John Lennon's iconic status as a result of his songwriting means his work will remain part of pop culture forever. Regardless whether you think he’s a genius or one of the sloppiest guitar players around, his primitive and driving rhythm style took '50s rock n' roll sensibilities and put them into the mainstream for a new generation.
In this lesson we’re going to look at four chords and rhythm ideas from The Beatles that will give your own playing an instant John Lennon flavour.
Partial minor barre chord
With a two-guitar lineup in The Beatles, Lennon was often seen to play partial or alternate chord voicings to compliment Harrison.
This four-string minor barre chord, as heard in the frantic stumming of All My Loving is a great example of how playing a smaller chord voicing can free up space for other instruments in the mix, especially when strummed fast.
THAT infamous Hard Days Night chord
Now this is a hotly debated chord. Is it a Dsus4? Did it have a G in the bass? There are many variables here.
It is fairly well accepted that Lennon played this Fadd9 shape with the open A string and his thumb playing the low F. George Harrison played another add9 variation, which Paul McCartney and producer George Martin also added their sonic stamp to this infamous chord.
The Minor IV concept
This is not so much a song specific chord, but more of a concept. If you’re writing a chord progression and you want to add some Lennon flavour, throw in a minor variation on your 4 chord.
If you’re doing a 1 4 5 in A, you’d be using A, D and E. Play that progression and throw a Dm on the end. The minor 4 chord is not in the key, but provides a Lennon-esque resolution back to the root.
Driving Blues Groove
It’s hard to avoid the fact that The Beatles were early pioneers of hard rock. Tracks like Come Together and Get Back feature a rock solid, bluesy stomp laid down by Lennon.
This is your basic 12-bar blues style shuffle but played a little straighter.