Black Dog

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Black Dog – Led Zeppelin Preview Guitar Lesson

Lesson Overview

Black Dog is one of Led Zeppelin’s more recognizable songs off of their album “Led Zeppelin IV” released in 1971. This was actually the first Led Zeppelin song that I ever learned. I was immediately hooked on the opening riff the first time I ever heard it. It’s got a great into that’s similar to Hendrix’s Purple Haze in the sense that the guitar riff makes up the whole song. It’s based around the pentatonic pattern but makes use of chromatic notes as passing tones. As a former session player, Jimmy Page was well aware that when you use passing tones, it makes your target note stand our more because of the dissonance they make right before on the leading tone. He makes use of a lot of power chords that are interspaced with small filler licks underneath the vocal melody, creating a call and response style phrasing with himself. Another unique thing that Jimmy Page would use is the inclusion of a bar with a different time signature. For example, at the beginning of the solo, there’s a bar of 5/4 before it continues as 4/4 which opens up the space for the really cool sliding pentatonic lick that he plays. His solos revolved more around creating a phrase and telling a story instead of just showing off, which made for something really interesting to listen to and play.

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