is basically double picking (alternate) the ascending E minor pentatonic scale pattern.



Lick 6

Jeff: Pagey uses a lot of hybird picking too doesn't he teach...?Ok... I had read once that he did use hybird a lot...Like in Stairway to heaven...

Michael: Jeff, Page has an unusual picking style, at times sound sloppy, but with a interesting attack unique to blues players.

Michael: Now the last lick jumps into the other E minor pentatonic box positions. Notice how each of these licks segments start with a bend, then jumping to a lower note. Now let's try something outside of the scale pattern I sent earlier. This next lick uses a common pull-off on the open position.



Lick 7

Michael: I have a few more jam tracks, sure here you go....

Jam Track 2

Jam Track 2b

Michael: Time for me to go class.


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