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Coming Into Los Angeles

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Today we're learning "Coming Into Los Angeles" as recorded by Arlo Guthrie in 1969. This song is a great example of an acoustic guitar sound fitting in beautifully with a big rock and roll production. With it's walking bass and big, fat guitar tone it really carries the song even while surrounded with bass, drums, and electric guitars. Our job is to hold down our guitar part consistently throughout the entire song!

We're in the key of A minor for this song, and we're looking for a BIG rocking acoustic guitar tone. The chords have a very strong bass structure which must be reflected in the right hand, in that we have to figure out a way to really bring out the low end in our strings, but also keep the treble strings ringing out good and strong. We're looking to create a nice big fat harmonic cloud for all of the other instruments to surround.

we'll use about a 1/2 dozen chords, some with alternate basses. we'll think about what an alternate bass is, and how it helps drive the song. while we're talking chords, I'll discuss how to use your left hand very efficiently using "chord connections".

this song's big, washy strum is interesting for many reasons. it uses what i call a two bar phrase, in that the rhythmic pattern alternates subtly between 2 bars throughout the song. again, we'll explore what that means, and most importantly, how stretching the rhythmic structure over two bars creates a very interesting underpinning to the harmonic structure, and an emphasis for the aforementioned chords using alternate basses. I'll demonstrate good right hand technique, and we'll think about how our strum holds down the rhythmic portion of the song.

This song has a verse, chorus structure, including a solo. We'll take a look at each section, learning the chords and understanding how they fit together. The key here is to get into the groove with your guitar strum and stay there through out the song. Let's dig in!

Lesson Info
Coming Into Los Angeles