Be like John

Dec 13, 2000 at 12:00 am

Guitar instructional videos are strange beasts. At each and every corporate music equipment store — at this very moment — there is undoubtedly one such video playing endlessly on a TV screen. This is the land of the guitar muso: People who talk about half-stacks and whammy bends with all the passion in the world. The problem is that an obsession with the technical aspects of guitar playing is at odds with fun and creativity.

Luckily, The Beatles to a Tee walks the fine line between guitar muso and loving Beatles fan, and in the process is actually quite helpful and interesting. Instructor Rob Taylor (who lives in the Detroit area) takes the viewer through the basics: First, the way to get the classic Beatles tone (yes, the ol’ Rickenbacker through a Vox amp is included), then the chord structures and riffs for 16 classic tunes. The best part of the video is that Taylor uses a split screen to show the interplay among George, Paul and John.

What’s more, this video strives for accuracy, which is good if one goes through the trouble of watching and learning from such a thing. Taylor states that most existing Beatles instruction is inaccurate, and to his credit he has done his research and teased out some of the more particular nuances — the fact that “Yesterday” was played in an alternate tuning, for example. The inclusion of some later, psychedelic songs would have been a plus, but this might be something good for the video’s sequel.

This is a niche product. Someone who’s never picked up a guitar and isn’t a Beatles fan would probably be bored to tears. But, for what it is, it’s about as good as these things come. You can get more information at

Aaron Warshaw is the MT listings editor. E-mail him at [email protected].