Great Advancements in Technology: GUITAR LESSONS with LINDSEY BUCKINGHAM

I get by with a little help from my friends.
—John Lennon

This is a quick post for passionate guitar nerds.

When I was first learning guitar in my very late teens, early twenties, like 1985, that was an explosive, joyful, crazy time. I played no music growing up (and it showed), so to become enveloped and imbued with a longing to write songs was like a religious conversion. Music became a best friend—and so it was with writing songs.


As for learning cover songs and practicing etc., I recall the inimitable Paul Simon had the worst songbooks ever—at least from a guitar/folky point of view. A super-talented and underrated guitar player, and a truly brilliant cross-generational songwriter, all Simon’s sheet music (and Simon and Garfunkel’s) offered only bad piano chords, offering none of the nuance with which he plays guitar. I’m still heated about it. For example, and this is from memory, but the gorgeous America (“Let us be lovers, we’ll marry our fortunes together”) uses a capo on third fret, played in 3/4 time, with a standard descending bass note off the top: C, C/B, Am7, C/G kind of thing. But the sheet music would give you Eb and no hint of the descending bass notes, if I remember it correctly. Bummer! I felt so cheated. So denied. So alone. Okay, maybe not so alone.


On the other hand, James Taylor’s Greatest Hits songbook, and his anthologies, were often great, detailed, the correct capoed fret, the bass notes on the chords, and all that jazz. Heaven! And he is such a distinct picker. Who can’t tell a James Taylor hammer-on? So I learned those songs in detail: Something in the Way she Moves, Carolina in my Mind, You Can Close Your Eyes etc.


But today, my fellow plucky friends? Youtube! No wonder it’s so addicting—all the dreams of a 1970s pop culture fiend. I just saw the supremely underrated no-pick guitar player/songwriter Lindsey Buckingham (from Fleetwood Mac) give a guitar lesson for his tour-de-force song Big Love*.

How cool is that, and how cool is that of Lindsey Buckingham for doing it? Very cool. He also gives a quick lesson for the simple yet beautiful Stevie Nick’s classic, Landslide, and a couple of others. That, I tell you, for a young guitar player—or an old one like me, now—is musical crack— or in my case, musical chai and melodic dark chocolate.

Anyway, here’s a version of Lindsey playing the song live, on his own. And below it is the instruction. *A quick note: Lindsey doesn’t capo the guitar on the lesson, as he plays it live. I think it’s fourth fret. I’m waiting for Paul Simon to do this. By the way, one can tell what a great performer Buckingham is—he actually plays it more smoothly and better live than in the lesson. It might be the guitar, or it might be the adrenalin, or it might be well-rehearsed, or it might be a mixture.

Big Love Lesson

Have fun strumming or pickin’ or clunkin’.


One Response to “Great Advancements in Technology: GUITAR LESSONS with LINDSEY BUCKINGHAM”

  1. Karen says:

    Hi Pete,

    You have to hear Big Love live…nothing else compares. I’ve heard Mr. Buckingham play it live faster and cleaner than this clip. He’s amazing.

    Been a fan since ’72, through all the trials and tribulations. I even have the Buckingham/Nicks album…yes, album…vinyl…did I just date myself?

    Used to play guitar, but had to quit. Miss those old cheat books. Still have some from late ‘60s, early ‘70s. Have an Everly Brothers book. Ooooo, there goes that date thing again.

    Love to you and those you love,

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