Guitar Smith Online® Blog

January Rain


This week’s lesson is an entry-level song for the beginner guitarist. I’ve written it in the form of a lead sheet to make the learning process easier. If you’re not familiar with what a lead sheet is, it is music that’s written with just the essential parts of a song, i.e., the melody with the chords (harmony) written above.

Working with the Notes

I know that some guitarists struggle with music notation and, therefore, veer toward using music sheets written with tablature. Unfortunately, lead sheets often do not contain tablature. Because of this, and for the purpose of this lesson, I’ve provided the scale pattern for reading in music notation, tablature, and note names so they can be easily memorized.

To start, I suggest that you play the scale forward and backward while naming the notes out loud. This will help you to associate the notes to your fingers. Also, keep in mind that the B and E notes are flat (as indicated by the selected key signature), so be sure to name them appropriately.

The eighth notes throughout the song will have a shuffle feel. Listen to the first track, Melody, to hear what I mean by a shuffle feel.

The backtrack omits the melody and runs through the song three times in its entirety. This will allow you to play the melody the first time through, improvise (if you wish) the second time, and back to the melody for the third and last time.

Melody Track:




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