Paul McCartney's inspired playing on the Beatles' Blackbird has become a bit of a rite of passage for fingerpicking guitar players. But therein lies a problem – a lot of us are learning it wrong. Because despite what a lot of YouTube tutorials out there will tell you, it's not just fingerpicking.
Galeazzo Frudua is a luthier, multi-instrumentalist and 'Beatles specialist' who posts Fab Four lessons online on the YouTube channel The Beatles Vocal Harmony with 145,000 subscribers. He noticed the amount of incorrect advice out there.
As Frudua illustrates with a live clip of McCartney's picking in while he plays the song, the songwriter is mixing fingerpicking with strumming. Whereas a lot of the tutorials out there are showing players to pick single notes so it never sounds like the version McCartney plays on the White Album with his Martin D-28. Frudua breaks it down and puts that right in the lesson above.
"You know how when you're a kid, you learn these little show-off pieces? Well, George and I learned Bach's Bouree In E Minor," McCartney told Guitarist about the genesis for the song. "Actually, we just heard it a few times and bastardised it. I sort of borrowed its approach in Blackbird, those kinds of intervals, and just made it up as it led on. It was the only time we ever got vaguely classical."
For more info on Galeazzo Frudua's work, check out The Beatles Vocal Harmony YouTube channel (opens in new tab).