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Lesson Subject: British Art Rock I
What you learn: King Crimson (Robert Fripp) Style
Teacher: Michael Johnson

This interactive lesson covers the style of King Crimson. King Crimson is known for their melodic, progressive jazz-rock style, and are similar to Genesis in many ways due to their jazz-rock influence, Some of the most notable players in King Crimson include Robert Fripp on guitar, Greg Lake on bass & vocals (Emerson Lake & Palmer) who was later replaced by John Wetton (UK, Asia, Roxy Music,). King Crimson have had many musicians who have come and go including the legendary drummer Bill Bruford (Yes, Genesis) and Guitarist Adrian Belew (Zappa, Bowie). Notice the three segments of music in the lesson sample, we will break down each of these segments and cover how to play each one. First check out the lesson sample:

Lesson Sample

Michael: Here's the first phrase.

Part 1 - Lick 1

Michael: Here's a jam track you can practice over for this section.

Looping Jam Track 1

Michael: Fripp has an amazing skill for integrating various intervals, much in the way of a horn section would be arranged, let's try this first example using 4th intervals over the original track, example G Major G (1), A (2), B (3), C (4), D (5), E (6) F# (7), notice I also include Maj and Min 3rds toward the end of the lick:

Part 1 - Lick 2 (4ths)

Michael: Here's the jam track with the 4ths.

Looping Jam Track 1 - 4ths

Michael: Notice how the 4ths give you a horn section type feel to this phrase, now you can do the same thing using 5th intervals, example G Major G (1), A (2), B (3), C (4), D (5), E (6) F# (7). I also include Major 3rds at the end of the lick.

Part 1 - Lick 3 (5ths)

Michael: Here's the jam track.

Looping Jam Track 1 - 5ths

Michael: Now you can layer harmonies each phrase, the first using the original lick, then a minor 3rd harmony, and at last we'll add the 5th harmony.

Part 1 - Lick 4 - Harmony 1

Michael: Here's the jam track.

Looping Jam Track 1 - Harmonies

Michael: Notice in the jam track you first play the original, then Min 3rd, then the 5th is on the last phrase. Here's the tab for the 5th harmony.

Part 1 - Lick 5 - Harmony 2

Michael: Can you think of other guitarists who layer harmonies like this?

Ralph: Steve Vai

Michael: Great choice Ralph! Another I thought of is Brian May of Queen. OK now we get into a jazz type jam in the middle of this tune.

Part 2 - Lick 1

Michael: Try this jam track, we're going to play a few licks over this jam.

Looping Jam Track 2

Michael: This first lick uses the Dorian mode.

Michael: Then it jumps into kind of a Harmonic minor, it's very unusual. Fripp would try all kinds of improvising tricks, try this next lick.

Michael: To most ears his style would come off unorthodox, but that is why his style is so cool. Now try this lick.

Michael: This lick is actually kind off hammer-on using the inside notes of a C Dorian, then descends using the outside notes of the pattern. The last section of the song goes to a folk type groove almost reminiscent of the Moody Blues, you can find a few parallels between these two bands at times.

Part 3 - Lick 1

Michael: Here's the jam track:

Looping Jam Track 3

Michael: Here is all the sections of the King Crimson style song all together.

Looping Jam Track 4 - All Parts

Ralph: I love the strings in jam track 3.

Michael: Hey thanks, I'm using a MIDI system through a Roland VG8 and Alesis S4.

Ralph: Very warm tone.

Michael: I layer all these parts and they come out pretty cool when it's all mixed together. Well it's time to go, see you next week!

Ralph: The strings are killing me!

Michael: Thanks, see you next lesson!

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