Four Sticks by Led Zeppelin – a classic B-side song on Led Zeppelin IV that tends to be over-shadowed by Stairway, Black Dog, and Rock and Roll. This song makes great use of the guitar’s ability to play unisons – something a piano or wind instrument cannot do. While playing a unison, Jimmy Page bends the string to make an edgy, dissonant effect. Here are a few tips:
- When playing the unison bend, stay directly on the fingertip and don’t block the open string. Watch out you don’t block or dampen the open string unison. The open string ringing while doing the bend is the key element to this unique sound.
- Tap your foot and count to 5 for sections A and C. This rhythm is in 5/8, with a syncopated rhythm. Tap a solid beat with your foot and count to 5 to learn this add timing. Also, the first 2 chords are pickup notes, so count them as beats “4-5” to get into the song. If you ever want to play anything in a progressive genre, counting and playing in irregular time signatures is super important to learn.
- Feel 6/8 for section B. As a contrast to the irregular time signature of 5/8, feel 6/8 by following the grouping of notes and accenting the first note in the group. The count should be “1 – 2and – 3 , 4 – 5and – 6” while picking “down – down up – down, down – down up – down.”
Nate from Richards Guitar Studio shows you how to play Four Sticks by Led Zeppelin in this guitar lesson tutorial. Guitar tabs included to follow along. Learn the chords, bending, strumming, and picking techniques by guitarist Jimmy Page.
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